This ski tour takes you to the forests of northeast Finland, close to the Russian border, where the nature lays under a thick covering of snow making it a place of peace and spectacular beauty. The route passes through the extensive nature reserve of Kalevala Park whose geography is dominated by hills, forests, mires, lakes and rivers. The accommodation is cozy, small, family-run lodges. Every night you get to enjoy a Finnish sauna, delicious dinners, as well as the hospitality of the local people. Daily stages of the tour average 30 km, covering 150 km in five skiing days. A good physical condition and previous experience of cross-country skiing is required to participate in this tour.
Day 1. Arrival
Arrival at Kuusamo airport and approx. 2 hours transfer to Martinselkonen Wilds Centre, which is a former border guard station renovated into a modern guest house. Check-in, dinner and briefing about the week’s programme.
Day 2. Day tour from Martinselkonen 25 km
After breakfast it’s time to jump on skis! We start our expedition towards east until reach the Finnish-Russian border zone marked with yellow signs. We follow the border zone for a couple of kilometres and again later in the afternoon keeping in mind it is strictly prohibited to cross the border. The picnic lunch will be served at one of the wilderness huts operated by Finnish Forest and Park Service. On arrival at the accommodation we will relax in the traditional wood-heated sauna whose heat feels simply good after skiing several hours in cold air.
Day 3. Martinselkonen-Arola 30 km
Today´s route passes on Martinselkonen nature reserve through the network of swamps and spruce forests. These frontier forests are home to a brown bear population, however in winter they are hibernating. Also other Finnish large carnivores - wolves, lynxes and wolverines - inhabit the area but they are extremely timid and we may only spot their tracks in the snow. In the afternoon, we’ll arrive at Arola guest house which is situated just a stone’s throw from the Russian border. Delicious dinner made from local ingredients is served in a traditional log house.
Day 4. Day tour from Arola 27 km
Today’s day tour takes us to Teerilampi wilderness hut, where our assistance guide has been preparing a lunch for us while we have been skiing. We will enjoy hot soup and a selection of sandwiches and enjoy them around an open fire. In the afternoon, we return to Arola for the second night to enjoy its cosy atmosphere and the warm hospitality of our hosts.
Day 5. Arola–Rajakartano 42 km
The longest skiing day of the week is skied towards north following the border zone. Lunch is enjoyed in a rustic old house on the top of Kovavaara hill. Our accommodation Rajakartano, another former border guard station, is located on the shore of Lake Hossanjärvi, just outside Hossa national park. At night you have again a chance to relax in a traditional Finnish sauna and the more adventurous amongst us can try ice swimming!
Day 6. Rajakartano–Jatkonsalmi 30 km
The last skiing day will be on the tracks of Hossa national park which was inaugurated in 2017 to celebrate Finland’s 100 years of independence. The nature in Hossa is dominated by ridges, small lakes and ponds and beautiful pine heathlands. Lunch is served at Hossa Visitor Centre, where it’s also possible to visit a small souvenir shop. Accommodation for the last night will be in large Jatkonsalmi cabin, located in an isolated spot inside the national park. At night we visit a local reindeer farm where we can feed reindeer, learn about reindeer herding today and enjoy a delicious farewell dinner.
Day 7. Return
Breakfast and transport to Kuusamo airport (1 hour).
Included in this programme
- 6 nights accommodation in 2–4 persons rooms with shared facilities (on days 1 and 2 some rooms with private facilities available)
- 6 x breakfast, 4 x outdoor lunch and 1 x lunch, 6 x dinner, 5 x afternoon coffee/tea with snack
- English speaking skiing guide
- Snowmobile guide who makes the track on days 2–5 (especially for this group) and prepares outdoor lunches
- Luggage transportation between accommodations
- Single-timed group airport transfers (see 'Good to know' for further details)
- 5 x sauna, 1-2 x ice-swimming
- Bedlinen and bath towels
You will need
- outdoor equipment
- leisure time clothing
- skis, boots and poles (possible to hire)
- rucksack (15-20 l)
- thermos flask
- head lamp / torch
The full gear list will be sent after booking.
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