Specialists for Outdoor and Adventure Holidays in the Nordic Countries

Back Country Skiing and Northern Lights in Finnish Lapland

Photo: J. Järvenkylä


Backcountry Skiing and Northern Lights in Finnish Lapland (Finland)

A hut-to-hut ski tour in Kaldoiavi Wilderness Area

  • Guided
  • Hard
  • From £1630/person
  • 7 days/6 nights
  • Adults, Groups, Solo
  • Itinerary
  • Dates & Prices
  • Good to Know
  • Gallery & Comments
  • Description
  • Arrival
  • Following Days
  • Departure

The Kaldoaivi Wilderness Area, located right at the top of Finland, is a very special region - it is Finland's largest designated Wilderness Area, covering almost 3,000 square kilometres, and makes a wonderful destination for a multi-day hut-to-hut ski tour for the adventurous!

Backcountry Skiing and Northern Lights in Finnish Lapland is a 7-day/6-night tour with 5 days' guided ski touring led by experienced local guide, following the northernmost line for the growth of Scots pine forest in Europe. You will be skiing between wilderness cabins through largely unprepared terrain, carrying your luggage with a combination of backpack and "pulk" (sled).

Accommodation during the expedition component of the tour is in simple but comfortable wilderness cabins along the way, with no electricity or running water. Each cabin has wood-fired sauna - sauna is not only an integral part of Finnish culture but also a wonderful way to round off a day in the outdoors!

At the start and end of the tour, accommodation is in camping cabins at camp with restaurant facilities. The tour ends with a visit to a reindeer farm, offering the opportunity to meet the reindeer and learn about the reindeer herding culture central to this region.

There is also a winter skills component to the trip - along the way, you will have the opportunity to build a "quinzee" (similar to an igloo but constructed from a pile of packed snow which is then hollowed out to make a shelter, rather than from blocks of cut snow) and, if you wish, sleep in it overnight! Tents are also taken for the tour both as a safety precaution and to give practice in winter camping if desired. Ski equipment is provided - the tour uses OAC skis, with bindings suitable for any winter boot (winter boots are not provided as standard but are available to hire on request).

This backcountry ski tour is ideal for those with at least some previous cross country skiing or ski touring experience seeking a physically challenging but still accessible adventure in a very remote area - the region receives very few visitors, especially in wintertime, and you're likely to meet very few if any other two-legged mammals during the expedition part of the trip!

Group size is very small - just 4 persons + guide for scheduled tours - offering a very personal experience. Private tours for groups of up to 8 persons are also possible by arrangement.


For tours starting 11th and 18th March, transfers will meet Lufthansa flight LH 846 from Frankfurt arriving Ivalo 14.10. Guests travelling from elsewhere will need to arrive in Ivalo by latest 14.00 or travel to Ivalo the day before to overnight locally. For tours starting 1st and 12th April, transfers will meet Finnair flight AY557 arriving from Helsinki (at 12.10 or 12.15 depending on dates). Guests will need to overnight in Helsinki or optionally travel to Ivalo the day before to overnight there before pick-up.

Transfer from Ivalo airport (or accommodation locally), where your guide will welcome you, to cabin accommodation at Sevettejärvi (transfer time approx. 3 hours).

Check-in to your cabin for the night, introductory meeting and equipment check with other participants and guide. Evening sauna and dinner at the restaurant.

Following Days

Day 2

This day will take you through the basics of backcountry skiing and getting used to pulling a pulk with a day tour in the Sevettijärvi area. Lunch during the day over open fire and making final preparations for the expedition, including packing the pulks and practising erecting the tents (accommodation during the tour is in wilderness cabins, but tents are carried as part of safety equipment with the option to sleep in tent for some nights during the tour if you wish).

Equipment and personal luggage during the tour will be carried in a combination of pulks and backpacks depending on group size.

Dinner and accommodation as for Day 1.

Skiing distance: approx. 10km

Day 3

Your first full expedition day, a long day of skiing to Kontinpaistama wilderness cabin. There is a snowmobile track that can be used for approx. the first half of the distance, after which your route takes you across frozen marshland and lakes towards the cabin.

