UKK National Park Skiing Expedition
This week long ski expedition is for those who want to challenge themselves as well as take the opportunity to step away from the stress of everyday life and its constant white noise. The route we take goes through the vast, spectacular Urho Kekkonen National Park in eastern Lapland. We start our guided tour from Kemihaara, and finish at Kiilopää fell centre. You get a chance to ski cross country through forests and swamps and on the snow-covered fells, whilst pulling your own sledge. Most nights are spent in basic but warm and comfortable wilderness huts, two of which have a sauna. Getting off the beaten track means you also get to experience the wilderness lifestyle and help in the preparing of meals and heating the cabins. One of the highlights of the tour is the climb to the peak of Sokosti, where, on a clear day, you can see for miles and admire the spectacular snow-covered vista that greets you.
To join this tour you need to be in a good physical condition, as well as experienced and proficient in cross-country skiing. As you will be pulling your own laden sledge, this makes even the small inclines far more demanding, so a certain amount of strength is necessary. Plus, the more powder snow there is, the slower and more strenuous the skiing is. It is advisable to have some prior experience of trekking in cold conditions.
- Ski off the beaten track through the Urho Kekkonen national park, 200 km north of the Arctic Circle
- Take in and admire the stunning vistas of the vast snow-capped fell
- Partake in a true expedition experience by overnighting in basic wilderness huts and tents
- Unwind and relax in a sauna – a luxury in the wilderness
- Climb to the top of Sokosti, the highest peak of the national park at 718 m (weather permitting)
Season Feb 1-Apr 5
Departures On request
Duration 9 days / 8 nights
Joining point Kuusamo airport
Price From 1650 €/person
Included in the price
Days 1 and 8 in rooms or cabins for 2–4 persons with shared facilities
Days 2–7 in wilderness cabins and at least 1 night in tent
- 8 x breakfast, 7 x lunch, 8 x dinner
- Services of the English speaking skiing guide
- Single-timed minibus transfers from Kuusamo airport and to Ivalo airport
- Evening sauna on days 1, 3, 5, 6 and 8
- Sledge for each participant
- Ski equipment (skis, poles, winter boots)
- Snowshoes and poles
- Camping gear (sleeping bags, mattresses)
- Pre-tour night in Kuusamo
Day 1: Arrival
Arrive at Kuusamo airport and group transfer (3 hours) to Savukoski where we will accommodate for the first night. In the evening we prepare and pack our sledges with food supplies and camping gear, so we are ready to get on our way first thing the next morning.
Day 2: Off to wilderness and Härkävaara, 15 km
After breakfast we take a 1,5-hour transfer to Kemihaara, which is the starting point of our expedition. The terrain is pretty flat – mostly on swamps and following small rivers – this gives us a fairly easy start and warm up to the week. In the afternoon we set up camp and spend the night in tents. Cocooned in extra thick sleeping bags, we will stay warm, no matter what the temperature is outside.
Day 3: Härkävaara–Tahvontupa, 17 km
This will be one of the most strenuous days of the tour. More than likely, there won’t be any tracks made by other skiers or snowmobiles to follow, so we have to make our own tracks through the snow. For the first few kilometres there is a slow incline following small rivers and swamps. In the afternoon, there is a nice downhill section to the river Jauru, which is our guide to the small Tahvontupa cabin. In the evening we can relax tired muscles in a sauna – which feels like luxury in the wilderness!
Day 4: Tahvontupa–Hammaskuru, 22 km
For the beginning of this long day we will ski alongside the river Jauru following it upstream until we reach the big open swamp, Repoaapa. From there, we head north towards Hammaskuru cabin. On the first two days we haven’t really seen open fells but this afternoon we will be surrounded by magnificent fell scenery.
Day 5: Hammaskuru–Luiro, 16km
After a long day yesterday, we have less kilometres to ski today. On this part of the trek, we will most probably find some ski or snowmobile tracks to follow which means an easier and faster ski. The highest peak of the national park, Sokosti, is on our right as we ski towards Luiro cabins, which are a kind of “hub” in UKK park. We stay the next two nights in the Luiro “Hilton” – the largest cabin in the area. In the evening you can relax, take a sauna and reflect with your campmates or other skiers on your days and experiences so far.
Day 6: Day trip in Luiro
Today, if the weather allows, we can climb to Sokosti (718 m), the highest peak in eastern Lapland. The ascent is steep but the view from the top definitely rewards your efforts! We can ski until the treeline and then walk the steepest section to the peak using snowshoes. If the weather is bad, for example, if it snows or there are strong winds, we will take an alternative day tour at lower altitudes.
In case we haven’t been able to do the planned stages on earlier days, we have this day in reserve to reach Luiro.
Day 7: Luiro–Suomunruoktu, 23 km
A long day takes us above the treeline where the only vegetation are stunted birches. We can enjoy some long downhills but there are also steep ascents where it is easiest to take off the skiing equipment and climb up, either on snowshoes or without. (If the snow cover is hard enough.) We will stop for lunch at the halfway point in Tuiskukuru hut. In the afternoon, we reach Suomunruoktu cabin where we carry out the post-skiing tasks we have become proficient in.
Day 8: Suomunruoktu–Kiilopää, 15 km
Our last skiing day is different again. The first few kilometres follow the river valley and then we head up to the open fells of Niilanpää and Kiilopää. We are surrounded by miles of snowy landscapes! The last few kilometres will be on a maintained ski track – a relaxing end to our expedition and arrival at Kiilopää fell centre. We will celebrate the return to civilization with a hearty dinner in the restaurant!
Day 9: Departure
After breakfast there is a 40-minute transfer to Ivalo airport for your onward flight to Helsinki.
- Some previous experience on cross-country skiing and good fitness are needed to participate in this tour. Participant must also cope with cold weather.
- There is no track, occasionally some snowmobile tracks can appear.
- Finnish forest skis (width approx. 70 mm) are the best choice for this tour. Skis, poles and boots are included in the tour price.
The skiing time is 5–8 hours daily including a lunch break and several shorter breaks. To participate in this tour one should have some previous experience on cross-country skiing and a fair physical condition. You should also be able cope in cold weather conditions.
The route goes in forests, crosses lakes and swamps. There are hilly sections and with sledge some of the uphills are pretty demanding. However, the difficulty depends on a lot about snow conditions – in soft snow pulling a sledge takes lots of energy and skiing is slow, on harder snow conditions less effort is needed.