Cross-country skiing in Oulanka National Park

8 days
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$1,855 USD
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Trip code: 
CFC
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Winter
Min age:
16
Group size:
6–16

Ski freshly cut loipes in the remote Finnish wilderness

Take the chance to ski through forests and over frozen lakes close to the border between Finland and Russia. The area is so remote that you will not find other skiers on your path.
Mile upon mile of pristine wilderness, with trees twisted and heavy from the snow stretches as far as the eye can see. Throughout this skiing week, we travel through this beautiful landscape by following tracks made by a snowmobile that cuts fresh loipes just for the group.
Spend two nights in a remote Finnish wilderness cabins where we can enjoy local cooking, a sauna to relax in, and if we are really lucky, a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

Highlights

  • Explore national parks
  • Ski private tracks through pristine wilderness
  • Chance to see the Northern Lights
  • Relax in a traditional Finnish sauna

Key information

  • 5 nights wilderness lodge, 2 nights simple lodge with shared facilities
  • 5 days guided cross-country skiing
  • Group normally 6‐16, plus leader. Min age 16 years
  • Cross-country skis, boots and poles included
  • Cross-country ski grade 3 Intermediate

What's included

  • Return flight from either Gatwick or Heathrow to Kuusamo, airport transfers (for group flight only)
  • All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners
  • 5 days guided cross-country skiing
  • Cross-country skis boots and poles

What's not included

  • Travel Insurance
  • Single Accommodation
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Days of Winter
Day by day breakdown
Day 25.0km/3.0miles
Day 314.0km/9.0miles
Day 414.0km/9.0miles
Day 514.0km/9.0miles
Day 715.0km/10.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Logging Lodge by Basecamp Oulanka.

    Start at Basecamp Oulanka for the first briefing and to visit the kit room to collect all the clothing needed for a week of cross-country skiing in arctic conditions. Depending on the arrival time we may have dinner here or later when we arrive at the Logging Lodge in Oulanka National Park.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Morning wilderness skills session. Easy Introduction day to cross- country skiing.

    Our first day is spent reacquainting ourselves with cross-country skiing. Before starting we get an introduction from the leader about what needs to be done in the wilderness. We spend the day not far from the Logging Lodge, either practising on circuits cut for us in the forest or in a larger clearing on the edge of the forest. In summer this is used as a gravel pit, and whilst that may not sound hugely appealing, a healthy dose of snow in winter turns it into a wide open area with a few ups and downs, perfect for getting easing back into the swing of things. Lunch today is taken back at the Logging Lodge. We aim to have a few hours practice in both the morning and afternoon.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Ski east to the Russian border.

    The goal today is the log cabin known as the ‘Russian End’, on the banks of the Oulanka River, close to the border. After the briefing we are given dry sacks to fill with the belongings we’ll need for the next two nights. These are then packed onto the trailer and taken by snowscooter to our destination. We set off through the forest enjoying the tranquillity of the Finnish winter landscape.
    On the way we stop for a snack and a warm drink, usually in one of the small shelters that dot this part of the National Park.
    Eventually we come to the edge of the Border Zone with Russia, often a nice photo stop, before heading on to our cosy home for the next two nights.
    The total distance is around 14km and we aim to arrive by mid afternoon depending on conditions. Those that wish can accompany our second leader down to the river to collect some ice which we’ll use for a well deserved sauna or undertake further skiing if there is time.
    This location has little or no light pollution so there is a fantastic chance in the evening of seeing the Northern Lights in all their glory if the conditions are right.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Return trip to a wonderful viewpoint at Saunavaara.

    After a night in splendid isolation we awake to a warm breakfast and prepare for our day tour. The route takes us first across the river and uses initially some forest roads, again skirting the border and eventually to the beautiful viewpoint which overlooks Lake Paanajärvi on the Russian side, a wonderful spot from which to admire the pristine untouched natural surroundings. Our way back takes us through forest inhabited by Elk so there is a high chance of seeing one. In the evening we can relax in the traditional Finnish sauna and head out to the frozen river for an amazing view of the night sky.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Ski back through the forest to the Logging Lodge visiting the reindeer round-up place.