Lunch along the way. Once at the cabin, you will be introduced to the various aspects of cabin life, and everyone assists with tasks such as fire making, preparing food, etc. The cabins have no electricity and simple dry wilderness toilets. Wood-burning sauna in the evening - the perfect way to round off a day's ski touring!

Skiing distance: approx. 16km

Day 4

Your ski tour continues to the cabin at Saunakoski, but if weather conditions permit, you will first head south to Jänispää fjell. Although just 250m above sea level, as you are so far north, this is above the treeline and offers stunning views of the expansive wilderness around.

Lunch along the route before reaching Saunakoski, where wood-heated sauna is also available. Simple wilderness cabin accommodation with no electricity.

Skiing distance: approx. 11km

Day 5

A short day's skiing combined with an introduction to winter wilderness skills, with the opportunity to make and (if you wish) sleep in a "quinzee" (similar to an igloo, but constructed from packed snow rather than cut blocks of snow).

You will ski the short distance to Kuosnijoki wilderness cabin, making your own fire for lunch somewhere along the way close to the pinewood forests.

On arrival at the hut, you will construct the "quinzee" and also erect the tent and a lean-to shelter for a choice of overnight sleeping accommodation! (you can also choose to sleep inside the cabin if you prefer!). The cabin has wood-heated sauna.

Skiing distance: approx. 4km

Day 6

Your last day of backcountry skiing takes you to a reindeer farm at Sanila, with lunch on the way. At the reindeer farm you will learn about the life of a reindeer herder and have the opportunity to meet the reindeer close-up. Dinner at the farm. Depending on logistics and flight schedules for your particular tour date, overnight accommodation will either be here at the farm or there will be a transfer to the cabins at Sevettejärvi for accommodation as for Day 1/Day 2.

At the end of the tour, you will organise the equipment before your last night together in Finnish Lapland and chance to reflect on your adventure.

Skiing distance: approx. 10km


Transfers will meet Finnair flight AY557 to Helsinki departing Ivalo 13.20. Guests travelling to other destinations should choose flight time 13.20 or later.

Breakfast and travel to Ivalo or Ivalo airport for departure (transfer time approx. 3 hours).

  • Dates
  • Prices
  • Included
  • Not Included

Dates 2017

  • 11.03-17.03.17, 18.03-24.03.17, 01.04-07.14.17, 12.04-18.04.17* (additional dates 04.03-10.03.17 and 25.03-31.03.17 may also be possible by arrangement).

Private tours for groups of 2-8 persons are also possible on other dates subject to availability.

*The Northern Lights can be seen anytime from around September to early/mid April.

Prices 2017

Prices are in British Pounds and Euros. If you wish, you are also welcome to make your payment in Swedish Kronor (SEK) - please contact us for details.

Standard Prices  
Per personGBP 1,630EUR 1,760

For private tours, please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Optional Extras  
Sorel winter boots/person (paid locally, please give sizes in advance) EUR 40



Sleeping accommodation is shared on all nights. Optionally, guests can choose to overnight in quinzee or tent on Day 5. Everyone assists with tasks around the cabin such as preparing food, washing up, etc.

Cabins along the route are normally as follows:

  • Day 1 and Day 2: Six-person camping cabin with electricity in small Sami village on the edge of Kaldoaivi Wilderness Area. The camp has restaurant, bar and sauna and reindeer are commonly seen.
  • Day 3: Simple wilderness hut by the river Näätämö with 5 beds, 16 sq. metres. No electricity, heated with wood-burning stove, lit by solar lights/candles. Gas cooker. Sauna in separate building. Drinking water is taken from the stream or by melting snow. Dry outside wilderness toilet.
  • Day 4: Facilities similar to Day 3. Slightly larger cabin, 20 sq. metres with 6 beds.
  • Day 5: Size and facilities similar to Day 3. Sauna is contained within the cabin building.
  • Day 6: If staying at the reindeer farm, accommodation is in 3 x 2-person rooms in cabin or main building. Farm has electricity restaurant, bar and sauna. Alternatively, accommodation for this day is as for Day 1/Day 2.
Cabin accommodation at start and end of the tour

Example cabin accommodation for Day 1, Day 2 and sometimes Day 6. Photos: WH

Cabin accommodation during the tour

Wilderness cabin accommodation during the tour. Photos: WH


All meals are included from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day. The group will cook and eat together. Please advise any dietary requirements in advance.


