Tracks and Trails / Cross Country Skiing / Nordic Countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway / Lapland Luxury: Cross Country Skiing

Lapland Luxury: Cross Country Skiing

wild reindeer in Finland

Wild reindeer

Lapland is a land of myth and legend and when you ski with us across the frozen landscape, where the reindeer roam freely, you will appreciate what we mean. Here in Finland beyond the Arctic Circle the snowy mountains are bathed in a wonderful light which gives the landscape an ethereal quality. We are based in the world famous cross country ski village of Äkäslompolo, where a total of 330 km of prepared trails are available. Äkäslompolo, which is often referred to as Ylläs, is Finland’s most comprehensive network of tracks offering endless alternatives for a day out with many of the trails taking us inside the Pallas-Ylläs National Park into pristine nature.

Last winter we saw the Northern Lights every night for seven nights! Our own magic show against a backdrop of snowy mountains.

  • The Northern Lights: see the Aurora Borealis!
  • Luxury 3 star historic hotel with easy access to the ski tracks
  • Over 300 km of groomed cross country ski trails
  • Visit the fabulous Snow and Ice Village at Lainio
  • Take lunch in a Kota in the woods, a traditional Sami hut
  • Take an optional day off and go dog sledding or ice fishing
  • Simply enjoy the magic of Lapland!

Departures

Trip Departure date End date Price Status
AKS1 19 Sun 10 February 19 Sun 17 February 19 £1995 Places available | Make a Booking
AKS2 19 Sun 3 March 19 Sun 10 March 19 £1995 Places available | Make a Booking

Introduction

Lapland is Finland’s northernmost region, a sparsely populated area bordering Sweden, Norway, Russia and the Baltic Sea. It’s known for its vast subarctic wilderness, ski resorts and natural phenomena including the midnight sun and the Northern Lights.

Cross-country skiing is very much a national sport in Finland and part of the culture. Nearly every Finn learns to cross-country soon after taking their first steps. Decades ago, it was an important means of transport in the winter, and skiing across forests and lakes on the way to work or school was commonplace. In smaller communities, the children still ski to school when there’s snow on the ground.

The area is rich in the history of the Sami people, known also as Lapps or Laplanders. Sami are the only indigenous people in Scandinavia that are recognized and protected under the international conventions of indigenous peoples. Traditionally, they have pursued a variety of livelihoods, including coastal fishing and fur trapping. They are however, perhaps best for their semi- nomadic reindeerherding.The animals provide them with meat, fur and transportation. In some Nordic countries reindeer herding is legally reserved for the Sami people. In the forests around Äkäslompolo there are many wild reindeer and it is common to either see them or their tracks.

The Northern Lights - Aurora Borealis 

During the winter months there is always the chance of seeing the stunning northern lights and many people travel to Äkäslompolo just for the ‘Lights’. They are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth's atmosphere. Auroral displays appear in many colours although pale green and pink are the most common. They appear in many forms from patches or scattered clouds of light to streamers, arcs, rippling curtains or shooting rays that light up the sky with an eerie glow. It is a very special moment when you see what is truly one of our planet’s most magical light shows. In winter 2018 we witnessed the 'Lights' almost every one of our seven nights.

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival

Today we meet you at your luxury hotel by the shores of Lake Äkäslompolo. Most likely you will have flown to the capital Helsinki, and then taken an internal flight to Kittila. It is then a 40 minute transfer to Äkäslompolo. We find that many guests have enjoyed a night in Helsinki either before or after their ski trip. It is to be recommended.

Day 2 - 7 Ski time!

Each morning, after a leisurely breakfast, which is served Finnish buffet style, which means as much as you can eat, we will then head for the ski room to prepare for our day. We love the atmosphere in the waxing room as everyone chats about the day ahead, and discusses which wax to apply to give the best performance.

We will spend the next 6 days exploring the 330km that make up the huge network of cross country ski tracks around Äkäslompolo. The tracks mainly lie on the western edge of the Pallas Yllastunturin National Park, and offer many circuits, which will more than occupy us. The community of Äkäslompolo sits on the western side of the mountain of Yllas, and the community of Yllasjarvi sit on the eastern side of the mountain. One of the features of the area are the lake tracks which allow some great skiing on Lake Äkäslompolo.

We love the ski days at Äkäslompolo as they can involve local circuits which visit the many cafes and kotas where an open fire will often have been already prepared offering the chance to warm up and to do lunch 'local style' cooking sausages on the fire. The kotas are traditional Lapp huts, or tents which in the past would have been dismantelled and carried by reindeer whenever the Sami people decided to move to a new location.

Other options include taking a taxi or bus to the start of the trails on the outer edges of the ski area and then enjoying a journey skiing back towards our hotel.

  • We include a day to Peurakaltio where there is a fabulous log cabin in the forest where we can enjoy cake and coffee before skiing home.
  • In these remoter areas it is normal to either see reindeer herds, or at least see their many tracks in the snow where they have been foraging for food.
  • The fabulous Snow and Ice Village of Lainio is also on our tick list, and we will visit the amazing ice sculptures before continuing to Totovaara and then skiing back through the mountains.
  • The lake at Äkäslompolo offers some great skiing and we will no doubt ski across it during your stay.
  • We will visit the 'other wordly' kota of Velhon where it we leave the snow to step into 'middle earth' for a warm drink.