    Today we pack up our kit for the return journey to the Logging Lodge then head out on the skis following the same route as day three in reverse. We pass a Reindeer herders farm where we will stop and look for the reindeer which wander freely in the area before stopping off at the fire pit for a coffee, hot chocolate and snack break. Once back at the Logging Lodge there is a free afternoon for relaxing in the sauna. Extra skiing opportunities may be available if we arrive ahead of schedule. The total time this route takes can vary greatly according to conditions and group proficiency.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Free day for optional activities.

    Free day. There are variety of optional activities on offer today including the new and increasingly popular winter activity – fat biking; explore the winter wonderland with specially made bicycles with ultrawide tires that can run easily on the snow at very low pressure. Alternatively cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are also available.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Return trip to Oulanka Visitor centre. Farewell dinner by open fire

    Today is the longest day of the trip as we head north along the Oulanka River towards the visitor centre. Our route starts by crossing a small frozen lake before heading into the thick woodland of the Oulanka National Park. At the end of the ride we have lunch at the visitor centre and have time to see the exhibition about the national park as well as ride the short distance to the Karhunkierros rapids. Then we head back to the Logging Lodge for dinner and time for a final sauna.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    End Logging Lodge

    The trip will end at the Logging Lodge. 

    Lunch is included for clients booked on the group flights for departures from Dec. 24th to Feb. 11th (included) due to a later inbound flight time.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Finland

No visa required for UK passport holders visiting Finland.

Vaccinations

Finland

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners included. 

The food provided covers a variety of traditional Finnish dishes. Breakfast will be continental, with bread, cheese, ham, porridge, muesili and yoghurt available. Lunch will be prepared and served by the snowmobile guide who is making the tracks. This will consist of warm soup, bread, cheeses, sausages hot tea and biscuits. In the evening dinner will consist of traditional meat and fish dishes with vegetables and dessert. A vegetarian option also available.

Weather

In the regions close to the Arctic Circle temperatures during the season range from -30ºC to +5ºC. Christmas will normally be the coldest (usually below -20ºC), but the temperatures rise as the days lengthen, and early April can see temperatures around -10ºC to +5ºC. Recent years have seen massive fluctuations in the space of a few weeks with lows of -40ºC and highs of +7ºC just a few days apart.
If the thought of such temperatures scares you, then think again. When dressed in the correct clothing (such as described in the layering system example in the packing section), -20ºC can actually feel very pleasant. The Arctic cold is a dry cold, there is usually no wind, and remember, we will keep you active.
Daylight hours
Remember that at extreme latitudes the days shorten and lengthen much faster. So while in mid-winter (December/January) the sun remains just below the horizon, by April there are more daylight hours than in the UK, and the midnight sun is only a matter of weeks away. Even in midwinter it is not dark, as the sun is just above the horizon and there is plenty of light reflected off the snow.


Northern Lights
The breathtaking Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are visible from September to late April on most clear nights at latitudes close to, and above the Arctic Circle. They can be seen further south, but will be less spectacular and less frequent. Solar activity is greater around the equinoxes (September and March), and at lower latitudes this can be the best time to see them. On our trip we will have little light pollution so if there is sufficient solar activity and no cloud cover, we will be well placed to see them.

Is this trip for you?

Activity Details
Cross-country skiing or Nordic Skiing is becoming one of the most popular winter sports. Using longer, thinner and lighter skis than downhill with bindings that let you lift your heel, we explore the winter landscapes away from the confines of the alpine pistes.  On this trip we will ski for 3 -6 hours per day on tracks made each day by a snowmobile with the occasional opportunity of skiing off track. The final skiing day can be around 8 hours skiing.  Conditions can and do affect the speed at which we ski, and skiers more used to the Alps or Dolomites will find tracks here to be much narrower, particularly though the forests. 



