Winter Activities

Embark on a winter adventure your way! The crunch of the frost, the warmth of the campfire, and the Northern Lights promise unforgettable moments in nature. You can set off on a self-guided excursion or join guided tours with a local guide.

Guided activities

Cross Country Skiing

The skiing season at Kiilopää and Saariselkä is remarkably long, even by international standards. Saariselkä’s artificial snow trail ensures an early start to the season, and with the first significant snowfalls, the maintenance of other trails begins in late October or early November. Saariselkä and Kiilopää are rightfully intertwined in the minds of skiers. This snow-sure area combines excellent trails, a long skiing season, and easily accessible fells.

The short daylight hours of the polar night do not prevent skiing, as illuminated trails can be accessed directly from Kiilopää’s yard. These lit trails extend all the way to Saariselkä, providing plenty of routes for even the most active skiers.

Guests staying at Kiilopää have access to a ski waxing room, and waxing services are also available at the Kiilopää Adventures rental shop. If needed, you can rent equipment from us as well.

The trails around Kiilopää vary from open fell tracks to winding, forested paths. The diversity is enhanced in mid-winter when traditional skiing nature trails are groomed by snowmobile around Kiilopää, leading to more wilderness-like landscapes and offering an experience akin to a ski expedition.

The Kiilopää and Saariselkä area also hosts skiing events. In December, Kiilopää serves as the event center for the Kiilopää Skiing. During Easter, the Vaskooli Ski Event takes place, with its event center located in Saariselkä.

 

Kiilopään vuokraamo

Fell Skiing

Fell skiing offers magnificent experiences throughout the winter. In the fells of Kiilopää, the most popular means of travel off the beaten paths are fell skis and snowshoes, though ski mountaineering has also become increasingly popular.

While skiing in the fells, you can witness the pastel hues of the polar night, the snowy landscapes of mid-winter, and the long, bright days of spring. From Kiilopää, you can head directly to the treeless fell plateau, which stretches out for those seeking extended adventures. The gentle, treeless nearby fells are perfect for fell skis and the more playful mountain and telemark skis.

Fell skis are wider than traditional cross-country skis but still relatively narrow and lightweight. The grip for ascending is provided by the textured middle section of the ski, known as the crown base, and you can also attach climbing skins for added traction.

If the crown base provides sufficient grip, one can ski continuously from ascents to descents. The metal edges of fell skis aid in controlling speed during descents. However, the binding and moderately supportive boot combination does not offer enough maneuverability for carving turns like alpine skis, so fell skis are typically used for long, straight diagonal descents. On packed snow, fell skis can glide swiftly akin to cross-country skis.

Especially on the gentle slopes of Ahopää, ascending is technically easy. Most of the slopes do not require advanced skiing skills. You just need to choose the right direction based on snow conditions and enjoy the ride.

In late winter, Kiilopää’s slopes are frequented by many fell skiers, but on Ahopää and Niilanpää, one can ski in peace and quiet.

 

Winter Cycling

In the heart of winter, pastel hues, snowy trees, and pristine snowfields provide stunning settings for cycling – winter cycling is truly world-class! Kiilopää and Saariselkä boast one of Finland’s finest and most extensive networks for winter cycling.

For adventurous winter cycling routes, Suomen Latu Kiilopää is the ideal starting point, nestled amidst the mountains upon arrival. Near Kiilopää, trails wind through old-growth forests, offering short loops or longer rides that may even extend to Saariselkä.

A well-maintained winter trail, compared to summer paths, is flat and easy to ride, suitable even for beginners. To navigate these trails, you’ll need a fatbike with wide tires. Standard mountain bike tires, with their narrow profile, tend to sink into the snow on most winter days, leaving tracks for the next grooming session and disrupting the route for others.

A well-maintained winter trail is flat compared to summer paths, making it easy even for beginners to ride. You’ll need a fatbike with wide tires for winter trails. Standard mountain bike tires, with their narrow profile, sink into the snow on most winter days, leaving tracks for the next grooming session and disrupting the route for others.

After fresh snowfall or drifting caused by strong winds, trails remain sensitive even after grooming. In these conditions, your fatbike needs the widest possible tires and low tire pressure. The tires must sit evenly on the snow surface to maintain trail integrity and sufficient traction. You can switch to harder, more rounded tires on a fatbike only when the trail surface hardens sufficiently. In spring, the daily cycle of snow melting and refreezing creates extremely fast tracks.

Snowshoeing

During winter, there’s often a lot of soft, deep snow, making movement very challenging without snowshoes. Around Kiilopää, there are both marked and unmarked snowshoe trails during winter. The marked trails are the same as in summer. Snowshoeing allows for travel anywhere in the fells, and new paths can be easily forged.

 

In midwinter, even the largest snowshoes can sink into soft snow at the front of the line, but on well-traveled trails and in spring’s crusty snow, even the smallest snowshoes support the traveler. Walking in the forest, away from the trails, allows for studying animal tracks, and often you can spot some forest animals like ptarmigans and hares.

Winter Swimming

A dip into cool water brings a sense of well-being, health benefits, safe thrill, and relaxing mindfulness. Winter swimming is an affordable, social, and nature-connected hobby that gets your blood flowing, hormones active, and promotes overall health.

Starting winter swimming is easy and doesn’t require major equipment purchases. However, acclimating to cold water should be done gradually, and it’s recommended not to swim alone in cold water.

Kiilopää offers excellent facilities for winter swimming. The atmospheric smoke sauna and the swimming spot in Kiilopuro ensure perfect relaxation after a day of hiking. There’s nothing more delightful than taking a dip in the ice hole right after the gentle heat of the smoke sauna.

 

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