Cross-country skiing holiday in Finland, Russian border

“Not for absolute novice skiers, this cross-country adventure takes you right along the Russian border through forests, lakes and swamps - a real wilderness venture.”


Hossa National Park | Jatkonsalmi | Local reindeer farm | Rajakartano | Kovavaara | Arola | Martinselkonen Wilderness Centre | Martinselkonen Nature Reserve | Daily saunas | Cross-country skiiing | Home-cooked traditional food | Ice swimming

Description of Cross-country skiing holiday in Finland, Russian border

This week long fully guided, cross country skiing holiday in Finland takes you up to the far reaches of NE Finland, by the Russian border. Following an established cross country trail that follows the border, we stay in wilderness huts and private guesthouses along the way, enabling us to get up in the morning and straight out into pristine snow covered forest, across stunning frozen lakes and through crispy white wetland. You will hardly meet another skier along the way, although we will keep an eye out for animals that enjoy these habitats, seeking out wolverine and elk tracks along the way. With luck, you will also have a chance to see the Aurora Borealis but, even if the lights don’t appear, the night skies here are still a wonderful addition to the winter wilderness experience.

Our hiking hut accommodations are warm and cosy, totally kitted out for Finnish winters including the all important sauna to warm us up in the evenings, which you will welcome after a day of cross country skiing. On average we ski for five to seven hours every day, so some cross country skiing experience is required with a good level of fitness to make the most of this holiday. We travel with a small group, maximum twelve people during the months of February and March to allow for top cross country skiing conditions. We also run trips for very experienced skiers, with more kilometers per day out on the trails. Please just ask for more information on this trip.

Travel Team

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20 Feb 2022
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06 Mar 2022
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13 Mar 2022
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20 Mar 2022
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27 Mar 2022
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Our top tip:
Remeber to stretch properly at the end of each day.
Trip type:
Small group. Max. 12 skiers.
Activity level:
Moderate. Average distance 20km daily.
6 nights local hotel.
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms only available at some hotels for a surcharge.
Full board.
Accommodation, meals, transfers, luggage transport, guide, daily sauna.
Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Travelling from place to place on skies is very eco-friendly. The carbon dioxide emission arising from passenger and service transport for each client during the skiing tour is four kilograms per day. For comparison, this amounts to what is caused by a thirty-kilometre tour in a normal passenger car.

The volume of waste is minimised by avoiding the use of unnecessary packaging material. The use of disposable plates and cups is also avoided. During the tour, all paper and cardboard packaging waste is burned. Easily decomposing garbage, such as coffee grounds and used tea bags, are composted or disposed of by means of "distributed composting". All other waste is taken back from the tour or trip. Back at the base, the waste is classified and recycled as far as possible.

A well-balanced connection with nature is the foundation of all our operations. Thus considering the environment constitutes an essential part of our business philosophy and is also of utmost importance to the success of the whole operation. The basic business idea of our company is to offer the tourist a range of products which are in concordance with Finnish nature. The products are specially designed to fuse into a harmonious whole with nature, special attention being paid to the immediate environment in which the activities take place.

We encourage our clients to show consideration for the environment: the visitors are offered a chance to take part in activities contributing to sustainable development. The adequacy of environmental activities is regularly assessed by means of collecting customer feedback and studying key parameters.

The Impacts of this Trip

On this trip you will visit the local companies and will enjoy their services. For example on day 4 you will arrive to Arola where you will be welcomed by Helena and Eero, the couple who are running this authentic place. You can here the stories from the war time and how they changed the farming into small tourism business some years ago. Helena´s cooking, where everything is local, fish from the river, elk from the forest, vegetables from the garden, berries from the forest, brings the local food culture live.

By participating the trip you help Helena and Eero and their children and grandchildren to live their lives in this remote area.

Our company does not own any hotel, restaurant or buses for transportation. We buy all these services from the local operators. Also the guides of our tours are locals for as much as possible. So the money which we get from the clients goes for 70% for the local companies in the area and the guides.

In our purchases, we are committed to preferring durable, locally produced, high-quality products. Disposable products are avoided as far as possible. Ecologically sound products are acquired whenever possible. When selecting co-operation partners, preference is given to those having an environmental policy. In addition, subcontractors are informed of the firm's purchases policy.


