Weekend at Riisitunturi National Park

For me last winter weekend in Lapland this spring we headed to Riisitunturi National Park. It is one of the most popular National Parks in Lapland because of easy access and beautiful nature. There were a lot of people around during the day, but we were the only ones staying overnight in the open hut.

The weather was nice and warm, but cloudy. So not the best conditions for photography.

Skiing in Riisitunturi National Park

There is a crosscountry ski track to the hut. It is just 2 kilometres and it is also easy to reach with snowshoes.

Riisitunturi Open Hut

We skied to the hut, but we also took our snowshoes with us. After a short break we did a short tour with the snowshoes around the park.

Grey day in Riisitunturi National Park

The trees were all covered in snow and it was really beautiful although the sun wasn’t shining.

The lights of Ruka from Riisitunturi National Park

We spent the evening at the hut and you could see the lights of Ruka Ski Resort very clearly. It was still cloudy and very soon after this picture it began to snow.

Skiing in Riisitunturi National Park

The next morning we headed back to our car and the weather was still cloudy and grey. But I certainly recommend the place as an easy option for your first winter adventures. And it is an amazing place for photography. I really want to get back there when the sky is clear and try to capture some Northern Lights.

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Overnight at Oratunturi

I did a one night trip to Oratunturi when I was staying in Sodankylä. It is pretty close to Sodankylä, but still a very nice location, where you have the feeling of being in the middle of nature.

Northern Lights close to Oratunturi

I started the late in the evening and was skiing in the dark. I was planning to just ski straight to the open shelter to sleep, since the forecast was cloudy until early morning. But the sky was quite clear already as I started skiing. There were some Northern Lights, but not very bright ones.

Moon rising behind the trees

And the moon was super bright. As I got higher up I didn’t even need my head torch to find my way. But it took me way longer to get to the open shelter, because I needed to stop to take pictures so many times.

Open shelter at Oratunturi

This is where I spent the night. A had two candles and I made a fire. It was really nice to sleep here, but it was much colder than I expected. The forecast was – 8 degrees Celsius, but it was actually – 23 degrees, because of the clear sky.

Sunrise at Oratunturi

It was a bit cold sleeping outside, but the sunrise in the morning made it more than worth it!

Oratunturi open shelter

This is the open shelter coming back from the Oratunturi fjell. I just love it when all the trees are covered with snow.

Enjoying the sunrise

Skiing back as the sun was rising was great. It was just a great trip. I really recommend just doing short adventures like this. And for this Oratunturi is a great destination from Sodankylä.

New Year skiing in Saariselkä

We decided to go skiing for 4 days around New Year’s. It’s still very dark and the days are short, but we were sure it would be all right to ski in the dark. So we drove from Sodankylä to Saariselkä and Urho Kekkonen National Park. There are open huts and you can also reserve a spot for a small charge. We didn’t know, if it was a popular time to be out there and we wanted to sleep inside. So we reserved the sleeping places in advance and picked up the key from Kiilopää.

Skiing in to the unknown, Urho Kekkonen National Park

On the first day we skied for 14 kilometres to Suomunruoktu hut. We were the only ones there so we could have stayed at the open hut too.
Skiing in Urho Kekkonen Nationalpark

The next day we started climbing up towards Tuiskukuru hut, where we had lunch. This pictures is close to Vintilä fjell. It was beautiful up there with the trees covered in snow.

Skiing in the dark in Urho Kekkonen National Park

Shortly after our lunch break it was already time to get the head torches out. We followed an old snowmobile track, which was still visible. It wasn’t too difficult to find our way in the dark. But it was a long day to Luirojärvi hut, about 23 kilometres. The open sauna for anyone to use was waiting for us thre and it was already warm as we arrived. A great way to relax and wash yourself after a long day of skiing.

Skiing in Saariselkä

The weather was cloudy all the time, so we didn’t see any Northern Lights. But otherwise it was really nice, around -10 degrees Celsius.

Blue moment in Finnish Lapland in January

I like the light at this time of the year a lot. It is a special feeling being outside!

Skiing after dark in January

The short days meant skiing in the dark every day. Going down hill is a bit more interesting especially, if it is a steeper and longer hill. A few times we just had to ski into the deep snow to stop our speed.

Snow covered trees

We spent the third night back at Suomunruoktu hut. So 23 kilometres also on the third skiing day.

 

A glimpse of the sun close to Niilanpää hut

On the last day it was just 14 kilometres back to the car. As you can see it was almost sunny. 🙂 This was the first time during the trip, when the sky was not completely covered.
We saw some other people along the way, but it wasn’t crowded at all. About 75 kilometres of skiing in 4 days. The second day felt pretty tough, but the same route back on the third day felt much easier. Just more skiing, so the muscles get used to working again. It was a great trip and a great way to spend New Year’s.

 

 

Cross-Country skiing in Sodankylä

I spend a lot of time in Lapland during the winter months. Now I’ve been in Sodankylä for 3 weeks. I have been mostly working and updating the Natura Viva homepage and getting all the kayaking programs organized for next summer. Although I haven’t had time to be outside too much, it is still nice to be here in the north, where there is plenty of snow.

Cross-country skiing

Tha days are very short this time of the year. That’s also a reason why I haven’t been out too much. It’s just a couple hours of daylight each day. Now I have managed to go out to cross-country skiing a couple of times. Just 14 kilometres each time , but it is enough at the moment. My muscles are sore enough!

The start of the ski track in Sodankylä

This is where the ski track starts. – 6 degress Celsius is the perfect temperature for skiing. Especially when it is not windy at all. The sky is complete clear and it is just past 11 am. Not a lot of light!

Ski track through the pine forest

The track is very well maintained and it is very peacuful and quiet here.

Sunshine in Lapland in December

Even as the sun is shining, it is not really a lot of light. But the colors are just spectacular!

Reindeer on the ski track

There are a lot of reindeer around the area. And you can get pretty close to them.

December at River Jeesiö

The route goes close to River Jeesiö at some point. This was a great place to take small break and just enjoy the scenery.

All the pictures were taken between 11 am and 1 pm. And by the time I walked back home from the ski track, it was already starting to get dark. I still enjoy this time of the year a lot.