Ski the Finnish Russian Frontier
Ski the Finnish Russian Frontier
Ski the Russian Finnish Frontier
Clearly enjoying themselves!
Ski Lapland Beyond the Artic Circle
Ski the Finnish Russian Frontier

Ski the Finnish Russian Frontier


Trip Overview

A unique opportunity to develop your skiing then put it into practice and ski a point-to-point journey along the frontier between Finland and Russia. Our route follows the Eastern Border winter trail, taking you through pristine wilderness areas. If you have a sense of adventure and would like to experience the joy of skiing through a beautiful winter landscape where few others go, then this is the trip for you. With luck, you may even witness the Northern Lights dancing across the night sky! 

Highlights

  • Epic journey on a remote frontier
  • Ski tracks prepared just for you
  • 3 Days of professional ski tuition
  • Perfect first point-to-point tour
  • Cosy log cabins in the wilderness
  • Saunas in the woods
  • Expert local Wilderness Guides 
  • Learn about reindeer herding
  • Chance to see The Northern Lights

We have teamed up with excellent Finnish ski guides to take you on an incredible journey through the winter landscape. As well as our local Arctic Wilderness Guide, you will also have the benefit of a BASI qualified Cross Country Ski Instructor from the Tracks and Trails team. A wonderful opportunity to learn about the culture and people of this Russian Finnish frontier area while also improving your ski technique. From December to April the area is deep in snow, offering a long season of winter ski tours. Don't be worried it will be too cold, even if it drops to -25 degrees Celsius the dry continental climate doesn't pose a problem. Throughout our ski trip we stay in comfortable wilderness cabins and guest houses, with saunas available every night except one.


The food was amazing with perfect hospitality Sitting on the veranda in the sunshine mid sauna was glorious. Close second would be the night before in the deserted farm. Our guide…immensely skilled and experienced with a wealth of stories and a fierce sauna technique!

Itinerary

  • airport
  • house
  • Today you begin your journey in Finland with your arrival at Kaajani airport, and then your transfer to Vuokatti. This area is without doubt one of the most famous cross country ski resorts in Finland. This evening your ski instructor, who will be a qualified professional, will discuss your trip and answer any questions you might have about the days ahead. 

     

  • Vuokatti is one of the most versatile all-year-round holiday destinations in Finland offering an almost endless list of trails and activities. The first snow usually arrives in November and lasts through till at least the end of April. The cross-country skiing tracks are among the best in the country and especially during the first snow season, attract many of the world’s top cross country skiers to training camps. Many routes start in the yard of the Vuokatti Sports Institute, which sits at the crossroad of around 150 km (94 miles) of various trails, such as traditional ones, or tracks for freestyle skiing. About 32 km (20 miles) of the trail network is illuminated for evening skiing. 

    It's here at Vuokatti that we take time to re-fresh our ski skills and find our ski legs. We will structure the day in such as way that a natural progression is taken that will enhance the technique which you already have, while also allowing you to pick up new 'tips and skills' to improve your skiing. This will all be done with the aim of allowing you to thoroughly enjoy your three day ski journey along the Finnish-Russian frontier.  

     

  • After a hearty breakfast we will once again take to the tracks and enjoy the best that Vuokatti has to offer. They sat that 'Champions are made in Vuokatti' and we will be doing our best to help you at least a small way along that road! But don't worry we firmly believe that skiing is fun and we aim to make sure you have a great time learning to cross country ski. It is worth noting though that such is the quality of the cross country skiing in Vuokatti that Finland's largest long distance cross country ski race is held here each March. Today we will continue to explore the vast network of cross country ski trails, developing your confidence and furthering your ski skills with your own highly qualified Tracks and Trails ski instructor. 

     

  • We enjoy our last ski in Vuokatti this morning when we will consolidate the skills that you have picked up over the last few days. Then in the afternoon the transfer (2.5 hours) to Jatkonsalmi cabin located in the heart of the new Hossa national park where we meet our Finnish wilderness guide.

    The Hossa National Park was established in 2017 as the 40th national park in Finland with the aim of marking 100 years of independence. The village is a popular outdoor tourist destination and is known for the oldest rock paintings in Northern Finland, dating back to 1500-2500 BC. The name "Hossa" originates from the old Sami word Huossa meaning "a place far away". Tonight we stay in a traditional log cabin in Jatkonsalmi on the shore of Lake Jatkonjärvi complete with a sauna. 

     

  • After breakfast, we begin our ski journey to the former frontier guard station at Rajakartano. Each day we will help you to improve your technique while travelling through the forests, providing a great mix of culture and instruction. The forests are very atmospheric with lichen hanging from the trees as 'old mans beard', which is always a sign of the purity of the air. The reindeer feed on it when there is too much snow and they have nothing else. The local Finnish people will sometimes use it to make tea, and it is known as ‘poor mans spaghetti'. We will aim to do 9km (5.6 miles) in the morning, and then take lunch at the Hossa Visitor Centre, where we can also see the exhibition featuring Finland's newest National Park. 

