Upitrek ltd, founded in 2000, is a nature travel company and registered tour operator whose clientele is made up of international travelers. We are specialized in guided week-long trekkings and activity holidays in the Kainuu and Koillismaa areas of Eastern Finland. Since the beginning the mission has remained the same: to offer un-motorised treks for small groups into the heart of Finnish wilderness and in complete harmony with nature. We are committed to sustainability and have received Travelife Partner award as a recognition of our commitment towards social and environmental sustainability.
Read more about sustainability here.
For most winter tours we offer guaranteed departure dates without a minimum number of participants.
These tours are guaranteed to run from the moment they are booked and are also suitable for individual travellers.
The maximum group size is usually 12 passengers, plus an expert tour leader.
Groups are international consisting on average 4-6 nationalities.
Private tours for groups are organised on request and they can be tailored to meet a group’s wishes.
- Cross-country ski tours
- Snowshoeing tours
- Backcountry skiing tours
- Hiking tours
- Multi-activity holidays
- Family holidays
- School camps
A fully licenced tour operator
Urpo Heikkinen is the founder and owner of the company. Outdoors and trekking have always been Urpo’s passion and after attending a wilderness guide course in 1999 he founded Upitrek. The first tours were organized in winter 2000 and as long as the company was a one-man business Urpo guided all groups himself. Nowadays running the day-to-day operations, logistics etc. keep him busy during the seasons so unfortunately there is no time for guiding anymore. Urpo’s wealth of knowledge and extensive experience are priceless when it comes to planning new tours and ensuring the smooth operation of tours.
Niina Jämsén has been involved in some way with the family business since 2002 when she completed her tourism studies at Kajaani University of Applied Sciences. Along the way she gained valuable experience as secretary for several regional, national and also international sports events. In 2011 she made the move and began working full-time for Upitrek. Niina’s realm is the office where she is responsible for sales and marketing as well as “anything digital” from website to webshops etc. Beyond that, Niina also manages Upitrek’s outgoing agency Kunnon Lomat.
We are fortunate to collaborate with a dedicated team of professional freelance guides who join us each season. Many of these experienced guides have been integral parts of our team for several years, contributing their expertise and passion to our adventures.
Moreover, each season brings the excitement of welcoming new, enthusiastic team members. It’s rewarding to note that some of them initially embarked on their journey with us as trainees.
Winter tours 2023-24 will be guided by Anna-Maria, Anna, Kaisa, Katja, Kerttu, Maarit, Maria, Niina, Pike, Riikka, Akseli, Antti, Juho N., Juho P., Petri, Ruben, Tomasz and Toni.
Here short presentations of some of them – the rest you’ll learn to know on site!
My name is Tomasz and I am from Poland. I have been living in Finland for 5 years. I moved here because I found peace and an environment to fulfill my soul needs, and a wonderful person which makes me want to stay here permanently. I love to be out in the nature admiring its’ beauty and picking what it is giving to us, mushrooms, berries, herbs and a lot of different pieces of wood.
I graduated from the IWG (International Wilderness Guide) course in Kuru, Finland in 2020. This is my fourth season for Upitrek and so far I’ve been guiding snowshoeing, skiing, fatbike and multiactivities.
As a tour leader I like to share with people my experience and knowledge about Finland. I like mostly snowshoeing in the forest, while I can talk about nature and look at the wildlife activities on our way.
I speak fluently in Polish and English. Finnish is my third language which I am using everyday in my life now, but as the most difficult language in the world I know that I still need to put in a lot of effort to master it 🙂
I’m Ruben, a Belgian (Dutch speaking) guide who has lost his heart to the North. After studying biology my sense for adventure led me to Finland, where I studied to become a wilderness guide. During the course I was a trainee for Upitrek and it immediately felt like a good fit. Upitrek focuses on small-scale, sustainable and authentic tourism, far away from the masses, which is just how I like it. This is my fourth winter season for Upitrek and I am sure that there are many more to come.
For me, the interaction with the participants makes every trip truly unique. The shared laughter, awe for new experiences and seeing a group of strangers become friends always fill me with joy. It is why I love this job, together with the fact that I love to be active outdoors! For me, a guide is not someone that only leads safely an activity. It is someone that makes sure that you explore a new country in an authentic way, learning about nature, culture and history along the way. I guide either in English or Dutch. I already look forward to meet all of you!
I’m Maria, a wilderness guide who was born and raised in Eastern Finland. I have been working as a wilderness guide for several years in the north and the east of Finland. Last time I worked at Upitrek in 2019. After that I headed to Lapland but now I’m making a comeback.
During the winter season I love roaming outdoors and doing different kind of sports: cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, freeriding, ice climbing, icefishing etc. Finnish nature and especially the east of Finland will always have a special place in my heart. I want to show Finnish nature and its beauty to our visitors and make everyone fall in love with it, just like I did.
I’ll end this introduction with an old Finnish proverb “Lyhyestä virsi kaunis” which means “The short hymn is beautiful”. But don’t worry, I have a lot of stories to tell when we meet!
Having grown up in the midst of the forests and marshes of Northeastern Finland, Anna-Maria feels at home in the woods and in nature overall. The calming and grounding effect of nature is one concrete reason why she studied to become a wilderness and nature guide. As someone who values physical activity, any kind of movement in nature is close to her heart.
Anna-Maria completed a training period with Upitrek in the spring of 2023 and was captivated by the personal touch of the facilities and programs offered by Upitrek, a touch that stands far apart from mass tourism. This is Anna-Maria’s first season as an employee at Upitrek, nearly in her home region, and she is delighted to share the uniqueness of these surroundings with those who come from afar. In addition to her role as a wilderness guide, Anna-Maria also works as an organist and cantor in Hämeenlinna.
Petri is currently the guide with the longest history with Upitrek groups having guided them for more than 15 years. Over the years Petri has led a wide range of activities in both summer and winter and many happy customers have returned for “another tour with Petri”.
Petri loves to tell stories about Finnish culture, traditions, nature and life in the north. If you do a tour with him you will definitely find out about ”Sisu, sauna and Sibelius” – the three Finnish symbols.
Hello, I’m Juho Pohjantuli. Currently, I am studying at the University of Turku in southern Finland, but my heart belongs to the forests of Suomussalmi and Kuusamo in the north. I’ve been hiking, skiing and canoeing these areas for two decades, starting from my childhood. Additionally, I’ve been a boy scout for 13 years.
In 2022, I had the opportunity to guide a memorable Upitrek trip, which left a burning love for guiding trips in the area. I guide in English but I also know a little bit of German and Swedish. I throughly enjoy introducing people to the wonders of Finnish nature, sharing all that I’ve come to know, and, in turn, discovering their unique experiences. I could say there is nothing better than a meal with new, wonderful people, after a skiing day in the beautiful nature! Can’t wait to see you!
Hi, I’m Maarit. I am a trained tour guide and have done various guiding jobs for over twenty years. I started with Upitrek at the beginning of 2020.
Winter tourism is my specialty and I enjoy everything that can be done in winter, e.g. skiing, snowshoeing, skating on natural ice, camping and winter fishing (with nets). Meeting people is the best part of being a guide. I have had great experiences in quiet forests and pure nature. I want to offer this experience to you too.
English is my strongest language, but I understand and have conversational German, Swedish and Spanish. In all my activities, safety is always the number one priority. Welcome to experience the wonder and uniqueness of the winter landscape with me!
We hope you enjoy your time with us!