21.4.2021 Jouni Laaksonen
I’m sorry I’ve been quiet here in my blog lately. I’ve been busy with my new book, and I’ve been winter hiking a lot. (The book is in Finnish, it’s called Vaellustarinoita – Askeleita luontoon, and it will be published in June. I’ll tell more about it when it’s been published.) Here’s a brief summary of my winter 2021:
In December we skied in Pyhä-Luosto National park with my family. We rented a cottage and skied mostly on the beautiful ski tracks of the National Park. However, we also slept one night in our kota tent, which can be warmed up by a wood oven.
The winter was mostly cloudy until one morning in January, when the sky was blue! We spent that day skiing in a nearby protected bog area, Mustinsuo, with my wife. South-side horizon was bright yellow due to the low hanging sun, there was some -25°C, and every needle of every branch of every tree was so covered with snow. Absolutely wonderful!
I was able to enjoy the same kind of beautiful (and cold) weather in Ylläs, Lapland, with my friend Markus later in January. See pics in this post.
In February we skied with my friends in Elimyssalo protected area and slept in my kota tent. There’s a post about this trip here.
Later in February we headed with two friends to Pulju Wilderness Area, in Lapland. This time the sky was heavily cloudy all the time, it was coldish, around -20°C, and there was 20 cm snowfall during our trek. It was quite heavy work to ski and pull your sledge, because the cold new snow had a lot of friction, not to mention that our skis and sledges naturally sank quite deep. I got many shadowless black and white photos out of that hike. 🙂
In March in Finland there is a week long school holiday. We always spend that week skiing, as I tell here and here. This time we rented a cottage from Paljakka and skied along Paljakka and Ukkohalla ski tracks.
At the end of March I headed again to Lapland. We skied with my two friends across Vätsäri Wilderness Area and Lake Inarijärvi. The temperature was exceptionally warm for March, it was above 0°C day and night. That meant the snow was totally wet and out skis sank all the way to the ground. We had to stick to snow mobile routes. Well, nature is big and human is small: you take what you get, and the trick is not to complain, but to enjoy in every kind of weather. And that we did, we had good time together.
After that warm spell the nightly frosts returned, which meant the snow cover got a hard crust. In April it has been super easy to ski wherever you want. Across the bogs and forests, up to fells, wherever. I’ve skied rather a lot here at home, Kuhmo. Sometimes alone, sometimes with my wife, sometimes with my wife and daughters. Sometimes with long and wide skis (metsäsukset, 270 cm long, 7 cm wide), sometimes with two meters long and 5 cm wide touring skis, sometimes with normal cross-country skis. It is such fun to ski on a hard crust (hankikanto)!
Right now the snow cover is rather thin here in Kuhmo, but there’s plenty of snow in Lapland. I hope I can do one more winter hike this spring, in May in Käsivarsi Wilderness Area, Lapland.
Happy skiing to anyone living so north or high there is still snow this winter! And happy walking, rambling, hiking, trekking, or canoeing, mountain biking, whatever, to anyone living where there isn’t snow! Let’s enjoy the great outdoors!
6 thoughts on “My winter 2021”
Do you have a list of the gears you carry ?
Hi! Yes, I have a gear list, but so far only in Finnish. I just returned from another winter hike and there’s plenty to do right now. But once I find time I’ll translate the list and make a new blog post about winter equipment. So, I’ll be back on this!
Dear Fab/BR, I hope you get a notification: I now added a gear list for winter hiking here on my blog. See https://scricfinia.wordpress.com/2022/03/31/gear-list-for-winter-hiking/
Thanks a lot. That’s very kind of you.
I have a question aboiut the skis. I made a hike a few weeks ago in the UKK parc and my wife rented OAC skin based ski with their Sorel boots. She found it was very hard to ski with that gears on the iced packed snow in the tunturi hills. Do you think that the so called forest ski and ski boots could be better. https://rentle.store/rolloutdoors/l/rolloutdoorskiilopaa/product/sVhG6XTlNcj8Xq0o7muB https://rentle.store/rolloutdoors/l/rolloutdoorskiilopaa/product/ssN1nO347mEG3b0ddrir
I am a great fan of long and wide (like 280 cm long, 7 cm wide) forest skis, but they are not the best option for iced, hard-packed snow on treeless slopes. The best skis for those conditions are what we call tunturisukset in Finnish:
From now on this winter these tunturisukset (about 200 cm long, about 5 cm wide, with waist) are probably a good choice everywhere in Urho Kekkonen NP. In **forest** there may be some soft snow on top layer, and forest skis may be a little bit better than tunturisukset, but I believe there is a hard crust underneath as there have been warm periods already. So tunturisukset won’t sink too deep (as they do approximately from December to February). And in **treeless fells** tunturisukset with their steel edges are the best.
OAC skin based skis are usually not my first choice, but in many conditions they are rather good and fun skis. But you are right: on iced, hard-packed slopes the combination of very wide skis and not very sturdy bindings is not very good.