    In the afternoon we continue our journey across the lake as we make our way towards the Russian frontier. Late afternoon you can relax in a traditional Finnish sauna, and the more adventurous among us can even try ice swimming, though it's more a case of an 'ice dip'! At night we will visit a local reindeer farm, where we will enjoy a traditional dinner and of course, learn about reindeer herding. Our accommodation tonight will be at Rajakartano, a wooden cabin by the edge of a lake. Showers and sauna are available.

    Distance: 9+km (6+ miles)

     

     

     

  • We have our longest skiing day today, beginning on the tracks of Hossa before following the border guard’s trail southward. We cross many small marshlands, and ski through ancient forests. Although we have 25 km (15.6 miles) to ski today the terrain is easy and with much of it flat you will find you can enjoy the km's and the experience of arriving on the frontier with Russia. Every few metres there will be a pole with a yellow band around the top. This is the entrance to 'No Man's Land', and you will be warned not to stray into this area!  Our accommodation tonight is in our opinion a lovely experience as it is in a rustic old wooden house on the top of the Kovavaara hill. The house is very simple, and accommodation will be between the main building and two smaller log cabins. There is a wood-fired sauna to relax the muscles after your ski day, but no shower. However, you can do things the local way and douse yourself in warm water from the wooden bucket to clean off! Even if the temperatures are cold, the house and the two smaller cabins, have wood burning stoves which makes it very cosy. Even if Kovavaara doesn’t have modern comforts, our guests usually say it is one of the highlights of the tour. 

    Distance: 25km (15.6 miles)

  • This morning we continue our journey along the Russian border zone. We will follow the yellow border zone markers, and these will be our guides for the entire day. On several occassions today we have a view into Russia. In the afternoon we will arrive at Arola situated just a stone’s throw from the Russian border. Arola is famous for delicious food made by our hostess Helena from local ingredients. The farmhouse, which was built in 1936, also has an interesting history. At that time the owner, Lempi, towed her children on a sledge for over 10 km (6.3 miles) to escape from Russian soldiers invading Finland. She was able to warm the local villagers of the danger and the villages were evacuated. All this and more to be learned over a cosy dinner in a traditional log house. Helena revels in telling tales of the past and the relationship between the local Finnish people and their Russian neighbours. Be prepared to be entertained over dinner! Showers and sauna available.

    Distance: 19km (11.8 miles)

  • Today is your departure day. We have breakfast and the we transfer to the airport. The details of which airport is most convenient for your return journey are yet to be finalised. Please contact us to confirm arrangements before you book any flights.

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

We always aim to accommodate our guests in well-situated, characterful, family run accommodation. Our suggested accommodation is subject to availability at the time of booking. We have given details below of our favoured accommodation for this trip and the ones we intend to use. If unavailable we will book alternative accommodation of 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. Single rooms may be available on the first 3 nights when we stay in a hotel at Vuokatti, but, if requested, these will incur 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.

On this trip we stay in a hotel for three nights and then we begin our hut to hut ski tour when we stay in comfortable wilderness log cabins and a guest house. All the accommodation except Kovavaara has electricity, and there is a sauna at all of the cabins to ease those muscles! The accommodation is mostly in twin rooms, but on rare occasions triple/quadruple/mixed gender rooms may be used.  In reality we find that with a group of 10 guests there is enough room in the large wooden cabins for people to spread out and it in not unusual for couples to have a room to themselves. 

Sokos Hotel, Vuokatti

Hotel

For the first three nights of this trip we are in a very comfortable hotel at Vuokatti. The rooms are spacious and decorated with natural colour tones taken from the surrounding nature. There is an entire sauna 'department' on the top floor of the hotel offering panoramic views to the hills. 

The hotel has all the major facilities you would expect to find in a resort hotel, and is certainly a massive contract to the accommodation on the hut-to-hut segment of your holiday where you will be able to revel in the silence and remoteness of the traditional cabins you will be staying in. 

Jatkonsalmi

Cabin

Jatkonsalmi will be your first trip experience of a traditional Finnish log cabin. It is in a lovely setting in the Hossa National Park, on the shores of Lake Jatkonjärvi. The cabin is spacious with a total of 8 bedrooms, with 28 beds. There are shared toilets and showers, but given that our group is not likely to be more than 10 this means there is plenty of room for everyone. 

There is a large lounge area and a log fire to keep us cosy. There is also a sauna nearby which is shared with Teräväpää cabin. Meals are served by our guides, and will be simple, but plentiful.

Rajakartano

Cabin

The wooden cabin at Rajakartano is a former frontier guard station. Again it is in a lovely setting in the forest by the lakeside. It has a kitchen, living room, 3 toilets and a shower. There is a separate sauna building by the lake, where you can go to dip in the ice cold lake! Showers are also available at the sauna.

