18 independent reviews for Cross-country skiing holiday in Finland, Russian border

Reviews for Cross-country skiing holiday in Finland, Russian border

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review 11 Apr 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The people

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Check the gear

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good

review 8 Apr 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

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.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Notes covered everything you need to know.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fabulous - our guide went the extra mile in every sense. Super accommodation and food too.

review 3 Apr 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

I can't decide. I could say the ski along the border, the lunch breaks around the fire as well.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be ready to stay with other people from all over the Europe and just have fun. The organisation is perfect and all the trip is really confortable.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I hope.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

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. I would have preferred to ski more (30-40km/day) and maybe a bit faster but I knew already before departure the conditions and it was great anyway.

review 25 Mar 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

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.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

You need to have some experience cross-country skiing including being comfortable doing a herring-bone step; Most of the cabins are road accessible so this is not a wilderness trip (on the other hand we only ran into other people once, on dog sleds!)

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. We visited a reindeer farm and ate dinner in the farm's small restaurant (we were the only guests). A local man created a trail for us and prepared lunches around a fire.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The trip was excellent! The terrain was beautiful, the cabins warm and cozy, and the food very good. It was a treat to take a sauna every night, especially the night when we cut a hole through the ice in a lake and rinsed off by jumping in! Terhi was an excellent leader; friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. We are in our 60's and were joined by our children in their 20s. We could all ski at our own pace and meet together again for lunch and at the cabins.

review 24 Mar 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The quietness when skiing in this wild environment and having a warm lunch waiting for us.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

You must have a good fitness level.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes it gives work to local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Great holiday.

review 13 Mar 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

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.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for very cold weather, especially mornings. Bring lots of layers and extras for lunch breaks. Also, the most fit you can be in preparation for 5-6 hours skiing per day, the more you will enjoy the entire day each day.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, we stayed at simple properties and visited a local reindeer farmer to see his reindeer and for dinner. There was just us on the trails. Asides from two border guards, and our support snowmobile, we were totally alone out there. Just us and our skis.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

What a beautiful trip. It was perfectly executed, from first contact through to our superb and highly professional guides, the hosts at our accommodations, the variety of terrain, the planning and the support offered. This truly is an 'away from it all' peaceful adventure with just your thoughts, your companions, your skis and wildlife tracks. Wonderful!

review 21 Mar 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

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...

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be ready to adapt.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, definite benefits to local people providing services, who seemed to be enjoying their commitment. Our activities were in tune with nature and not opposing it.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A good experience.

review 27 Feb 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

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. Also got a real kick out of seeing the tracks in the snow of foxes, Arctic hare, lynx, wolverine & elk. Sabrina , our guide, was great at pointing them out to us & explaining lots of other features in the landscape. Her genuine interest in and love of the wild really made an impression on me & was, quite simply, infectious. Loved skiing through enchanted forests on the edge of the border zone and across endless frozen lakes--so remote& wild & beautiful.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Layer up! Also, bring extra gloves & proper snug boots.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, definitely & I plan on recommending both this trip & Helena's homestay to friends.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

4/5. Really great-would wholeheartedly recommend this trip. Sabrina, our guide, was wonderful. She has a special gift in combining empathy, and kindness with a wealth of practical skill and wilderness expertise. I got a bug briefly on one day & it was the help she provided that enabled me recover sufficiently to continue. The only downside to the trip was the diet which was predominantly meat-based. I'd been really hoping to have the opportunity along the way to try fresh fish but for some reason this , unfortunately, was not offered to us. While the dinners on the last two nights were disappointingly boring & I was very much wishing for more of Helena's style of cooking, I did appreciate the BBQ lunch at the forest hut & Sabrina's pancake surprise around the fire in the 'yurt' on the final evening.

review 27 Feb 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

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. The best thing about the whole trip was the peace. By Day 3, skiing was a meditation and I simply enjoyed the peace. Absolutely fantastic.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Get fit before you go. Get some experience on cross country ski techniques, especially if you are an alpine skier like me - cross-country is different! Take clothes that you can layer on top for when you stop skiing. Also, take a day to visit Helsinki on the way home - very cool city.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Our trek definitely helped local people - both of our guides were local and most of the accommodations we used were run by local people. By making use of the local facilities like huts and other activity centres, we contributed to the conservation economy and promoted sustainable activities in areas that had seen reductions in other industries.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Top notch. A genuine adventure and great fun.

review 6 Mar 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

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.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Although the skiing is quite straight forward it does need a reasonable level of experience and endurance to avoid feeling left behind especially on Day 3.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The provision of food and accommodation by local people seemed a benefit in winter for local people with very little other economic activity. Helena at Arola bought locally caught Burbot fish for our meal from the fisherman in the village.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This was a very good holiday with excellent organisation and a first class Guide/Leader in Kimmo Kiimalainen. We had a nice balance of different nationalities which added to the enjoyment.

