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Upitrek

Ski tour on the Russian border

Price / person
starting from

1040 €

Season

Winter

Programme description

Winter bestseller - 100 km in five skiing days. This guided cross-country skiing tour takes you to beautiful Hossa national park and to remote Finnish-Russian border area. You will ski through a wilderness of pristine untouched nature on the trails where you hardly encounter any other skiers. To give you the best experience, the maximum group size is 12 skiers, plus an expert tour leader. If you are lucky, and conditions are right, you might witness the Northern Lights’ dancing in the night sky to top off your skiing week!

Tour highlights:
* Pristine wilderness - a real escape to the nature
* Picnics around an open fire
* The snow-white landscape
* Evening saunas
* Hossa national park 

Detailed programme

Day 1. Arrival

Arrival at Kuusamo airport where your guide will welcome you. Transfer (1 hour) to Rajakartano guesthouse located in close proximity to Hossa national park.

Day 2. Day tour in Hossa 17 km

After breakfast we start our skiing week along well-prepared tracks of Hossa national park whose nature is dominated by handsome pine heathlands, ridge-lines, small lakes and streams. We eat lunch at the Hossa Visitor Centre, and it’s also possible to visit a small souvenir shop. It is said that there’s nothing more Finnish than sauna and on return at the accommodation you can relax in the steaming hot, traditional Finnish sauna. The more adventurous amongst us can even try ice swimming! To finalize the active day we will visit a local reindeer farm. Here we will enjoy a delicious dinner whilst learning about reindeer herding today.

Day 3. Day tour at Martinselkonen 17 km

This morning we will take a short car transfer (45 min) to Martinselkonen wilderness centre where we will accommodate for the next two nights. We start our circle tour towards north through Martinselkonen nature which has been set up to protect the Finnish wilderness, especially the swamp areas with its many birds and insects. Martinselkonen has mires, ponds and lakes, ancient forests and spruce trees draped in beard lichen. There is a picnic stop at one wilderness huts operated by the Finnish Forest and Park Service. After lunch we reach the Finnish-Russian border zone marked with yellow pointers. We follow the border zone for a couple of kilometres keeping in mind it is strictly prohibited to cross the border. The last kilometres take us back to our accommodation. 

Day 4. Day tour at Martinselkonen 23 km

Today we make another day tour in Martinselkonen area, this time heading south. We will ski over frozen lakes and swamps and through forests covered in a deep, white, snowy blanket. The quietness around us is almost tangible - only the sound of skis and poles touching the snow pierce the silence.

Day 5. Martinselkonen–Arola 22 km

It’s time to say good bye to our hosts at Martinselkonen and head north through the nature reserve. 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 will arrive at Arola guest house which is situated just a stone’s throw from the Russian border.

Day 6. Day tour at Arola 20 km

On this, our last day, we will take a day tour around Arola. At half-way we will once more enjoy hot soup and a selection of sandwiches around an open fire. In the afternoon we return to Arola to enjoy its’ cosy atmosphere and the warm hospitality of our hosts. There is a chance to have a final sauna, then after that, a well-deserved farewell dinner made from local ingredients will be served in the traditional log house.

Day 7. Return

Breakfast and transport to the Kuusamo airport.

Included in this programme

• 6 nights accommodation in rooms for 2–4 persons with shared facilities (on days 3 and 4 some rooms with private facilities available)
• 6 x breakfast, 4 x outdoor lunch and 1 x lunch, 5 x dinner, snack on arrival night, 4 x afternoon coffee/tea with snack
• English speaking skiing guide
• Snowmobile guide who makes the track on days 3-6 (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. 

Good to know

DURATION
7 days / 6 nights tour.

GUARANTEED DEPARTURES
20.02.–26.02.2022
27.02.-05.03.2022
06.03.–12.03.2022
09.03.-15.03.2022
13.03.–19.03.2022
20.03.–26.03.2022
27.03.–02.04.2022
Other departures for groups on request. Season 1 February - 5 April.

