The coming week 8 and weekend from 24th to 26th of February will be busy for tour skaters who want to attend events organized in the lake areas across Finland. These following 4 locations will host interesting events ranging from big international to smaller, local events.
Kuopio / Finland Ice Marathon 22-25.2.2017
This international skating event seems to be the biggest in Finland. The event lasts several days, starting with side events like skating for schoolchildren, ice biking and moonlight skating. The race day will be on Saturday 25th, as well as recreational series on the same day.
Definitely an event for those who appreciate the proximity of a bigger town Kuopio, a variety of programs or a real skating race.
Oravi / Linnansaari Day 24.2.2017
The yearly Linnansaari Day offers well-maintained tracks for those who want to skate (or do kick sledging, skiing or biking) through national park of Linnansaari on lake Haukivesi (part of greater lake Saimaa). A true delight of skating for nature lovers in a peaceful natural environment, the most unique skating experience in one of the Finnish national parks. The route of 18 kilometers connects the village of Oravi and Porosalmi resort on the opposite sides of the lake.
Punkaharju / Punkaharjun soihtuluistelu (Torch Skating) 24.2.2017
The route of 6 kilometers is lighted by outdoor candles and “Lumberjack candles”, big wooden torches. The relaxed evening skating goes by the Punkaharju ridge on the the lake of Saimaa, with a waffle cafe at the shore. Punkaharju is located near the town of Savonlinna.
Savitaipale / Skating Day and Torch Skating 25.2.2017
One of the first tour skating tracks in Finland, the route on the lake Kuolimo offers 5 kilometers of skating. Along the day and the evening there will be two shows of syncronized skating and the route will be lighted by torches in the evening.The closest town nearby is Lappeenranta.
There are other locations in Finland that have tour skating tracks and are active in maintenance and communications but do not yet have their special events. Among these are:
Kangasala / Saarikylät
Tampere / Hiking Travel
Tampere / Tohloppi
Kouvola / Kuusaanlammen retkiluistelu
Let’s hope also the towns of Jyväskylä, Mikkeli, Joensuu and Oulu will be active promoting their great tour skating tracks in the future.
The Melkuttimet area in southern Finland is known by trail bikers as a nice place for a day ride, about an hour drive from Helsinki. It is a small area of clear waters of Lake Iso-Melkutin and beautiful pine forests close to the aviation center of Räyskälä. There is a connecting road to Poronpolku Trail which can be combined to your trip.
The trails of Melkuttimet are connected to larger Ilvesreitti Trail network offering total 200km of trails.
The trails are fairly easy and nice, some more technical paths are on the southern shore of lake Iso-Melkutin.
Maybe the most popular photo shoot place is located on the ridge of Tokholmannokka.
The take-off of glider planes from nearby Räyskälä aviation center brings a touch of urban feeling with some occasional noise also.
Crossing the small stream between lakes Vähä-Melkutin and Iso-Melkutin.
Easey and nice forest roads near lake Saarijärvi.
Northern shore of lake Iso-Melkutin offers a nice path close to the lake, passing a popular place for divers to enjoy clear waters of Iso-Melkutin.
End of July is excellent time for mountain biking in Finland. We did
two day tours in Syöte trails. First on Syötteen kierros (Syöte
circular trail) around fell Iso-Syöte followed by Pitämävaaran lenkki
(Pitämävaara trail) around fell Pikku-Syöte. The trails are clearly
marked with pink color and additional sign posts at crossroads.
We recommend starting the Syöte trail at Syöte Visitor Centre and
cycling direction counterclockwise. The trail is 17 km long and
suitable for bikers with some mountain biking experience – most of the
trail is smooth single trail with only a few rocky spots, steep
descends/ascends and duckboards across wetland areas. Start of the
route and end of the route is gravel hiking trail. Select this route
should you only have one day to spend biking.
Flowing single trail on Syöte trail
Scenic views from Pytkynharju ridge at sunset
Duckboards along the route
We recommend starting the Pitämävaara trail at Iso-Syöte Booking
Centre near Safari house and definitely cycling the route clockwise.
Pay attention where the trail starts towards Pikku-Syöte. Be advised
that route requires moderate mountain biking skills due to more
difficult terrain and longer climbs. The start of the route might not
be that gratifying but it gets substantially better near Lake
Kovalampi. After that it’s mostly single trail with extended climb to
top of the fell Pitämävaara. This year the wetland areas were really
wet but mostly covered with duckboards. Your feet might get wet
Routes were clearly marked with signposts
Broader trail before fell Pitämävaara
Winding trail to top
Without duckboards you would be in trouble
Biking is well supported in local hotel with guided tours and bike
rentals (even fat bikes).
