2013-03-13 Pallas-Yllastunturi 018
Lapland Ski Tour

Dates

Sunday 1st to Saturday 7th March 2015 and Sunday 8th to Saturday 14th March 2015

Meet up

Äkäshotel, Äkäslompolo, Sunday 11am

Ends

Saturday 8pm, Äkäshotel

Cost

£980 (7 days skiing, full package from Äkäslompolo – own flight to Kittila and easy direct bus transfer to hotel)

Booking

To book, please contact Tom Higgs - tom@tomoutdoors.co.uk – 07971 574 571 or use this contact me link

Itinerary

Sunday

A 45-minute transfer to our hotel in Äkäslompolo, local trail skiing from the hotel door, a light lunch in the hotel, local tour and instruction as required during the afternoon.

 

Monday

Exploring the local trails - review and brush up ski technique for uphill, flat and downhill as required, returning to the hotel where we can sauna and relax before our evening meal in the hotel restaurant.

 

Tuesday

Entering the Pallas-Yllӓstunturi National Park, a short ski to our first cabin, (9km) with options for longer routes taking in moderate uphill sections (120m height gain) around local hills, or a full ascent of around 300m for skiers who are confident on longer / steeper downhill sections. We can be sure of a warm welcome tonight. The traditional logging cabin is now privately owned and run by back country skiers who cook good homely food and have a passion for Arctic nature and life.

 

Wednesday

A longer day (21km), traversing the National Park skirting local hills  and winding easterly towards the impressive ridge of Aakenus near the park’s eastern boundary. Tucked away in the forest, we spend two nights at this cabin which has a traditional wood-fired Finnish sauna, complete with ice pool dip!

 

Thursday

A flexible day for local or further afield touring, returning to our comfortable forest base for a second night. Options to ski on groomed trails in or above the tree line, or perhaps venturing off trail to experience the open views over the arctic forest towards Levi and Yllӓs?

 

Friday

Moving on, and another day with options (from 19km) below or above the tree line, enjoying wide open spaces as we cross hills and extensive lowland marshes where otters roam, to arrive at our final hut (and a few extra comforts).

 

Saturday

Our final day in the National Park, the route re-joins the main cross country ski circuit after about 11km, passing the occasional café (mmm…?) then the last 8km back to the hotel for shower / swim / sauna and a generous end of tour buffet in the hotel restaurant. Finally, a short transfer to Kittila in time for the Helsinki flight at 22:50.

Ski Trails

The trails are groomed regularly – skate & classic. They were in excellent condition and re-groomed as required throughout my trips in March 2013 & 2014. Around 33km of lit trails are accessible from our hotel base on Sunday and Monday, though at this time of year it’s light well into the evening.

Skiing ability / Fitness / experience

No previous ski touring experience is needed, though reasonable fitness is important. If you have skied downhill before then you will enjoy the lightness of cross country skis on your feet and the descents will not seem difficult. If you have no skiing experience then it would be a good idea to gain some travelling skills on cross country skis before you come on this tour, though if you are fit and reasonably agile you will probably slip into it quite easily. Please contact me and I will happily advise. Faster cross country and semi-independent skiers are also welcome on this tour. I will provide route advice and agree a plan with you each day for meeting up.

The area

Although it has a remote feel once we leave the village of Äkäslompolo, there is good infrastructure all around - although sometimes it’s hidden by the trees! There are a few roads, many groomed ski trails, plenty of wild life and no snow scooters allowed in the National Park. Should you want it, there is mobile phone coverage at Äkäslompolo village and most of the time on the tour.

Accommodation

Please be prepared to share rooms on this tour.

 

The huts are basic but well heated by well-placed wood burning stoves with an ample supply of fuel and duvets / blankets / pillows. There is no mains electricity for three of our touring nights. Some huts have only a few rooms but as a minimum we will be able to divide between males and females. Toilets are mostly earth closet type, away from the main hut. Some huts have running water, at others we need to chip in with collect snow to melt for water, and do general tidying / washing up. Hot drinks will be available.

Alcohol

The hotel is fully licensed, selling a range of local beers, international wines & spirits at Finnish prices (which are considerably higher than in the UK). There might be wine on sale in the first hut, but there’s unlikely to be anything available at the other two. If you bring your own alcohol then please handle it sensitively where it’s also on sale.