GROUP SIZE
The tour is guaranteed to run without minimum number of participants. Max. 12 persons.

DIFFICULTY
To join this tour you should have some previous experience on cross-country skiing. You must master the basic skiing technique and have good enough balance to cope short downhills without problems. A moderate physical condition is required as daily legs may take up to 7 hours including a lunch break and several shorter breaks. Daily stages are from 17 to 23 km. 

The terrain is fairly easy and there are no big hills on route, however there are some ups and downs especially during the first skiing day. The route goes in forests, crosses lakes and swamps in Finnish-Russian border area.

SOME BASIC FACTS ABOUT THE TOUR
- This is a cross-country skiing tour on tracks (not "off the trails")
- Some previous experience on cross-country skiing and a moderate fitness is needed to participate in this tour.
- Daily skiing distances are 17–23 km. Approx. skiing time is 5–7 hours daily including breaks.
- The track is made by snowmobile especially for the group, it’s not a maintained track.
- Only classical technique can be used on this tour.
- Nordic skis (width approx. 44 mm) are the best choice for this tour. Skis can be waxable or non-waxable.

ACCOMMODATION
Accommodation is mostly on twin and triple sharing basis, quadruple rooms may be used in few cases. Shared facilities except on days 3 and 4 some rooms with private facilities available. Single rooms are not available.

TRAVEL
Flights are not included in the tour price. If you have anything unclear regarding flights or transfers, please do check with us before booking flights!

Important notes for arrival
The joining point for this trip is Kuusamo airport (on 20.02. Oulu!).
Single-timed group transfers from Kuusamo (or Oulu) airport to the first accommodation are organized to coincide with these Finnair flights from Helsinki:
20.02. HEL-OUL AY441 16.00-17.05
27.02. HEL-KAO AY487 19.30-20.45
06.03. HEL-KAO AY497 15.50-17.05
09.03. HEL-KAO AY487 19.55-21.10
13.03. HEL-KAO AY487 19.30-20.45
20.03. HEL-KAO AY487 19.30-20.45
27.03. HEL-KAO AY487 19.20-21.00


If you arrive on an earlier flight you should wait at the airport or in the town. If you stay in Kuusamo before the tour, the pick-up from hotels located in Kuusamo town centre is available on prior request.   

Note: If you miss the scheduled group transfer on arrival and an extra transfer must be arranged to the starting point of the trip, the costs must be covered by you. To avoid this unpleasant situation it’s not recommended to book flights with short connection time (less than 1 hour).

Important notes for return
Group transfers from the last accommodation to Kuusamo airport  (to Oulu airport on 26.2.) are organized to coincide with these Finnair flights to Helsinki:
26.02. OUL-HEL AY438 14.30-15.30
05.03. KAO-HEL AY482 9.45-10.55 and KAO-HEL AY486 14.10-15.20
12.03. KAO-HEL AY482 9.45-10.55 and KAO-HEL AY486 14.10-15.20
15.03. KAO-HEL AY482 9.45-10.55
19.03. KAO-HEL AY486 14.10-15.20
26.03. KAO-HEL AY486 14.10-15.20
02.04.  KAO-HEL AY486 11.30-13.10


If you take a later flight or stay extra nights in Kuusamo, the drop off at Kuusamo town centre is available on prior request.   

Travel by bus/train
It is possible take a train from Helsinki to Oulu and then a bus from Oulu to Kuusamo. The schedule must coincide with above mentioned transfer schedule.

PAYMENT
Deposit: 15 % of total amount will be charged at the time of booking.
Full payment: Due 14 days before the departure. The invoice for full payment will be sent by email. 

NOTES
It is essential that a passenger is covered by adequate travel insurance.
The tour is not suitable for persons with reduced mobility. 
We reserve all the rights to change the itinerary (route, accommodation) if the group size is 3 persons or less or if necessary due to weather/snow conditions. 

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