Lapland: cross-country skiing in the land of the Sami people
This time we invite you to join us in arctic area in the north of Finnland, in Lapland, the land of the Sami people, reindeers, frost and snow. We will visit the most mountainous region of Finnland partially covered by the Scandinavian Mountains.
We will go for a 6-day cross-country skiing trip travelling from hut to hut through Käsivarsi Wilderness Area. Käsivarsi means “shoulder” in Finnish, that's how Finns call this part of their country. It's an area behind the Arctic Circle to the north of the 69th parallel.
We will travel through almost uninhabited territory, abounding deserts, vast plains, fields and unbelievable views. The part of the route will go along the famous Kalottireitti (Nordkalottleden Trail, or just Arctic Trail). We will face the wild nature and severe subarctic climate of Lapland. We'll ride sledges through treeless hills, mountain passes, valleys, cross lakes covered with ice. We will witness the stars including a northern lights (hopefully!) and will hear the silence. Maybe we will even meet a reindeer, it's their land after all!
Frost, sun, fog, snow-storms and wind are waiting for us. We will go cross-country skiing carrying all our equipment with the help of special sledges for transportation (1 sledge for two people). Daily we will ski for around 20 km.
We'll spend nights in wooden huts, super simple but with extraordinary atmosphere and providing with basic comfort standards. We will heat them on our own with heating stoves and wood and provide ourselves with water but melting snow on the stoves. Our day agenda will be define by the Sun though we still can prolong it with the help of headlamps and candles. At night the fire will be maintained by the Barents trip leader or we can organize shifts.
The halfway point of the trip will be Halti, the highest peak of Finland. Volunteers will have an opportunity to challenge themselves and ski to the peak and eternalize their names by putting their names into the book in the box on the very top of the peak.
Flight from Gdansk directly to Tromsø. Transfer by bus to Finland. Arrival to Kilpisjärvi late in the evening. Hopefully we will be able to see the northern lights even on the first night.
We will wrent and try out skiis and sledges. We will start the expedition. We'll depart from Kilpisjärvi and leave the civilized world behind. We will pass by the magnificent mount of Saana towering above the horizon. We will start the relatively short trail by going slightly upwards, will enter Norwegian territory, cross Tsahkaljärvi Lake, return to Finnish territory and end up in a hut over Saarijärvi Lake. The whole distance is not going to be more than 17 km.
We will head to the east crossing the lake Saarijärvi, afterwards we will turn back to the north. From that moment we will enter the territory of Käsivarsi Wilderness Area. So called “wilderness area” belongs to Finnish nature protection network Natura 2000 and is aimed to protect the wild nature of the northern part of Lapland, the cultural heritage of the Sami people and their farming traditions. The trail starting in a plain will slowly go up. We will cross the mountain pass and see the severe but magnificent hills. Then we will make our way through Meekonlaakso valley and reach the next hut situated by the lake. The length of the route for that day will be approximately 19 km.
We will leave our beautifly situated hut behind and will continue our journey further to the north. The trail will lead us to the northern west, bordered by Meekonvaara hills from the east side, and will turn northwards through a narrow valley along the right bank of Meekonjärvi lake. We will cross the hills and later ski through Pitsusjärvi lake. Here we will stay for two nights in a hut with the most beautiful location of the trail. The hut will become our base. The length of the route for that day will be approximately 12 km. It will be the shortest skiing day and it will help us to restore energy or it can also be a great chance to explore the territory without sledges.
On this day in the morning, with good weather conditions and light rucksacks, we will try to get to Finland's highest point, Halti, on skis! Mountain conquerors will be able to enter their names in a memorial book placed in a box at the very top. The Halti slopes have the right slope for both uphill and downhill skiing. The approximate distance is 11 km of uphill and climbing and 11 km of downhill. A trip to the Halti is optional. If you don't want to, you can stay in a cottage picturesquely situated by the lake, take a photograph, or enjoy the blissful laziness.
We'll start returning south. The route leads on relatively flat terrain or downhill, but there is also one uphill. We will go through Pitsusjärvi lake, through the valley around Meekonvaara hill, pass Meekonjärvi hut and through the vast Meekonlaakso valley we will reach the next accommodation - Kuonjarjoki hut. This is our last night in the wild! The daily distance is about 22 km.