Weather

Expect temperatures to be around -6C to -12C during the day. At night it can go down to -30C. If it’s this cold then expect bright sunny weather, though we will tend to start a bit later to allow the temperature to rise before we set off.

What to bring

Clothing

The first run of the day can feel pretty cold, so 2-layer gloves (thermal liners plus a good glove on top), a well-insulated down jacket with hood / balaclava / extra hat can be invaluable, sheet sleeping bag, pillow case, hooded wind-proof jacket, over-trousers, thermal base layer, fleece mid layers.

 

Equipment

Track skis (combi or classic are ideal, skate are also appropriate if you are an experienced track skier wanting to cover longer distances, or you can get away with light weight touring skis - I suggest not exceeding 85mm width or they will catch on the sides of the cut tracks), boots, poles.

 

 

Ski waxes & cork, headtorch with fresh batteries – it can be very dark in the forest! Small personal wash kit / medication, sun glasses high factor sun cream & lip salve, blister kit, rucksack (probably around 25 litres), thermos flask for hot drink (insulated bottles alone probably not enough to keep drink warm), “Normal” light weight classic or skate boots are generally warm enough so long as they have enough room in them for you to wear warm socks. Optional but may be useful: magnetic compass, camera, phone & charger.

 

Documents

Insurance policy schedule, Passport & any entry documents if non-uk passport holder, air ticket / online check-in, home contact details.

Luggage

We can leave flight luggage and travel clothes in the hotel luggage room to save touring with unnecessary weight.

Leadership

The leader’s responsibility is to lead the tour safely, enjoyably completing the planned journey wherever possible. In the event of inclement weather or other safety considerations, please be prepared to accept the leader’s decisions which may include changes to the planned tour. Most of the time though, expect a relaxed, flexible and informal leadership style.

Instruction

This is mainly a ski touring trip, so instruction / coaching will be aimed initially at enabling you to journey along the route effectively and efficiently. Opportunities will arise to look at skiing technique along the way, to learn, practice, receive feedback and develop skills.

Northern Lights

It’s possible that if we are lucky, we might see the Northern Lights, especially if it’s cold and we keep checking the night sky.

Food

All main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) are included from a light lunch on Sunday, to dinner on Saturday night. We will collect packed lunches and hot drink flask fills along the way Monday to Saturday, but bring your own trail mix / snacks with you (or buy in the nearby shop on Sunday / Monday). For main meals expect traditional Finnish fare - meat, fish, chunky soups, bread, cheese, ham. A vegetarian diet is usually catered for in Finland but it is often assumed that fish is acceptable. If you have special dietary needs then we will endeavour to provide for them but cannot guarantee to. It might be worth bringing any special supplies then guide our hosts to turn them into a suitable meal?

Saunas

There is a tradition in Finland of taking a sauna after skiing – why not join in? The hotel saunas will be either single sex or private and adjacent to the room. Huts on tour have communal saunas – modern electric at one, and a wood-fired sauna hut with traditional ice-pool dip at the other. You may want to bring a swimming costume!

Not included

Insurance

You should arrange your own cover and bring your European Health Insurance Card with you as many insurance companies require you to do this and it is valid for certain healthcare rights on holiday in Finland.

 

Flights

In order to allow the greatest flexibility of departure airports and dates these need to be arranged by you. In 2013 and 2014 Finnair allowed you to book your flight, skis and checked-in baggage all the way through and have a 1-night hand baggage stop-over in Helsinki at no extra charge.

 

Transfers

Every Finnair flight is met by a local bus operated by “V Rundgren Ky” which stops right outside the airport arrivals door and at the Äkäshotel in Äkäslompolo. We will meet when the bus arrives at the Äkäshotel around 11am on Sunday. On the following Saturday the local bus is again timed to return to Kittila Airport in time for flights up until the 22:50 flight to Helsinki.

 

Extra nights

You may wish to spend an extra night or more before or after the tour in Äkäslompolo for a supplement – please ask.

 

Passport / visa

Please check Finland visitor travel document requirements for your own circumstances before booking.

 

Map

A 1:55,000 topographical map showing all the prepared trails and relevant tourist information is available locally for €12.

 

Transportation of luggage on the ski tour from Äkäslompolo or special arrangements enabling people to leave or join the group early / late.

TomOutdoors
2013-03-15 Pallas-Yllastunturi 008
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