Ski Grades

Exodus offers cross-country skiing holidays to suit a wide range of technical and physical levels. Our cross-country skiing grades reflect both the level of physical fitness required and the level of skiing experience required. They are comparable to the activity levels we use on our snowshoeing, cycling, activity and trekking holidays, however we believe a slightly different system is required, due to the tuition we provide on our holidays. This sets our cross-country skiing holidays apart, as we tend not to need to teach people how to ride a bike or walk.

The aim remains to create groups of similar ability and fitness. This week is graded 3, moderate, see below for further details.



Grade 3 Intermediate

Equivalent Activity Level: Moderate, level 3

These weeks are ideal for those who have enjoyed at least one grade 2 holiday and grasped the basics. They offer tuition to refresh and improve technique and typically will ski a little further than Grade 2 weeks, and over more varied terrain, i.e more ups and downs and therefore requiring a slightly higher level of fitness.
An ability to ascend and descent safely is essential.
The tracks on which you will be skiing are prepared in advance by snowmobile, the track quality may vary due to weather conditions and in places will be narrower than is often the case on other cross-country skiing holidays.

On the day we ski to the Russian End, clients will be expected to carry a rucksack with their personal items, a skidoo will carry the overnight clothing and other heavy items, like food, drink and the emergency medical kit.

The conditions can and will change. Should we finish the planned days skiing earlier than predicted there will be the opportunity to do additional skiing closer to the nights' accommodation.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Logging Lodge

The Logging Lodge, on the edge of the Oulanka National Park, was originally built in the 1950s and has been recently renovated to provide more modern accommodation for our groups.

Twin rooms actually have two bunks on opposite walls though we use these as twin share.
Facilities are shared. There are two bathrooms, a shower room, sauna, drying room and a lounge/dining area. There is wifi throughout.

Meals are taken in the main lounge/dining area where there is also a small bar of sorts.

Russian End Wilderness Cabin

The Russian End cabin is a traditional elk hunting camp. There is no running water and no electricity and our two nights here give a real taste of life in the wilderness. There is one small room with a twin and single bed, a small kitchen area where our leaders will prepare the food, and the main living area.

This is quite simply one big room, with a large table down the middle and one long bunk along the wall. Due to the nature of the accommodation it is not possible to have a single here, and we do our best to accommodate people as best we can within these sleeping arrangements, however it is not possible to pre allocate berths. Warmth is never an issue, with a roaring fire and warm sleeping bags to keep us warm and candles to provide light. 


We may also make use of a second sleeping area in the same cabin as the sauna. The sauna is in a separate building close to the river. Using water cut from the river ice we fire this up on arrival. This space also doubles as a washing area. There is no shower, instead we use the hot and cold water provided to wash – pouring a mix of these over your head constitutes a real ‘Finnish’ shower and is certainly effective!
The toilet here is in a separate hut about 50m from the cabin.
The location is unforgettable, a stone’s throw from the river and not far from the Russian border, this is a long way off grid and all the better for it. With zero light pollution Northern Lights displays, whilst never guaranteed, can be spectacular.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

All too often the first couple of months of a year are scarred by broken resolutions and shattered fitness aspiration

  • Reviewed February 2017
    Caroline Bromley

    Cross-country Skiing in Oulanka National Park, Finland

    Cross-country skiing in the Finnish wilderness, with a few night's lodgings in a renovated hut, far away from the hustle and bustle of any dwelling. Fantastic opportunity to experience the beautiful and incredibly peaceful scenery, whilst energetically swishing along on skis. At the end of the day you're treated to a hearty meal, made from local produce, and of course a Finnish sauna to set you up perfectly for the next day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The guides are very knowledgeable about their local environment and are passionate to uphold a sustainable lifestyle.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Welcoming, very friendly, expert skier and keen to help improve your skills.

Dates & Prices

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Call us on 1 844 227 9087