review 26 Feb 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Finding fresh foot prints in the snow made by a passing wolverine!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take plenty of clothes (it really is cold when the wind blows), a good thermos, and a swim suit if you are modest about saunas. In terms of the skiing, the distances are very reasonable for an intermediate skier. The terrain is mainly woodland and lakes, with short ups / downs, but few serious hills. Quality of tracks obviously depends on the recent snow conditions, but mostly good. This is not really a trip for beginners. There is very little tuition, you are expected to know what you are doing from the start.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. All the food & accommodation was provided by small local businesses. The guides & support crew were all local people, who were knowledgeable about the area, and keen to talk about the environment & wildlife and how to protect it.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A great way to explore this remote part of Finland.

review 3 Apr 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Just fantastic all the way. Great forests, lakes, paths, nature; delicious food; relaxing sauna; great people; great company. Being stopped by three border guards on snow scooters was fun. Spending a night at the wonderful Domnan Pirtii made an impression. This holiday had an impact on me.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for some early morning wakes. One of the accommodation was a bit basic.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

A cross country holiday is responsible travel. Finland is a very well developed country so I don't think this question is relevant. I am happy to have had the opportunity to experience Finnish nature and taste the locall cuisine.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I felt at home in the Finnish forrests. Not quite sure why, as it's far from my "natural habitat"... Anyway, I think I will make it a habit, and go back every year.

review 29 Mar 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Lack of people, and miles and miles of skiing through forests, and across swamps and lakes. Bumping into some Finnish border guards was exciting too.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Make sure you're fit enough before you go, so you can enjoy it to the full. Make the most of the Finnish saunas - including the snow rolling!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, could see that it benefited locals by staying in independent guest houses. The guide and skiddoo driver were both careful to follow the code of using the fire pits and huts along the route.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

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

review 11 Mar 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

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.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

All of the accommodation is warm and dry, it is easy to dry damp clothes - don't take too much gear with you. The landscape is not flat - you will be going up and down hills, unless you are an experienced skiier expect to fall over! Bring pain killers and do your stretching exercises.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Eco tourism is a growing business in eastern Finland. Our guide was well informed and took time to pass on information about the areas we were passing through. Accomodation was owned - as far as I know - by our hosts. All the lunch stops were at developed refuges with fire pits, dry toilets etc. The group would have had a minimal impact on the area we were passing through.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This type of holiday was a totally new experience for me. The operator facilitated a ski lesson for me a couple of days before the trip started, they also booked acomodation and organised airport transfers. All in all they looked after me well. I only have one small grouse - there was a change in itinery resulting in us staying in our first accomodation for 2 days and missing out on a chance to visit a reindeer farm and ice swim. These would have been highlights for me.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you very much for your comments Anna. We're sorry you were not informed before the tour about the change of accommodation (2nd night) which was due to organizational reasons. Anyway the visit to the reindeer farm was intended to organize as planned but due to a communication outage you never had a chance to visit the farm. We are happy to hear that otherwise you returned home with good memories.

review 2 Apr 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Professional organisation & friendly & welcoming people at the places we stayed at. A nice feature was to send an email giving all the names of the other people on the holiday & their nationality. A great help when trying to remember people's names.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Check that you can comfortably ski the distances described in the itinerary.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We were supporting people who were committed to looking after their environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


review 27 Mar 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

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.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring a variety of clothes to wear as the weather varies. Put a bag with coat and warm mittens/gloves on the ski do in the morning to wear at lunch. Definitely take a sauna at the Inns/cabins.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes because we stayed at Inns and cabins and ate at some restaurants to benefit the local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent - tasty food, beautiful scenery, fun travel mates, great guide and beautiful scenery.

review 4 Apr 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

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

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If you want a proper bit of Finland, meaning quiet, far out and everywhere lovely sauna's, go for this.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It did. Cross country skiing is a lovely gentle exercise for you and the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


review 15 Mar 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Great touring from place to place on cross country skis across the beautiful snow covered scenery of Finland.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Have a reasonable level of fitness to enjoy the holiday. Be prepared for any and all types of weather conditions.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

We stayed in very traditional homes/hotels on our travels which benefited local community, and the tour helps to provide an income to a dying way of life in the Finnish wilderness. The guides respected the local environment, which was good to see.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A great holiday experience. The tour operators, and tour guides, made a very hostile environment (Finland cross country skiing) feel safe and enjoyable. The tour guides were especially knowledgeable about the area, and worked tirelessly to make this an excellent holiday for the clients.

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