Our ski tour started in the Kilpisjärvi town, located next to the The three-country cairn in the very North of Finland. We arrived the day before the start of the ski, ate well and slept well in a cottage.
The next day around the noon, we had finally packet everything well in our sledges and managed to start the trip. Now afterwards I can say that the first day was the toughest of them all. The first part from Kilpisjärvi to Halti is to ski from Kilpisjärvi to Saarijärvi. In the beginning was the steepest incline of the trip. At this point, also our sledges were the fullest from all the food we had taken with us.
We got to ski the first part in daylight, but in February, it gets really early dark and at the first day, we did not manage to get to the destination before dark. It started to snow at the sunset. Headlights normally makes the visibility better, but combined with a totally white surroundings and falling snow, the torches did not help much. Visibility was approx 50 meters.
Finally, after 8,5 hours skiing, we saw the unmanned cottage in Saarijärvi. The feeling cannot be described with words. It was unbelievably comforting view – to see finally the place where we could stay out of the wind, eat and sleep in the warmth. We prepared dinner and enjoyed in peace the lovely moment after whole day skiing.
In Finland, and in the Nordics generally, there is a very good network of unmanned cottages which you can use without reservation. In Finland and Norway, these unmanned cottages are also free to use, in Sweden you normally need to pay a bit (approx 10 euros per night). You need to bring your own sleeping bag, but there is wood to heat to cottage up and in many of these cottages there is also gas that can be used for cooking 🙂