A Week of Umpihankihiitoa* in Lemmenjoki National Park

*Finnish for Nordic off-track skiing. Explore Finland's largest national park on skis, traversing through the forests from each wilderness hut to the next. 5 days off work.

  • Finland
  • February, March, December
  • Ivalo Airport, Ivalo (IVL)

Travel on skis through the North Finnish wilderness as you discover the magical boreal forests, ice lakes and frozen waterfalls. The mid-point of this trip will even see you climb to the highest fell in the National Park before relaxing in a remote sauna. If that’s not enough, you can even feed and herd the local reindeer. The winter adventure includes:

  • 6 days of Nordic off-track ski travel
  • 7 nights of accommodation
  • All meals, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Local professional, English-speaking ski guide
  • Airport transfers
  • Traditional nordic fell skis*
  • Camping gear (tent, sleeping back and sleeping mat)
  • Sled and backpacks
  • Cooking equipment
    *Boots not provided but available to hire locally. See ‘what to pack’.

You may also be interested in a slightly tougher Nordic expedition to summit Haiti fell, flying into Tromso. Check it out

Perfect for

This trip is suitable for trekkers and hikers who are fit and have some experience skiing. Some past skiing or cross-country skiing experience is required as you will be in remote regions travelling on skis for 7 days. While there are downhill periods to look forward to, the decline is gradual, with no steep or technical sections.

You need to have a good level of fitness to ski between 5 to 17km, for an average of 4-6 hours per day. The terrain is fairly easy for the most part, and there are no big ups or downs, except for the fell climb to Morgam Viibus which you will do on snowshoes. Note that the route may change any time according to the guide’s decision.

Need To Know

The following are not included in the tour price:

  • Flights to/from Ivalo
  • Travel insurance
  • Snacks, drinks and personal expenses
  • Tips for your guides (optional)

This trip will run with a minimum of 1 person, and a maximum of 8.

Sure can! A lot of people do, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Much Better Adventures are very social in nature and we’ve seen lots of new friendships born out of them. Expect a mix of solo travelers and very small groups of 2 or 3, all with a shared appreciation of escaping the city for the great outdoors to try something new and meet new people.

In the accommodation at Ahkun Tupa, you will have dinners and breakfasts prepared. Whilst you’re on the tour, lunch is typically a dehydrated menu, prepared by adding water and dinners will be prepared by the guide in the huts’ simple kitchens.

Absolutely! Just let us know at booking.

This tour can be organised from January to late March. In January, when the days are short, the temperatures can drop below -40°C but with the spring, they start increasing slowly and the days get longer.

In March, temperatures will vary from -5°C to -25°C, but can occasionally drop lower. There is much more variation in the day and night temperatures for the later trips.

Your guide suggests that you bring:

  • Boots with universal binding* (can also be rent for €40)
  • Technical underwear
  • Mid-layers
  • Shell-layers (windproof without lining): jacket, long shell pants
  • Skiing mittens
  • Hat
  • Wool balaclava
  • Sunglasses/skiing goggles
  • Winter boots/warm hiking boots
  • Backpack
  • Torch
  • Small Towel
  • Personal Medication
  • A good drinking thermos of about 1 liter capacity

*Available to rent locally for an additional 50 euros price (paid locally). Please confirm this in advance to ensure they are available.

Your guide will provide:

  • Skis
  • Poles
  • Bindings
  • Sleeping bags, liners, and closed cell mattresses
  • Eating utensils
  • Shovels
  • Food thermoses (for lunch during the tour)
  • Tents (this is safety precaution for sudden blizzards)
  • Pulkkas (sleds, there is one shared by two people, so you can take turns dragging it)

You will be doing Umpihankihiitoa which is a form of Finnish nordic off-track skiing for travelling over wilderness terrain in winter. A cross between cross-country skiing and ski touring, it involves uphill and downhill travel, away from the ski resorts.

Yes, of course. We work with some of the best leaders in the industry.

Your guide is of course a certified wilderness guide but in conjunction to this, he holds certificates in: advanced first aid (Finnish FA2), advanced remote emergency care (British REC2), hunter’s license, travel industry worker’s safety passport (MATUPA), food hygiene as well as being an expert in the evaluation process of future wilderness guides.

We think you’re in safe hands.

We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here.

Location

View map

Lemmenjoki National park is situated in Lapland, Northern Finland, and is one of the largest national parks in Europe at 2,850 square kilometres. The river valley is surrounded by forest wilderness and rugged fells. One of the highlights of the area is the 10m Ravadasköngäs Waterfall, formed from the glacial melt.

Start point?
You will be met at the Ivalo airport where you will be transported to Ahkun Tupa, a camping area on the shore of the river Lemmenjoki. Your transfer will meet all flights scheduled to land at 18:00 or earlier.

Finish point?
Your tour will end in Ahkun Tupa, where you will be transferred back to the Ivalo airport. You are free to book any flight departing after 13:00.

Your host will be in touch before the trip to finalise details.

Getting there and away?
Ivalo Airport (IVL) is served by international flights and connections from Helsinki. You can get any flights that suit you, but please note that your guide can only organise one airport transfer per group due to the remoteness of the location.

