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 (206 miles) 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.
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. We point out there is no guarantee you will witness the Lights, but you are in a very good place if the forecast is good for the Aurore Borealis.
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.
During the winter months there is 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.
It is always our aim to complete the proposed itinerary outlined above, however, it may be necessary for our guides/instructors to adjust the daily itinerary based on the weather conditions, group safety and enjoyment.
We always aim to accommodate our guests in well-situated, clean, characterful, family run accommodation. All of our trips are based on two people sharing a bedroom. If you are booking as a single traveller you will share with someone of the same gender. In many cases a single room is available for a supplementary fee, but these can be in short supply and require early booking. If you have any questions about the accommodation please contact us.
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 owned 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.
When booking a trip during the pandemic we ask that you keep an open mind and be willing to adapt and be flexible.
Any holiday taken during the Covid-19 pandemic may be subject to change and with little or no notice of that change. As the past months have proven no-one can predict the situation from one week to the next, however, we will do our very best to gauge the best response to any new developments. New restrictions or guidelines might affect where we eat out, which accommodation we can stay in, and potentially transport arrangements if the numbers in vehicles are restricted.
Itineraries may not be exactly as advertised due to new regulations or restrictions. We are sure there will be various scenarios which we have not even thought about that might lead to a change or adaptation in the itinerary.
Please read our Covid-19 Cancellation Policy and ensure you have appropriate insurance as per our recommendations. We also ask that you make yourself aware of the entry requirements of any country you are visiting on your trip. We have compiled a Travel Links Advice list to help you source the correct information.
The closest airport to Äkäslompolo is at Kittila. Kittila is reached by an internal flight via the capital of Finland, Helsinki, which is served by many international airlines. If you source flights to Kittila we recommend that you book these directly with the airline and not through a third party provider. For example, Finnair offers a direct flight from London Gatwick to Kittila. If your international flights are not convenient for the internal flights to Kittila, then we recommend spending a night either before or after your trip to explore Helsinki.
Once you arrive at Kittila you can reach Äkäslompolo via the regular shuttle buses. The transfer time is approximately 40 minutes. Buses run daily to and from the airport at Kittila to Äkäslompolo and the timetables are adapted to suit the flight times. Reservations must be made at least one day before the flight. Reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can check out the airport bus timetable here.
The Rundgrenky bus is the least expensive transfer option, €16.60 each way in 2022. Previous clients have found it comfortable and reliable. Online booking is available on the website from two weeks in advance. You should book a ticket to/from the end point of the service (Karila th) for the Humina bus stop. The bus from the airport leaves from the stop marked Yllas immediately outside the Terminal building and waits until everyone has collected their baggage.
The bus to Akaslompolo will normally drop you at the Hotel Reception if you make it clear you are going to the Hotel Ylläshumia. On your return journey the bus stop is directly across the road opposite the Hotel Ylläshumina.
You can also use another bus service from the airport, and book via the online system at Ylläs Express. The online system is closed in summer, and normally re-opens for booking in August.
When booking a trip we ask you to acquire insurance to cover you for the following:
Mountain Rescue Insurance
It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical expenses, injury, illness, death, mountain rescue, cost of repatriation and personal accident risks. Please ensure that your insurance covers you to the maximum altitude given on your trip itinerary. The maximum altitude for any trip can be checked on the 'At A Glance' box on each trip page. Most of our trips have a maximum altitude of 3,000 metres. If you are unsure or are joining a bespoke trip, then please ask us for specific details.
Trip Cancellation/Curtailment Insurance
You should also have insurance to cover trip cancellation and curtailment. Please note that your deposit and balance payments are non-refundable, unless it is Tracks and Trails who cancel the trip due to a failure to reach the required minimum numbers. In this case we will offer you a refund or the option of transferring to another trip if one is available. We also advise that you should have insurance which covers baggage loss/equipment damage as Tracks and Trails will not be held responsible for loss/damage to baggage/equipment.
As well as medical cover, we recommend that you have appropriate travel insurance so that if you fall ill and test positive for COVID-19 prior to (or during) your trip, you will be financially covered for cancelling your trip. You should also consider booking a policy that covers you if you have to cancel or curtail your holiday because you have to self-isolate. If you choose to cancel, cancellation charges will be payable, but if the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim these charges. Please read the clauses below detailing trip cancellation and curtailment.