  • Skis, bindings and poles: Skis used are OAC skinbased skis with universal bindings. The skis fit any standard winter boot (boots are not provided but are available to hire as optional extra if required). Guests wishing to bring own ski touring equipment are welcome to do so - please provide details of your equipment in advance to ensure it meets the requirements for the tour.
  • Camping equipment: Winter sleeping bag with liner and closed cell sleeping mat; tent (tents are carried as safety equipment and as optional overnight accommodation).
  • Pulk(s). Number required depends on the size of the group. Based on group size 4 persons (max. group size for scheduled tours) + guide, the tour would normally use three pulks, one of which would be taken by the guide.
  • Cooking equipment.
  • Backpacks are available to borrow free of charge on request (must be advised in advance).
  • Camping plate/bowl, mug and cutlery.
  • Toilet paper.

OAC KAR skis

OAC KAR skis provided for the tour. Photo: WH


Experienced and knowledgeable local guide.


Arrival/departure transfers between Ivalo airport or accommodation and start/end point of the tour at fixed times (see "Itinerary"). Local transfer on Day 6 if required.


Reindeer farm visit on Day 6.

Not Included

  • Travel: We do not arrange flights or domestic travel, but are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey. See under "Good to Know > Getting There" for general travel information.
  • Alcoholic drinks.
  • Winter boots (available to hire if you do not have your own, please see Optional Extras).
  • Required
  • Getting There
  • Groups
  • Eco Info


Health requirements/experience:

You must have an above average level of fitness. It is recommended that guests have some previous experience of cross country skiing and/or backcountry skiing.

You should be comfortable skiing distances of up to 16km carrying backpack typical weight around 15kg in addition to pulling pulk (for a typical group size of 4 persons + guide, the guide would normally take one pulk and guests would share pulling two pulks).

For the great majority of the tour you will be skiing on unprepared terrain, which is much more physically demanding than skiing on tracks.

Minimum age 18 years.

Equipment/clothes needed:

For information on any equipment and/or clothing included as standard for this experience, please see under "Dates and Prices > Included".

A detailed recommended packing list for personal items to bring will be sent with your booking documentation.

NB: We advise you not to buy equipment or clothes for your trip or to incur other non-refundable expenses such as flights until you have received confirmation of your booking from us in writing. Note of course that the most appropriate clothing to use as well as the level of challenge experienced during any outdoor activity may vary significantly depending on factors such as the time of year and the particular weather/temperature conditions during your trip.

Minimum number:

No minimum. Tours are guaranteed to run from the first booking.

Getting There

Detailed information on travel options to this experience will be provided in response to your enquiry. We are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey.

Please ensure that you make a booking with us first and wait for confirmation that your spaces are reserved before making any travel arrangements.

By Air:

Fly to Helsinki for domestic flight (1.5 hours) to Ivalo or night train to Rovaniemi (12 hours) + bus to Ivalo (approx. 4 hours). Transfer from Ivalo is included (approx. 3 hours) to/from the start/end point of the tour in connection with fixed flight times.

Map of Finland »

Map of Finland


Max. group size 4 participants. For private tours, up to 8 persons can be accommodated (for groups of more than 4 persons, tents must be used as sleeping accommodation for some persons on some nights during the tour).

Eco Info

This provider has a written environmental policy.

Kaldoaivi Wilderness Area

Finland's 12 Wilderness Areas are regions of protected landscapes in remote areas which are not strictly nature reserves. The network was established in 1991 to preserve the wilderness character as well as the Sami heritage, culture and livelihood of the areas.

Kaldoaivi is the largest of the Wilderness Areas, covering almost 3,000 square kilometres.

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