You can use also Rovaniemi or Kittilä airport, where there are more arrivals coming, and take a bus connection to Ivalo.

If you would rather take the train, it is possible to travel from Helsinki to Rovaniemi or Kemijärvi and then catch a bus to Ivalo, but this may require an extra day for travelling.

For extra financial protection against unforeseen circumstances such as erupting Icelandic volcanoes, we recommend you book your flights using a credit card.

What to Expect

Saturday: Arrival at Ahkun Tupa

Upon arriving at the Ivalo airport, your guide will pick you up at 18:00 and take you to the Ahkun Tu[pa camping area.

You’ll also have the opportunity to buy some final snacks for the week before you arrive - once you arrive, you’ll be taken away from the perks of civilization.

Once you’ve checked in to the log cabins, get to know your team and go through your gear for the week.

Enjoy a relaxing dinner and maybe even a trip to the lodge’s sauna.

Sunday: Ahkun Tupa - Hirvikoski rental hut

Fill up on a hearty breakfast at Ahkun Tupa before you set off on the ski tour towards the frozen river of Lemmenjoki.

You will have lunch from the food thermoses provided en route, as you continue towards the wilderness hut. The whole day will be spent on flat river-ice, but the distance you’re travelling can be quite tough at first on backcountry skis.

Your first night will be spent in the simple Finnish Hirvikoski rental hut. There’s no electric, but your guide will prepare you a dinner cooked on the wood-burning stove, with drinking water from the snow.

17km of skiing

Monday: Hirvikoski - Morgam-Viibus fell - Kota hut

Continue your ski tour following the next 5km to the traditional Finnish Kota at the root of the Morgam-Viibus fell, the highest in the area.

Here, you’ll leave most of your gear behind and don your snowshoes for the climb to the peak. While the climb is hard work, the views will definitely be worth it. On a clear day, you can see hundreds of kilometres into the untouched wilderness.

Once you’ve taken in the views, head back down to the hut where you will spend the evening sitting around the fire and relaxing in this remote bliss.

12km of skiing, 500m of ascent

Tuesday: Kota - Morgamojan Kultala hut

Today it’s only a short ski over 5km to the Morgamojan Kultala, but the journey will be on softer snow and see you ascend about 200m.

The Morgamojan Kultala hut will be a welcome mid-point for this trip, with its sauna located in the middle of the wilderness.

You will also start preparing the quinzees by making a nice, big pile of snow. If you are lucky, you may even see the Northern Lights…

5km of skiing, 200m ascent

Wednesday: Exploring the fells

For the most part, you will stay in the area surrounding the Morgamojan Kultala hut, hollowing out the quinzees and skiing to near-by fells.

Enjoy the sauna and if you want, you can even sleep in your quinzee! While this is not mandatory, it is the perfect opportunity to live the wilderness lifestyle.

Thursday: Morgamojan Kultala hut - Hirvikoski

Your penultimate day of skiing will see you skiing through the unmarked trails in the powder snow, on your way back to Hirvikoski.

Your guide will teach you various wilderness skills along the way as well as the unique nature of the area.

It will be a hard day of skiing, but the effort is well worth it as you reach the magnificent frozen Ravadasköngäs waterfalls.

13km of skiing

Friday: Hirvikoski - Ahkun Tupa

Finally, you will begin the slow move back to civilisation, following the snowmobile tracks back to Ahkun Tupa.

Once you get back to base camp, you can enjoy a farewell dinner with your team and even swing by the sauna for a final relax after some heavy ski touring. Finish your evening petting, feeding and even herding the reindeer before a well-deserved sleep.

17km of skiing

Saturday: Transfer back to the airport

Enjoy breakfast at Ahkun Tupa before saying farewells to your guide and hopping on the transport back to the airport. On the way home, you’ll be able to stop by the Ivalo shop and pick up some souvenirs from your backcountry adventure.

Accommodation

All accommodation along the trip is simple wilderness huts with no electricity. These will have basic amenities but you will sleep in sleeping bags in the huts. You will also have the chance to sleep in a tent for a night if you wish and one day, you will sleep in a quinzee (a sort of igloo).

At the beginning and end of the trip, you will stay in the Ahkun Tupa, a local camping lodge operated by a local Sami family. These log cabins will have electricity, in-house toilets and shows, as well as a shared sauna, restaurant and a bar. In the yard, you can also meet some of the family’s reindeer.

Please note that since this is a remote wilderness tour, some changes to the itinerary are possible on the location due to weather and similar reasons. Therefore you will carry tents, sleeping bags and sleeping mattresses as a safety precaution.

Dates & Prices

Prices include

  • Accommodation
  • Airport Transfers
  • Equipment
  • Guide
  • Meals As Described

Please note: Flights are NOT included and must be purchased separately.

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Your host will confirm your booking subject to availability. There may be a minimum number of guests required to guarantee that a trip will go ahead.

Large group? Make a private booking
Special requirements? Get a quote for a custom trip

If you can't find a private trip that suits you, try a group trip or ask for a quote.


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