Travel Insurance covering COVID-19 is now available from a number of suppliers, Campbell Irvine, Trailfinders and Staysure. Please check their websites for the latest information on what is and isn't covered. It is likely that more companies will offer COVID related cover in the future.
All of the above insurances are detailed in our Terms and Conditions.
If you are joining a trip in the UK helicopter/mountain rescue insurance is not required as this is a free service.
For further details, please read the Insurance section on our website.
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.
At Äkäslompolo we usually hire 'skintec' skis which do not require grip waxes, and are smoother and faster than 'fish scales', however, it depends on availability at the time of booking. If you have your own 'waxing' skis and wish to bring those and understand how to use a 'waxing' ski then you are welcome to do so.
Your instructor will help with organising the ski rental on the morning of your first ski day. The cost of your ski hire, if you require to hire, is approximately 100 Euros for 6 days for winter 2021. To ensure we get the correct sizes equipment hire is arranged in advance. Please make a 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.
In Finland it is not necessary to purchase a ski pass as there is no charge to use the tracks.
Your safety while skiing is our top priority. All skiers are requested to adhere to the Code of Conduct published by the International Ski Federation, or FIS. The aim is to make you, the skier, aware of how to avoid risks, take responsibility and act thoughtfully while on the cross-country ski tracks.
When packing for a trip in the mountains it is important to have appropriate equipment and clothing. This kit list features items we believe are necessary for the weather you will encounter and accommodation you will be staying in.
This trip uses ‘classic’ cross country skis and if you are hiring they will usually come with a NNN binding. If you are considering bringing your own, it is acceptable to use ‘fishscales’ or ‘skintec skis’ on this trip, but they must fit in the tracks, so should be a maximum of 66mm at their widest point. The skis you will hire will not be ‘fishscales’, but are more likely to be ‘skintec’ or ‘waxing’ skis. Your Ski Instructor will give you daily advice on how to ‘wax’ your skis if this is necessary. If in doubt about the suitability of your own skis please contact us.
Skis, boots, and poles - can be hired at the start of the trip. The cost of hire is indicated in 'Trip Information'. If you are intending to hire you must inform us as soon as possible as equipment must be booked in advance. The type of ski supplied by the hire shop is provided in the 'Ski Rental' section of the Trip Information page.
Personal First Aid
**Supplementary snacks if you follow a gluten free or coeliac diet**
Leaders are all first aid trained and carry their own first aid kit
On many of our trips there will be an element of 'group kit' which will be shared amongst our guests. As mountain people you will be used to team work and working together to the mutual benefit and safety of the group.
The 'group kit' will be minimal and usually just a case of sharing a few lightweight 'survival shelters'. For example on a week-long trip you may carry a small shelter for just one day before passing it on to the next person.
If you are booking a trip in winter there will be a few additional safety items. These will be distributed in such a way that no one is over burdened.
Other group items necessary for safety and comfort will be carried by your guide/instructor.
For each of our trips a minimum number of guests is required before we can confirm that your trip will go-ahead. The minimum and maximum number of guests on your trip is displayed in the 'At a Glance' box on the righthand side of the trip page.
We strongly advise you do not book travel until we have confirmed your trip is 'guaranteed' to run. If you book travel before we have confirmed it is 'guaranteed' we cannot be held responsible for any financial loss if the trip does not go ahead.
We have secured 3 standard twin rooms and 1 Superior Double for the week.
Single occupancy of a twin room can be booked, with the single supplement of £540 being applied. If you wish a single room please indicate this on your Booking Form.
The supplement to book the Superior Noble Room is £488/person for the week.
We go to great lengths to work with first class ski instructors who are passionate about their work.
Your ski instructor will be a BASI qualified, or equivalent, Nordic Ski Instructor. BASI is the British Association of Snowsport Instructors and is one of Europe's leading examining boards for those choosing a career in snow sports. For some countries your ski instructor will hold the national qualification required for the country you are visiting. All are all fully qualified, insured, and hold the correct documentation.