Guest post by Team ankle, https://twitter.com/_ankle
Kylmäluoma hiking area in the northeastern Finland has very interesting trails for cyclists. You can either follow single tracks along lakes and ponds or take an easier path on snowmobile tracks. There is a longer marked route for cyclists between Kylmäluoma center and Taivalkoski but you can reach great trails starting from Kylmäluoma camping ground.
Kylmäluoma has got about 90 lakes and ponds and is very popular among fishermen. Kylmäluoma camping ground has got good facilities in the middle of pine wood forest and ridges. It’s a good starting point for day rides. The area is full of fire sites by the lakes and ponds.
Along the trails there are occasional bog areas. In the autumn the colors are spectacular.
If you ride during blueberry time, you can get delicious supplements for your ride snack.
Single tracks along the lakes are sometimes this easy, followed by rockier parts and lots of tree roots on the trail.
If you go further from the camping ground more peaceful places are to be found. This one by lake Kylmäluoma with no other visitors.
It is a reindeer area so you will see a few reindeer by the trails. They usually yield after a moment of curiosity and staring.
There are trails to nearby areas, used by snowmobiles in winter time. The trails go even to Hossa hiking area, about 55 kilometers away, which is another area for trail biking.
Near Kylmäluoma camping ground, there are a lot of ponds for fishermen with kilometers of duckboards.
Want to reach two fell tops by maintained cross-country ski tracks in Ylläs area? There are two wonderful points you ought to visit if visiting the area in the winter season.
First, Kukastunturi fell which is close to village of Äkäslompolo, offers very beautiful views from the top to surrounding fells of Lainio, Pyhä and Kesänki. All of them, as Kukastunturi fell, are in the national park of Pallas-Yllästunturi.
Although the route near the top of Kukastunturi is marked as black (difficult), it is worth a visit if you are an more experienced skier. The suggested route is to go to Kotamaja ski hut first (and have a coffee break) and then reach the top from there. The first part of the route down can get pretty fast and has a challenging curve at the track after about 600 m from the top.
The other fell top is Iso Totovaara fell, the point called Haavepalo. It offers a view to the same fells as Kukastunturi, this time to their eastern side. Haavepalo is located a bit farther away from the villages of Ylläsjärvi and Äkäslompolo, the easiest way to reach the track of 22 kilometers is to drive to the parking place near Lainio River. From the villages the route can get to about 40 kilometers long.
Along the route there are two ski huts with outside fire places and shelter for breaks.
There is almost all time some wind at fell tops, the conditions can be very different what they are down at the village. That means also that signs of tracks might be swept away, so at least some orienteering skills might be needed if the area is not familiar. Both routes can be reached by skating style skis also.
Get your printed ski map from local stores and check the maintenance of tracks before going. Both fell tops are among the most special places in Ylläs area by x-country skis. The maintained ski tracks to fell tops are a luxury, thanks to those who keep them available and in good condition.
My favourites, two easy routes for snowshoeing in Ylläs area are Kuertunturi route and Pikkulaki route, both marked in ski maps and on ground. Kuertunturi route starts at the village of Äkäslompolo. See my post on Kuertunturi route.
The route to Pikkulaki can be started from several points, the longest one from the village of Ylläsjärvi and the shortest one near Iso-Ylläs ski area. See my post on Pikkulaki route.
The beautiful views from both fells gives to nearby taller fells. You do not have to follow the routes, can go anywhere with snowshoes, but for a easier return to the village bring the map with you.
There are several other routes in Ylläs, buy the ski map from local stores and see route descriptions (only in Finnish).
Kayaking in Linnansaari national park in lake Haukivesi in autumn is very peaceful. The boating season is definitely over, at least for visitors. Days are still very nice for kayaking.
September trip around Linnansaari island
On a fine September day I made a trip around Linnansaari island which is the main island of many Linnansaari national park’s islands. Only a 15 kilometers tour from my starting point, it was a relaxing trip in very fine weather.
I passed the Linnavuori viewpoint, up on the silhouette against the sun.
There were hardly no wind on the western side of Linnansaari which faces the big open waters of lake Haukivesi. When winds blow from other direction this side of the island can get pretty rough for kayaking.
The view to the north-west was pretty amazing.
Passing Eteläniemi of the island I heard strange voices from the shore. The flock of sheep that are kept on the island is summer were on the shore and quickly returned to the forest when I went by.
The end of the kayaking season in October
In early October the water is getting colder pretty fast. It is time to close the exceptionally long kayaking season. The colors have gotten really beautiful. Such a priviledge to go kayaking with all these views around me.
I was hoping to see a Saimaa Ringed Seal on my last kayaking trip of the season and luckily it did show up. Such a nice way to end the season.
I did not see a single boat on my trip, having at least this part of the national park to myself, wow! The evening is getting closer, it’s time to return.
Evening light at this time of the year is very hard and the sun goes down quickly. In an hour from this point it got dark.