10 independent reviews for Cross-country skiing vacation in Finland, Russian border

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

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review 27 Feb 2017

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

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 travelers booking this vacation?

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 vacation 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 vacation overall?

Top notch. A genuine adventure and great fun.

review 6 Mar 2017

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

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 travelers booking this vacation?

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 vacation 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 vacation overall?

This was a very good vacation 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 vacation?

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

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

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 vacation 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 vacation 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 vacation?

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 vacation had an impact on me.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

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

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

A cross country vacation 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 vacation 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 vacation?

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 travelers booking this vacation?

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 vacation 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 vacation overall?

Really enjoyable vacation. 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 vacation?

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 travelers booking this vacation?

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 vacation 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 vacation overall?

This type of vacation 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 vacation?

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 vacation & their nationality. A great help when trying to remember people's names.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

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

3. Did you feel that your vacation 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 vacation overall?


review 27 Mar 2014

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

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 travelers booking this vacation?

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 vacation 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 vacation 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 vacation?

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

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

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 vacation 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 vacation overall?


review 15 Mar 2011

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

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 travelers booking this vacation?

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

3. Did you feel that your vacation 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 vacation overall?

A great vacation 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 vacation for the clients.

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