In the majority of cases your instructor will also be a fully qualified and experienced International Mountain Leader. International Mountain Leaders are not only qualified to ensure the safe management of the group, but are also a source of knowledge about the local flora and fauna, and traditions of the area which you are visiting.
Please note your instructor has complete discretion to make a daily decision on whether or not to take the advertised route based on the weather and the ability of the members of the group. They have our authority to make any route changes they believe are necessary in the interests of safety and enjoyment.
You can learn more about our guides and instructors on the About Us page.
Designed as a continuation from our ‘Beginner’ classic track ski holidays or for those with at least 3 full days of classic style ski experience. We start with re-visiting the basic travelling techniques, skills to control speed and direction, and how to snowplough to bring your skis to a stop. Expect to ski on a mixture of flat and gently undulating terrain, all on prepared trails with parallel grooves. Time will be spent each day practising specific exercises and drills designed to improve your overall 'classic' cross country technique. We will help you develop the skills to allow you to confidently travel on a variety of terrain, both uphill and downhill learning how to go through the classic ski 'gears'. Each day we aim to do a short journey to give you time to consolidate your technique and skills practised. At all times you can expect a high level of instruction and support to ensure that you make the most out of your week and see progression. The time on skis will be between 4-5 hours covering between 10-15 km (6-9.4 miles) per day, with the possibility for one longer day taken at a relaxed pace of between 20-25 km (12.5-15.6 miles). While very active, anyone with average fitness will be able to enjoy this holiday.
An additional comment would be that you will find the trails here generally easy as they are gently undulating, and there is a lot of skiing on well prepared flat tracks. We would normally expect to climb no more than 400m (1312ft) on any one day, and it will often be between 200 to 300m (656-985ft) per day. We will, however, do two days with more distance, when we are dropped off at Totovaara and Peurakaltio. With many other activities available in Akaslompolo you can easily take a day off and explore the area.
For this trip where you are centre-based, in other words where you are staying in the same accommodation all week, you are welcome to bring whatever luggage you require. However, please note that not all the hotels we use have elevators. This means you may need to carry your luggage to your bedroom and this might involve climbing several flights of stairs. We would suggest that luggage with wheels is generally a good idea.
We do not include lunches in the trip fee as we find that our guests prefer to choose their own lunch. In Finland there are many cafes beside the ski trails as well as 'kota' which are traditional wigwam style structures where there will be BBQ already fired up! All the trail side cafes take a credit card, but having some local currencies is advised. Many people stop to cook sausages and other items on the fire. Otherwise you can stock up at the local supermarket on lunch items. Your guide will advise you of the options each day.
On your itinerary you will find an indication of the amount of ascent and descent you can expect each day. This offers a guideline to how much effort might be expended each day and allows you to decide, based on previous experience, if your fitness and stamina are correct for the trip.
We make every attempt to ensure these statistics are as accurate as possible, but ask you to note that the most modern of technology used to record these details can show considerable variations in terms of ascent, descent, and in particular distance. In other words no two people using GPS devices on the same route will have exactly the same details recorded at the end of the day.
The statistics given should be used as a 'general' indication of the effort required.
Winter temperatures are 'according to the locals' warmer in recent years than previously which is why we now run trips in the months of January, and February, as well as March and April. Even in January when the daylight hours are short we find that we have more than enough time for skiing. We have never yet had guests feeling they were losing out in terms of ski hours by booking in January or February. There is a special pleasure to starting your ski day in the sunrise, and skiing back with the sunset.
Historically temperatures in December have averaged -8°Celsius (17.4°F), in January -9.7°Celsius (14.5°F), in February -9.2°Celsius (15.4°F), in March -6.6°Celsius (20.1°F), and in April -2.3°Celsius (27.9°). Clearly it is possible for temperatures to be much lower.
We have found over the years that these temperatures have not been unpleasant nor have any guests had problems dealing with the weather as it is generally a 'dry' cold, and of course this helps create great snow and therefore great ski tracks. If we do experience a cold snap where temperatures drop then we ensure that everyone is appropriately clothed and kitted out for the ski day. In this respect energy snacks and a thermos with a hot drink are a great comfort!