Day 8 Departure

Today you will make your way back to Kittila airport and onwards to your destination.

Price

Included: The price includes half-board accommodation (breakfast, dinner) for 7 nights, based on two people sharing in our very comfortable 3 star hotel, which has fantastic food and great facilities, including saunas. Single rooms may be available on request for a supplementary payment. However, these are limited in number and we recommend that you book early if you wish to be sure of a single room. Please contact us for details. It includes six days of instruction and guiding by a fully qualified BASI Nordic Instructor. It includes a visit to the fabulous Snow and Ice Village at Lainio, as well as transfers to Peurakaltio and Totovaara.

Not included: Insurance, flights, transfers to Äkäslompolo from your arrival and departure points. Any extra expenses such as drinks and beverages, ski hire approximately 650 NOK for 6 days. Lunch is not included.

Accommodation

Our accommodation is rather special. We use the Hotel Ylläshumina which is built in traditional wooden log cabin style and dates from 1945. It was then that Aapi Äkäslompolo founded the first of Ylläs' hotels here. The hotel is now owend and run by Toivo
Qvist who used to be a member of the Finnish cross country ski team. The hotel, in typical Finnish style, is a cluster of log cabins spread around the edge of the lake. All rooms are en suite with shower, and toilet. Single rooms may be available on request for a supplementary payment. However, these are limited in number and we recommend that you book early if you wish to be sure of a single room. Please contact us for details. We are sure you will find it very comfortable, and cosy. To start our ski day we only have to walk about 100 metres to the tracks, perfect! As we choose to use Hotel Ylläshumina we rely on early bookings to secure our rooms. If we find that bookings for this trip arrive very late/last minute then we may with your agreement use alternative accommodation.

Other optional activities

if you fancy a change from skiing, then there is plenty to do in the surrounding area:

  • husky dog sledding
  • ice fishing
  • snowmobiling
  • after dinner 20 km snowmobile safari and with luck the Northern Lights
  • visit a reindeer farm, and enjoy a 3km sleigh ride

Trip Grade

This trip is graded 'Intermediate'. You will find the trails here generally easy as they are in gently undulating, and there is a lot of skiing on well prepared flat tracks. We would normally expect to climb no more than 400 metres on any one day, and it will often be between 200 to 300 metres per day. We will, however, do plenty of km's and you can expect to ski anything from 20 - 30 km on the longer days out such as the days we are dropp off at Totovaara and Peurakaltio.

Ski Rental

We use 'classic' style cross country track skis for this trip. You can choose to bring your own, however do check with us first to ensure they are the correct type of ski and boot and are suitable. At Äkäslompolo we do things the Finnish way, and our hire skis are 'waxing' skis. This is also a great opportunity to learn the art of waxing and your instructor will provide daily waxing sessions to ensure you get the best out of the skis. Grip waxes are the traditional way of travelling on skis, and give greater glide than 'fishscales'. Don't be confused by all of this, just ask your instructor! We are always delighted to help you enjoy the whole Nordic experience. The hire shop also has the new generation of 'skintec' skis which are faster and smoother than 'fishscales' and do not require grip waxes.

Your instructor will help with organising the ski rental on the morning of your first ski day. The total ski hire is expected to be approximately 100 Euros for 6 days. Please make your payment directly to the the hotel (credit cards are accepted). To ensure we get the correct sizes equipment hire is arranged in advance. Please make note of your equipment hire on our booking form. We will need to know your height, weight, normal shoe size (you must give us your everyday shoe size and not your personal adjustment for wearing boots) and the measurement of your height up to your armpits (for ski pole hire).

Weather

Depending on the location winter in Finland begins in November and can last up to five months. In general temperatures in February and March are between minus 3 degrees Celsius, and minus 12 degrees Celsius. However, they can dip to mins 35 degrees Celsius! So do bring sufficient warm layers for skiing. We are often asked about daylight hours and by mid-February the area has 9 hours of daylight, more than enough time to spend skiing each day!

Clothing

Upon booking, a full list of the necessary suitable clothing will be provided. This itinerary is dependent on the weather and snow conditions and your instructor will make any changes necessary to ensure you get the best out of the trip.

Minimum Numbers

This trip requires a minimum of 5 clients to book before it can be guaranteed to run and we take a maximum of 8/9 clients per instructor. By keeping the group numbers small you will get the very best of instruction during your week allowing you to make as much progress as possible.

Getting there

The capital of Finland, Helisinki is served by many international airlines. You will then take an internal flight to Kittila which is only a 40 minute transfer from our destination at Äkäslompolo. Once you arrive at Kittila you can either take one of the regular shuttle buses to Äkäslompolo or you can book a taxi. If your flights are not convenient for the internal flights to Kittila, we would recommend considering spending a night either before or after your trip to explore Helsinki.

Airport buses run daily to and from the airport and the timetables are adapted to suit the flight times. Reservations must be done at least one day before the flight. Reservations. yllaskutsuliikenne@hotmail.com You can check out the airport bus timetable here.

Our Partners

As our niche trips such as our trip to Lapland, are of a specialised nature we work with our partner companies to attract sufficient clients to reach the minimum number of participants to allow these trips to go ahead, meaning you are more likely to have your chosen holiday 'guaranteed'. If you have any queries with regard to this please contact us.

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