Ski Lapland Beyond the Artic Circle
Cross country skiing in Lapland
Cross country skiing in Lapland
Ski Lapland: Beyond the Arctic Circle
Ski Lapland: Beyond the Arctic Circle
Cross country skiing in Lapland

Ski Lapland: Beyond the Arctic Circle


Trip Overview

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.

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

Highlights

  • 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!

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

  • airport
  • house
  • 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.

  • 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 330 km (206 miles) 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.
  • Today you will make your way back to Kittila airport and onwards to your destination.

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.

Accommodation

On all our trips we aim to accommodate our guests in well-situated, clean, characterful, family run accommodation. We are painstaking in our research to give you the best option possible and one that is good value. Our suggested accommodation, listed below, is subject to availability at the time of booking. We have given details of our favoured venues and those we intend to use. If unavailable we will book alternative accommodation of a similar standard.

Our trip fees are based on two people sharing a room. If you are travelling on your own your booking will be based on a twin bedroom sharing with someone of the same gender. 

However, on many of our trips single rooms are available on request for a supplementary fee. We recommend booking as early as possible to secure a single room as these are always limited in number. Please contact us for details. 

Hotel Ylläshumina

Hotel

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.


  • 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 which in 2018 cost approx. 110 Euros one way. 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 at Kittila to Äkäslompolo 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.

    You can also use another bus service from the airport, the Ylläs Express. The price is approx. 26 Euros per person one way, and 52 Euros per person return. 

  • Please note that you must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity. As we will be travelling in the mountains, you must be covered for helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. We also advise you to take out Trip Cancellation/Curtailment Insurance in the event of you being unable to join the trip for whatever reason. NB: The insurance referred to below should only be purchased AFTER we have confirmed that your trip is guaranteed to run. 

    For ease of reference the clause relating to Insurance as set out in our Terms and Conditions is given below:

    Insurance: It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical expenses, injury, illness, death, cost of repatriation, and personal accident risks. This must include cover for the activities to be undertaken during the trip. For tours taking place outside the United Kingdom you must ensure that your insurance covers rescue from the mountains, including helicopter rescue. It is the right of the leader to make a decision to call for helicopter rescue if such assistance is needed. Costs incurred by you, the client, due to an evacuation, rescue or other emergency event shall be your responsibility. Any subsequent costs incurred for expenses not limited to but including such costs as hotels, food, transport etc shall be borne by you, the client. You are responsible for ensuring insurance cover is adequate for the particular needs of your chosen activity. You must be fully aware of the implications involved in arranging your own travel insurance and understand the limitations and exclusions of the policy. By agreeing to our Terms and Conditions you are authorising Tracks and Trails Ltd or the person employed to lead the trip for Tracks and Trails Ltd to instigate rescue and/or helicopter evacuation procedures without previously obtaining the permission of the company issuing your insurance policy. We reserve the right to cancel your booking at any time if we are not satisfied you have the necessary insurance policy covering your activity. Please ensure that your insurance covers you to the maximum altitude given on your trip itinerary. If you are unsure or are joining a bespoke trip then please contact us for specific details. Most of our trips have a maximum altitude of 3,000 metres, except the Tour de Monte Rosa which reaches 3316m. You must bring all insurance documentation with you at the time of the activity. We also recommend your insurance covers you for trip cancellation and baggage loss/damage. Tracks and Trails Ltd are unable to accept responsibility for the loss or damage to any client equipment or luggage.

    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 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 cost of your ski hire, if you require to hire, is approximately 100 Euros for 6 days. 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).

  • This trip requires a minimum of 4 clients to book before it can be guaranteed to run and we take a maximum of 8 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.

  • Expect to ski on a mixture of both flat and rolling terrain on prepared trails. You should already be at a level where you are confident about controlling your speed and direction, and have a good ‘snowplough’. You should be able to cope with skiing under control on a variety of terrain both uphill and downhill, and be confident about tackling corners while skiing downhill. All our trips include quality instruction, but for these trips you need to have a good ‘kick and glide’ to be able to travel competently and at a steady pace. You should have a good level of fitness to ensure that you are comfortable with longer days in winter weather, which may include snowfall and cold winds. You should be happy to ski on a variety of snow including perfect fresh tracks, AND tracks less than perfect which may be ‘firm’. On our point-to-point trips you will be expected to carry a small daypack. Time on skis will be 5-6 hours per day covering approximately 15-25 km (9-15 miles) per day with an occasional longer day.

    However, 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 plenty of distance and you can expect to ski anything from 20 - 30 km (12.5 - 18.7 miles) on the longer days out such as the days we are dropped off at Totovaara and Peurakaltio.

  • 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 minus 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 have a good ski each day.

  • If you fancy a change from cross country skiing, then there is plenty to do in the surrounding area:

    • husky dog sledding
    • ice fishing
    • snowmobiling
    • an evening snowmobile safari and with luck the Northern Lights
    • visit a reindeer farm, and enjoy a 3 km (1.8 miles) sleigh ride
  • 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. You can read our full policy here.

  • Due to the specialised nature of many of our holidays, we co-sell a number of our trips with 'partner' companies. Our partners are carefully selected to ensure they reflect our own ethos and standards in terms of the service we offer to our guests. By encouraging our partners to sell our trips it means that your chosen holiday may reach its 'minimum' number earlier, allowing us to guarantee the trip and to give you the go-ahead to book your travel arrangements.

    There may be occasions when our partners have helped to book your accommodation and organise the logistics for your trip. On these occasions your hotel may have recorded your room reservation in the name of our partners. 

    We guarantee that any partners with whom we work will offer the same package as Tracks and Trails. The price will be the same, though occasionally our partners may be operating in a different currency. Your itinerary and the items that are included, or not included in your trip fee will also be the same. 

    We believe in team work, and enjoy working with other small high quality companies. If you have any questions about this policy please contact us and we will be happy to discuss it with you. 

     


Prices may vary depending on date.

2019

Sun 10 Feb - Sun 17 Feb
Code: AKS1 19
Price: £1795 Book

2020

Sun 09 Feb - Sun 16 Feb
Code: AKS1 20
Price: £1795 Book
Sun 08 Mar - Sun 15 Mar
Code: AKS2 20
Price: £1795 Book

What's Included

  • 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
  • Six days of instruction and guiding by a fully qualified BASI Nordic Instructor
  • A visit to the fabulous Snow and Ice Village at Lainio
  • Transfers to Peurakaltio and Totovaara for our ski journey days
  • Use of grip waxes if required
  • Single rooms available
  • Tracks and Trails memento - a gift to take home!

What's Not Included

  • Lunch
  • Flights
  • Insurance
  • Ski hire (approximately 100 Euros for 6 days)
  • Any extra expenses such as drinks and beverages
  • Transfers to Äkäslompolo from your arrival and departure points
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Grade: Intermediate

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At a Glance

From Price £1795
Holiday Type Cross Country Skiing
Duration 8 Days
Group Size 8
Minimum Age 18
Countries Visited Finland
Meet In Äkäslompolo, Finland
View all Cross Country Skiing Holidays

The amazing beauty of the Aurora Borealis

Cross country skiing in Akaslomplo