Skiing in May

Jouni Laaksonen 18.5.2021

I’ve been very fortunate this winter, for I’ve had plenty of opportunities for winter hiking, that is ski touring. I just returned home from the last trip. Most of Finland has been green and without snow for a while already, but the North-Westernmost corner, Käsivarsi Wilderness Area, has still a thick snow cover. That’s where we did a week long ski tour with my friend. This was one of the best hikes in all my life, nothing less.

The first day was totally cloudy and there was some snowfall also. Navigating in complete whiteout is, well, let’s say interesting. We could have used GPS, but we preferred to navigate with map and compass. It’s good to keep up your navigating skills – and when you succeed in finding your destination, the feeling is great. 🙂
The weather forecast had predicted even worse weather for the next day, but fortunately the meteorologists were wrong. The few clouds sailed high today, and there was plenty of sunshine also. There was about one meter of snow, hard-packed snow on which it was easy to ski.
We slept in our tent…
…and some nights in wilderness huts. This one is Porojärvi wilderness hut.
The next day was again complete whiteout, which only emphasized our luck during the last three days.

A wonderful hike, absolutely. Proper amount of challenging conditions and heavenly beauty.

* * *

During my journey home I once again found myself being awestruck by the length of Finland in May. Wednesday morning I woke up at Saarijärvi wilderness hut. It was a couple of degrees below zero (Celsius).

Wednesday morning.

We skied in good weather to Kilpisjärvi, where my car was waiting. At Kilpisjärvi it was a couple of degrees above zero. When I left my friend to his home at Ylläs, it was +12°C. After Rovaniemi the car thermometer said it was +25°C outside.

I live in Kuhmo, about half way between Finland’s southern and northern end. The next day, Thursday, was a hot day in Kuhmo. We did our first paddling trip this summer, and then we walked to a deserted beach. All the rest of my family swam, but I myself prefer to spare that pleasure until July… 🙂

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