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.
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).
In the middle of hot July day, temperature reaching +30C, it feels nice to think of last winter’s trips in Lapland.
Kuertunturi is a small fell near village of Äkäslompolo in Lapland. In winter it is approachable by snowshoes or skis, the marked trail starts behind the chapel of the village. The trail is marked but to be sure of directions a skiing map can be obtained at the village.
Start of the trail.
Nice pine forest at the first part of the trail. It’s only under 3 kilometers to the top by the marked trail, going up might take a couple of hours, coming down is a lot faster.
Alternative to snowshoes, ski hoks that you can slide down the hill It has skins to help you to ascend.
The steeper part of the trail may make you want to have a break afterwards.
Visibility at the top was not the best. Pretty heavy wind at the last stretch. Only few small trees near the top.
Reaching the top.
A welcomed break neat the top beside a tree looking for a bit of shelter.
A limited view to the village of Äkäslompolo.
Soft snow for descending with ski hoks. Good place to practice for a few slides.
The day is short in December. Headlight were needed to keep you on the trail.
One of the best maintained skating routes of Finland is in Linnansaari national park on lake Haukivesi. Crossing the lake from eastern side of the lake from Oravi village to the western side to Porosalmi is 18 kilometers long.
In late February the weather was varying a lot during the weekend, from windy snowfall to rain and water on the track. The track was in great condition after snow was plowed. The ice at the start in Oravi looked very good on the first day of the trip.
From Oravi it’s about 5 km to Linnansaari island where a fire site, a small cafe and this old house is located.
After you leave the shelter of Linnansaari island, the route start to cross the vast lake of Haukivesi to the other side.
The ice is thick and even though all sorts of formations and cracks are shown on the top of it.
There are benches along the route with a pretty beautiful scenery.
The route is well marked with new maps.
Skating in the national park. Not bad at all. Awesome skating on the peaceful lake. Nice to see same place as from the kayak in summer.
The next day it rained and there was a bit water on ice but the track was even smoother to skate.
Biking was an interesting option, spike tires were very much in demand.
On the middle of the lake 9 km from Oravi there were this ice wall..
.. which turned out to be a wind shelter for skaters. The cubes were a bit melted due to the rain earlier in the morning. The wind at this place can be very rough.
On weekends the small cafe on Linnansaari island is open during the season. Time for the coffee and munkki.
Last kilometers in the national park of Linnansaari. Hope to be back next year.
A day before 24th of Dec., Jouluaatto for Finnish is nice and snowy in Äkäslompolo, Lapland. Luckily escaped the wet and rainy southern Finland where winter has not really arrived. 175 km of ski tracks open, 38 km of them are lighted.
The sun does not really rise for a few days at all, the blue lightness of the day last only a couple of hours. To ski on tracks that are not lit one has to plan to go between 10 am and 2:30 pm.
The well maintained ski tracks go beside the Pallas-Yllästunturi national park. The weather is perfect, about -7C degrees.
The Kellostapuli fell is close by.
There are some skiers but one really can not talk about a busy route. Kesänginkeidas ski cafe and other ski cafes open for a few hours a day.
Beautiful, blue moments of the day.
The dipper on Kesänki river can be spotted by the ski track.
It’s late November and still not enough snow for skiing. It has been a long wait for those of us in central or southern Finland. Let’s hope snow arrives pretty soon.
Lake Päijänne in central Finland has got only some ice on the shores. Though heading towards the darkest time of the year there are days when there’s a few hours of sunshine. There’s still some weeks to go before one can go skiing or skating on lakes.