It is useful to arrive at your destination with some cash in the local currency, however, on most occasions it is relatively easy to visit a 'cash machine' after arrival and withdraw money on a credit or debit card. Some of our locations are an exception to this in particular Norway, where the accommodation will often have no facilities for withdrawing cash, but they will take a credit card.
On many of our trips we will visit remote cafes/farms where it is wonderful to enjoy a drink and a cake, at places such as these they will only accept payment in the local currency in cash.
On our trips we encourage you to experience local tastes and dishes that reflect the culture of the country and for this reason many of our accommodation options will be family run with a reputation for the traditional food of the region.
If you have a 'special' diet because of an allergy or intolerance to a certain food type which will make you ill the accommodation will cater for this as best they can, eg gluten free, nut free, lactose free.
If you are vegetarian then this is not a problem as the hotels/refuges are used to being asked for vegetarian meals. Our accommodation will try to cater for those with vegan diets but in remote refuges in the mountains this is more difficult. If you would like to discuss the suitability of a trip for a vegan diet please contact us. Gluten-free diets will be possible with regard to the evening meals, but we would advise that you bring along some gluten-free snacks for your breakfasts and lunches.
If you have a 'special' diet which is NOT because of an allergy or intolerance, and is not 'veggie' then we apologise, but we cannot cater for this. The accommodation on the popular routes will be catering for many people each evening, in some cases up to 70/80 meals per night, 7 days a week, and realistically they cannot produce many different meal options unless the food will result in illness.
The countries we visit all have tap water which is drinkable. If for any reason a particular hotel is having a problem with a remote mountain water supply they will normally post a sign over the tap indicating that you must not drink the water. At all times you are welcome to ask your guide/instructor if the water can be drunk. We would ask, for environmental reasons, that you avoid using single-use plastic bottles, and bring a water bottle that can be used repeatedly.
A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required for visits to countries outside the EU, such as Norway. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice.
We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:
Note that if your trip involves staying in a mountain refuge/rifugio/hut that electric sockets may be in short supply and for that night you may not be able to charge any items. Although the accommodation will have electricity this will often be supplied by solar panels or a generator and limited to use by the staff. For this reason we advise that carrying a small slimline and lightweight 'battery pack' can be very useful for recharging phones which many of you will also use as your camera.
If you fancy a change from cross country skiing, then there is plenty to do in the surrounding area:
Before booking consider whether you expect to be in the appropriate physical condition on the date of your departure to allow you to fully participate in and enjoy your holiday. If you have any doubts because of an illness or injury it would be advisable to check with your doctor.
For UK residents travelling to an EU country you should obtain and bring with you a free Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment in certain European countries, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance.
If you have a UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) it will be valid until the expiry date on the card. Once it expires, you’ll need to apply for a GHIC to replace it. The UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) lets you get state healthcare in Europe at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. Please check this before departing. We advise that you always carry your insurance documents with details of the Emergency Medical telephone number for your insurance provider, and your policy number.
We feel strongly about protecting the environment and do not encourage the use of single-use plastic items. We would ask that you arrive with a ‘water bottle’ or ‘hydration system’ that can be used repeatedly. We would point out that we operate a ‘zero tolerance’ for rubbish, and would ask you to remove all your rubbish items from the mountain even those you consider to be bio-degradable. In particular we ask that you remove any toilet tissue.
You can read our full policy here.
Working across international boundaries, and with various currencies means that the price of our trips can change overnight. We have, however, undertaken to guarantee that once you have paid your deposit the price of your trip is fixed. In this respect we urge you to book early to ensure that you receive the price advertised on our website. The website price may increase due to currency fluctuations, but we guarantee that the price advertised on the date of your booking will be maintained in your individual case.
Prices may vary depending on date.
|Holiday Type||Cross Country Ski Instruction|
|Maximum Altitude||718m (2355ft)|
|Meet In||Äkäslompolo, Finland|
A film by two photographers local to Akaslompolo and shot in the national park where we will be skiing on this trip. In winter 2018 we watched the Aurora every night for a week. Mystical and magical experience.
Excellent footage of the countryside and skiing of Akaslompolo, our base for this week. The skiers in this film are 'skate' skiing, and we will be doing 'classic'. However, it is worth watching to see the landscape. The film features the Snow and Ice Village, Peurakaltio and other locations we will be visiting.