19 Reviews of Cross-country skiing holiday in Finland, Russian border

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 09 Mar 2020 by

A good break with a great bunch of people and led by an excellent guide who had a wealth of information and worked really hard to keep us comfortable Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Mar 2020 by

Very very good....All the Nordic skiing in beautiful scenery. Great fellow travellers and a lovely guide. Read full review

Reviewed on 11 Apr 2018 by

The most memorable moment was the people. Read full review

Reviewed on 08 Apr 2018 by

Lunches around campfire, homemade pizza made by our guide in the wilderness cabin, discovering animal tracks in the snow, fabulous porridge and traditional Easter pudding "Mammi" and other Easter treats arranged by our guide Kimmo. Read full review

Reviewed on 03 Apr 2018 by

I can't decide which was my most memorable moment. I could say the ski along the border, the lunch breaks around the fire as well. For me the travel was very nice. Amazing food and excellent location all long the trip, very nice people (guides and others), breathe-taking landscapes. Read full review

Reviewed on 25 Mar 2018 by

There were several memorable moments including: -a day skiing on fresh snow through snow-covered pine trees on gently rolling terrain-jumping into a hole cut into the ice of a frozen lake after a sauna-daily saunas-a display of the Northern Lights. Read full review

Reviewed on 24 Mar 2018 by

The highlight was the quietness when skiing in this wild environment and having a warm lunch waiting for us. Read full review

Reviewed on 13 Mar 2018 by

The bliss of gliding along in pure, winter wilderness far from the madding crowd of downhill slopes or groomed trails. The abundance of wildlife tracks and changing scenery and with an additional bonus of an interesting group of 8 different nationalities made for a stimulating day every day. Read full review

Reviewed on 21 Mar 2018 by

Just being in that unique landscape of magical winter beauty, snow, frozen lakes and the trees in their winter clothes. Peace, tranquillity, time and space to absorb the wilderness while gently traversing on skiis. And then the Northern Lights were switched on... Read full review

Reviewed on 27 Feb 2018 by

Staying at Helena's homestay where she greeted us so warmly, served us sumptuous feasts for dinner & breakfast & told us stories, at turns poignant and powerful, from life on the Russian border during & after the war. It was riveting to listen to her & a real eye-opener, prompting me to look up more about the history of the area and the people living on both sides of the frontier. Read full review

Reviewed on 27 Feb 2017 by

I really enjoyed the total immersion in the beautiful Finnish wilderness and the ability to enjoy it's peace on your own, at your own pace, whilst also knowing you had a great team to catch up with. The locations and cabins were just stunning. Top notch. A genuine adventure and great fun. Read full review

Reviewed on 06 Mar 2017 by

The most exciting moment was after several days of grey skies we were sitting down to our evening meal at the unserviced Kovavaara lodge when the sky cleared and we caught a display of the Northern Lights unaffected by any artificial lights. We had a nice balance of different nationalities which added to the enjoyment. Read full review

Reviewed on 26 Feb 2017 by

The most memorable was finding fresh foot prints in the snow made by a passing wolverine! A great way to explore this remote part of Finland. Read full review

Reviewed on 03 Apr 2016 by

Just fantastic all the way. Great forests, lakes, paths, nature; delicious food; relaxing sauna; great people; great company. Read full review

Reviewed on 29 Mar 2016 by

Really enjoyable holiday. All the people we met were friendly, hospitable and easy-going. Read full review

Reviewed on 11 Mar 2015 by

Staying in a log house without electricity or running water, surrounded by a snowy, silent landscape & enjoying a sauna after a day skiing across frozen lakes, over bogs and through forests. Read full review

Reviewed on 02 Apr 2014 by

The most memorable part of the holiday was the professional organisation & friendly & welcoming people at the places we stayed at. Read full review

Reviewed on 27 Mar 2014 by

The most memorable part was each day -- Skiing (47 KM on the longest day) under sunny, blue skies with beautiful scenery, fun people and a supportive, helpful guide, eating lunch by the fire, seeing the Russian border and animal tracks, then having a well deserved sauna and delicious meal. Read full review

Reviewed on 04 Apr 2012 by

As if in a 3-D Christmas postcard that goes on for miles and miles and miles. Read full review

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