Jouni Laaksonen 26.3.2018
In Finland we have this thing called ‘Skiing holiday’. Every year children in Southern Finland have week 8 free from school. Week 9 it’s the children of Central Finland, and week 10 children of Northern Finland. In many families also the parents use a week of their yearly holidays for this ‘skiing holiday’. Or probably the more correct term is nowadays ‘winter holiday’, but as ‘skiing holiday’ this week was originally launched, and thus it was called for decades.
Of course you may do whatever you wish during your winter holiday, but personally I think the best option is to ski. 🙂 That’s what we have done in our family for many years now that we have children.
This is how we like to do it:
1. We rent a cottage with luxuries from one of the northern ski centers. In our family’s taste the cottage has to be near interesting ski cross-country tracks, and preferably not very near the hubbub of the downhill slopes.
This is the cottage we spent this year’s skiing holiday, in Raattama village just beside Pallas-Yllästunturi NP. Large cottage with room for something like 8 persons, fully equipped kitchen, toilet, sauna, shower, floor heating. Nice and cozy.
2. What is an interesting ski track in our opinion? In one word: beautiful. In more words: A ski track that winds mostly through old-growth forests and/or fell landscape. Bogs and lakes are welcome, too. A national park is definitively bonus. And there should be nice lean-tos, Lapp pole tents or wilderness huts along the trail – and in Northern Finland there always is.
3. We ski short distances with our daughters, to the nearest lean-to for example. We make fire and prepare our lunch by it. Older of them skis of course herself, younger skis part of the journey and rides the rest in the sledge I am pulling.
The typical way. Our 3-year-old skis at first by herself. Our 11-year-old naturally skis all the way. But after maybe half a kilometer the 3-year-old wants to climb into the sledge I am pulling. We pack her under a down jacket, or inside a sleeping bag, where she is warm and happy. On our way to Mustavaara wilderness hut, see a map.
4. We parents ski one at a time longer and faster loops. Parent A stays with the children near the cabin and parent B enjoys the freedom of skiing just as fast (or slowly) as he/she chooses, for many hours. In extremely beautiful landscape. Parent A makes sure the sauna is heated for B when she/he returns.
And that’s it, combined with good food, good books and maybe some television shows. Nothing more is needed, total relaxing.
Many great destinations
I wrote about this kind of ski hiking, as opposed to skiing for sports already in December. However, as springwinter (March and April) is the absolutely best time for skiing holidays, I had to write again. We just came back home from Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, where we enjoyed the ski tracks and scenery along them immensely. As we did last year in Saariselkä – Kiilopää area, and the year before in Sallatunturi, and so on.
Trying to learn how to embed Google Maps here into blog posts. I like other maps (like Excursionmap and MapSite that I have often linked here in my posts) much more than Google Maps (because they have accurate topographic maps, and paths, campfire sites etc., which G Maps do not have). But Google Map allows embedding and that seems like a useful tool in showing at a glance where the destinations are I’m speaking of.
This year we had sunshine almost every day. I just loved the loop from our cabin up to Nammalakuru and Montelli wilderness huts and back. These huts are up in the treeless Pallastunturi fells, and our rental cabin was situated down in the forest zone. Also skiing to Hannukuru wilderness hut and back was great, as well as Kukastunturi-Tahkokuru loop from Äkäslompolo village, in Ylläs area.
The fells are so stunning both when you are down and look up to them, and when you are up on top of the fells and look at the all-white landscape. Upper pic: ski track at Raattama, lower pic, ski track from Nammalakuru hut to Montelli hut.
My biggest love is to hike deep into the heart of a large a wilderness, equipped with everything I need during a week or two. But I must say skiing in the enchanting tracks of Lapland’s ski resorts is a very good substitute.
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Now that Google Maps popped up, next week I think I’ll concentrate more on maps. Finnish free internet maps, Google Maps, maybe also Norwegian internet map and others.
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