Category Archives: skating

Tour skating weekend events 2017

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.

Across lake Haukivesi

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.


Skating in the national park of Linnansaari

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.

Oravi start

From Oravi it’s about 5 km to Linnansaari island where a fire site, a small cafe and this old house is located.

Old house in Linnansaari island

After you leave the shelter of Linnansaari island, the route start to cross the vast lake of Haukivesi to the other side.

Across lake Haukivesi

The ice is thick and even though all sorts of formations and cracks are shown on the top of it.

Thick ice

There are benches along the route with a pretty beautiful scenery.

Bench on the lake

The route is well marked with new maps.

Map along the route

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.

Skating in the national park

The next day it rained and there was a bit water on ice but the track was even smoother to skate.

Great track

Biking was an interesting option, spike tires were very much in demand.

Biking on ice

On the middle of the lake 9 km from Oravi there were this ice wall..

Ice castle on the lake

.. 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.

Ice cube wind shelter

On weekends the small cafe on Linnansaari island is open during the season. Time for the coffee and munkki.

Skaters' cafe in Sammakkoniemi is open

Sammakkoniemi on Linnansaari island

Sammakkoniemi cafe

Coffee break

Last kilometers in the national park of Linnansaari. Hope to be back next year.

Back to Oravi

Tour skating in Linnansaari national park

The tour skating track between Oravi and Porosalmi in Linnansaari national park is probably the longest maintained natural route in Finland. The route is about 18 km long so whether you leave from Oravi or Porosalmi and go to the other side of the lake and back you will skate good 36 kilometers.

The route goes through Linnansaari national park, where else can you skate in national park? Just wonderful. An unique place, absolutely.

The starting point in Porosalmi. You can rent skates, kicksparks, shoes and even helmets from the safari house on the shore.

Start at Porosalmi

A day ticket to the route.


At the start the route is quite a road, ice is well kept and smooth.

Wonderful ice way

You can have the first stop by the island of Pieni-Lappi (Little Lapland). There is a fire site and a nice bench by the route.

First stop at 4 km

The kickspark is ready to go on.

Kickspark ready

After 13 km we reached the hotspot of Sammakkoniemi on Linnansaari island, the most visited island of Linnansaari national park in summer also. I did not expect to see so many skaters, it was almost crowded at the fire site and at the cafe.

Sammakkoniemi rest stop

The tiny weekend cafe was full of people waiting for their lettu (thin pancakes) and coffee.

Cafe in Sammakkoniemi

Along the route were nice benches with blankets on them, nice! I guess because of Linnansaari Day tourist skaters were treated this luxury.

Blankets on the benches

After about 18 km and several stops we reached Oravi in the eastern shore of lake Haukivesi.

Turning point in Oravi

A part of the route has been opened just a few weeks ago.


Coming back from Oravi we enjoyed a moderate head wind. On the open lake, after 36 kilometers it felt like a real exercise.

Against the wind

These characters are watching you while you skate by. Made by Nature.

They're watching you

Kayaker’s paradise in summer, skater’s in winter.

Linnansaari national park

A video from the trip.

Tour skating in Jyväskylä

There is a 2,5 kilometer long tour skating route in Jyväskylä on lake Jyväsjärvi. Due to its popularity the ice can be a bit worn at times.

Starting point near Lutakko, Kuokkala bridge in the background.

Starting point

On the other side of the lake, there is another starting point near Ylistönrinne and Mattilanniemi campus area.

Near Ylistö bridge

There is no rush on the ice on mid-February Sunday afternoon.

Towards Lutakko

In Lutakko side the kota cafe offers typical set of sausages and “kahvi ja pulla”. They rent skates and kicksledges, open on weekends.

Kota hut cafe

Ice skating in Helsinki area

In February the natural ice skating rinks are in the best condition. Since this winter 2012 has not been good for tour skating on lakes and the sea, it is a good option to go skating on maintained skating rinks.

In Helsinki and Espoo in southern Finland there are tens of well maintained rinks. See status of rinks of Helsinki and Espoo (updated in Jan.2014). See webpages of towns and municipalities all over Finland of their listings.

Ice rink in Lauttasaari
A separate route circles the ice rink
Nice pictures of old times of Pyrkkä's field
Warm changing rooms are welcome for skaters
Real pipolätkä (beanie hockey) is popular
Game over

Video of 18th of Feb., 2012:

My personal favourites of outdoor photos in 2011

I went through my outdoor pictures taken in 2011 and selected my favourites. There are two pictures that are also on the list of the most viewed of my 2011 flickr pictures (Skiing on sea in Helsinki and Kayaker in Lauttasaari). I selected these purely by my own feelings of the moment the picture was taken and ones that look the best to my eye. Which one is your favourite?

Skiing on sea in Helsinki, January 2011

This was taken near the shore of Lauttasaari in Helsinki at 4pm. Two skiers were just starting their ski trip to the sea. I had a few moments to get the picture while skiers were at the right place to the evening sun.

Skiing on sea in Helsinki

Twilight biking – underpass in Helsinki, November 2011

Unusually warm autumn and biking was still comfortable. I had my camera attached to my bike and when I noticed the blue color of twilight and the yellow light of underpass I just took some picture while cycling through.

Into the twilight - biker's underpass in Helsinki

Helsinki in twilight, November 2011

I was biking at dusk in Helsinki when there were these rare colors of blue and purple on the sea behind bare trees near the shore. I steadied the camera to the handlebar of my bike and took the picture.

Helsinki in November

A view from the ski cafe in Ylläsjärvi, Lapland. December 2011

This is a recent picture from the last days of 2011, taken on my holiday trip to Lapland. The blue colors of kaamos time brings out the peacefulness of the most darkest time of the north.

A view from Ylläsjärvi ski hut in December

Kayaking in Linnansaari national park, July 2011

I spend some time in summer in the lake area. I was kayaking past two small islands on lake Haukivesi. It was a perfect summer day, no wind at all. Sunshine was at the back so I turned and took a picture of the back of my kayak and of those tiny islands.

Linnansaari national park near Vehkaset islands

Kayaker in Lauttasaari, Helsinki. April 2011

As soon the ice melts from the sea the first kayakers are to be found paddling. As a kayaker myself it is always a happy sight as it is a sure sign of approaching spring.

Kayaker near Lauttasaari, Helsinki in April

Snorkeling on lake Keitele, July 2011

This was taken on the summer holiday in the central Finland. It was a fun day of water sports and swimming. I like the way water is formed in the front.

Snorkeling on lake Keitele

Just hop over it step by step, February 2011

I liked those big ice boulders on the shore of Helsinki on a sunny winter day. I asked my friend to pose on the cliff opposite the boulders to give some perspective.

Just hop over step by step

Skating on the sea in Helsinki, February 2011

This was taken at 6:30pm in late February. The light was disappearing fast. There was a sense of approaching spring in the air already though it was still possible to go skating on the sea.

Tour skating, Helsinki

Open water in Helsinki, March 2011

In early March the ice was melting fast. At the moment I took this picture towards the sun there were some people still walking on ice to the right corner of the picture.

Open water by Helsinki shore