On the last day of the ski tour we get back to Kilpisjärvi (over 20 km). There will be a lot of downhills and skiing on the flat terrain :) We will take advantage of the benefits of civilization, such as hot water and sauna. In the evening we have a dinner together (paid on our own).
For those interested, we can organize an optional trip to the meeting point of three countries - Finland, Sweden and Norway, or a walk to the sauna in the lake. We will organize a picnic in a nearby cottage. In the evening transfer to the airport in Tromsø. Flight to Gdansk, arrival around midnight.
• a return flight ticket Gdańsk-Tromsø-Gdańsk with all airport charges
• baggage and hand luggage due to the rules of the airlines
• a return transfer from Tromsø to Finlandii
• accommodation 2x in Kilpisjärvi in guesthouse in shared rooms and 5x in huts
• 2x breakfast in guesthouse in Kilpisjärvi
• care of a English-speaking guide
• sledges for baggage transportation (1 for 2 people)
• information packages and maps
• NNW and KL + insurance of luggage up to 200 Euro
• obligatory insurance guarantee for the travel agency
• a mandatory fee for the State Tourist Guarantee Fund (TFG) for each person
PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
• ski rental: there will be a possibility to rent a set of cross-country skis suitable for the terrain - backcountry skis with metal edges, with the right width to move on unprepared trails. The right boots and poles will be selected for the skis. Rental cost: about EUR 110 per week.
• transportation of sport luggage if you take your own equipment (about 260 PLN).
• The place of departure is GDANSK. In case you wish to travel from another destination or book flights on your own, please contact us for price quotation for this trip.
• We will take a bus from the airport to Kilpisjärvi and back.
• 2 nights (one just after the arrival to Finland and one before the departure) in fully equipped winter houses (kitchen, electricity, bathroom, sauna, beds, bed linen for an extra charge).
• during the trip we will sleep in wooden huts for tourists, where we will have a guaranteed place. These are cottages heated by a wood stove (so it will always take some time before such a cottage gets warm). The huts are equipped with bunk beds with mattresses, pillows and blankets. In addition to an oven, there is usually a gas stove, a small amount of basic dishes (pots, pans, cutlery) and tools (axe, saw). There is always a table and benches to sit on. There is always an outhouse in the close vicinity of the cottage. The cottages do not have electricity or running water (so tere is no sink or bathroom). Water should be obtained by melting snow. The huts have regularly checked the condition of ovens and are equipped with smoke detectors.
Each participant of the tour should take with him/her an appropriate amount of food, which will allow him/her to cover a distance of about 20 km every day on cross-country skiing in low temperatures (we recommend high-calorie meals, we suggest taking freeze-dried food because of the ease of preparation). Boiling water from melted snow will be provided. Participants will transport their food on a sledge, just like the rest of their luggage. In the guesthouse in Kilpisjarvi we provide 2x breakfast (before and after the expedition). You should prepare about 10-20 EUR for dinner on the day of return (cooking won’t be possible).
We travel in small groups. The minimum number of participants is 6, maximum - 11.
• The visited region is one of the colder in Finland. It has a subpolar climate. The second half of the winter still lasts in March. The average temperature in March is -9'C. Temperatures can vary from -5'C to -15'C. It can be even lower when the wind is strong. Snowfall, snowstorms may occur
• Northern lights: Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee it, but according to all official information, it is well visible and often occurs until mid-April
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY:
• Cross-country skiing will include going uphill, downhill, wading through the fresh snow, or moving on heavily frozen snow cover. One in two participants of the expedition will pull a sledge with luggage. We will have small backpacks with basic equipment on our back.
• The maximum possible ascent is: 2x about 200 m and 1x about 300 m.
• Good physical condition is required.
• It is required to have cross-country skiing skills (we will ride about 20 km a day).
• The itinerary may change depending on the date of departure, weather and other factors.
• Learn more about general conditions of participation and find out how to sign up for a trip.
• The organizer of the trip is Active Travel Agency Barents.pl