The accommodation is spread across 5 bedrooms, of which 3 are twin rooms, and 2 are quads. Dinner will a traditional Finnish meal taken at the local reindeer farm which is about 15 minutes walk from the cabin. The herder who is called Kimmo will no doubt introduce you to his 30 reindeer. 

 

 

Kovavaara

Cabin

For many the night at Kovavaara is one of the highlights of the trip. A simple wooden cabin in a remote location in the woods, and certainly a delight to find it at the end of your longest ski day. There is even a wood fired traditional sauna where you can wash yourself down with steaming hot water! Dinner is prepared by your guides, and taken by candlelight!

The main building at Kovavaara has three different rooms with several beds in each, but there are also two smaller log cabins available, so there is enough space for everyone and a cosy athmosphere. The sauna is in the separate building, and there are no showers. This is the only accommodation with an outhouse. There is no central heating, but the house is heated with several wood fired stoves, and in case it is very cold we have warm sleeping bags. 

Arola

Guesthouse

Arola is simply a lovely place to stay, made all the more special by the hospitality of Helen who is definitely a 'character'. The accommodation is in traditional Finnish style with a lot of 'wood'. Guests are usually accommodated in a range of cabins near the main building. As always there is a sauna available, after all it is part of Finnish life!

In total Arola has a number of bedrooms accommodating up to 14 people. These are mostly twin rooms, with shared toilet and showers. Arolla is well-known for delicious food mostly from local ingredients. Dinner is served in the main building in a traditional log-house, Helena will no doubt take the chance at dinner to tell you many tales of her life as a Finn - she's great! You may also meet her husband Eero, their son Jeru (who may be your skidoo driver of the trip) and his wife Jonna. A real family concern. 


  • The meeting point for this trip is Kajaani airport in Finland and the departure point is Kuusamo Airport.

    Please note that we provide only one airport transfer for each group on arrival and departure (unless otherwise indicated). Before making any flight reservations we advise you to check with us your intended airports and transfer schedules. Due to the remote location and long distances, private transfers are very difficult and expensive to arrange. If you arrive/depart on flights that do not coincide with these single timed group airport transfers, you should wait at the airport or in the town.

    NB: It is also possible to book extra nights, and take time to explore Helsinki, if the flight schedule dictates it and for any arrivals with a few hours spare before the transfer, then we suggest time at the local spa hotel in Kaajani.

  • 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 ski in Finland at the time of year when the snow is at it's best, which is from mid-February onwards. The snow season in the inland regions of southern and central Finland, see the first snow falls at the beginning of December and it usually melts during late March and April. The temperatures in February are usually around -3°C during the daytime, and dropping to approximately -10°C during the night. 

  • The total ski hire for the week is expected to be abourt 80 Euros for 6 days. These are lightweight 'fish scale' classic track skis.

    All the rental skis are with Salomon SNS bindings. If you prefer to bring your own shoes and rent just skis and poles that is possible. Please make sure that your boots are compatible with SNS bindings.

    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). The skis we use are “normal” cross-country skis for classical style, and the width is usually 44 mm.

  • This trip requires a minimum of 4 clients to book before it can be guaranteed to run and we take a maximum of 10 clients. This is slightly more than our normal group sizes of 8/9 and is due to the easy nature of the terrain and the fact that for 3 of the days you have two guides looking after you. A Tracks and Trails Cross County Ski Instructor, plus a local Arctic Wilderness Guide. 

  • 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 03 Feb - Sun 10 Feb
Code: FRF1 19
Price: £1695 Book
Sun 10 Mar - Sun 17 Mar
Code: FRF2 19
Price: £1695 Book

What's Included

  • Half board accommodation in a hotel for 3 nights in Vuokatti; breakfast and dinner, based on 2 people sharing
  • Full board accommodation for 4 nights, breakfast, picnic lunch, and dinner, based on cabins
  • Transfers from and to the airport
  • Instruction from a BASI qualified Nordic Ski Instructor
  • Services of a local Arctic Wilderness Guide 
  • Back up from a skidoo driver on two of the longer days
  • Sleeping bag and liner for Kovavaara hut night
  • Luggage transport between accommodations
  • Bed linen and towels
  • Saunas
  • Tracks and Trails memento - a gift to take home!

What's Not Included

  • Insurance
  • Flights
  • Extra snacks and drinks
  • Ski hire

The food was amazing with perfect hospitality Sitting on the veranda in the sunshine mid sauna was glorious. Close second would be the night before in the deserted farm. Our guide…immensely skilled and experienced with a wealth of stories and a fierce sauna technique!

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Grade: Improvers

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At a Glance

From Price £1695
Holiday Type Cross Country Skiing
Duration 8 Days
Group Size 10
Minimum Age 18
Maximum Altitude 250m (820ft)
Countries Visited Finland
Meet In Kajaani Airport, Finland
View all Cross Country Skiing Holidays

Ski the Finnish Russian Frontier

Vuokatti Winter Wonderland