Snowshoeing & Northern Lights Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Finland
Programmes:
Winter
Trip Code:
CFR
Grade 3 - Intermediates

Equivalent Activity Level - Intermediates
A grade 3 week is ideal for those looking to push on, tackle some slightly steeper terrain and cover more ground each day. Typical groups will have a few weeks skiing behind them, be very comfortable with the basics and happy on longer day tours. There will still be tuition on these weeks,  at the required level.

Our race weeks - Engadin Ski Marathon CME (if doing classic style) and Finlandia Hiihto Ski Race CFX are also set at this grade.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

Escape to the Finnish wilderness. Spend the week snowshoeing through the Oulanka National Park. Your local guide will lead you through this beautiful landscape allowing you to explore the amazing Finnish Taiga. For the most part, you will stay in a traditional old logging lodge in the middle of nowhere next to the Oulanka River. Away from the hustle and bustle and with no light pollution it is the perfect spot to look out for the Aurora Borealis in the evenings. Two of the nights will be spent near the Russian Border in a remote former hunting cabin. In the evenings you will enjoy authentic local cuisine and will have time to relax in the sauna, a must when visiting Finland!

At a Glance

  • 5 nights wilderness lodge, 2 nights simple lodge with shared facilities
  • 5 days guided snowshoeing
  • Group normally 8‐12, plus leader. Min age 16 years
  • Snowshoes and poles included
  • Countries visited: Finland

Trip Highlights

• Search for the Northern Lights on snowshoes
• Follow trails in the wilderness to the Russian border
• Enjoy traditional Finnish cuisine and relax in the sauna

Is This Trip for You?

Level 3 - Moderate

This trip involves snowshoeing over flat or undulating terrain. There are no big-drops and very steep terrain is rare. No snowshoeing experience is necessary however a good level of fitness is required as we do climb to viewpoints and you can expect to be snowshoeing between 3 and 6 hours a day at a moderate pace. Variables such as depth of snow can and do affect this. 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
6
Max group size:
12

Itinerary

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Logging Basecamp Oulanka.

    Start at Basecamp Oulanka, our main base in Oulanka National Park, for the first briefing and to visit the kit room to collect all the clothing needed for a week of snowshoeing in arctic conditions. Depending on the arrival time we may have dinner or a light snack here or later when we arrive at the Logging Lodge in Oulanka National Park.

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Morning introduction to snowshoeing. Afternoon wilderness skills session

    Our first morning is spent with an introduction to snowshoeing. You will be taught the technique of snowshoeing and how to use the poles appropriately. We spend the day not far from the Logging Lodge and the River Oulanka as we get a feel for snowshoeing. Lunch today is taken back at the Logging Lodge. In the afternoon we get an introduction from the leader about bushcraft skills and an insight into the skills needed to survive the arctic wilderness. This is an interesting look at the knowledge the locals take for granted. We will also learn how to heat the sauna where we will be able to relax in each evening. This evening, we are given dry sacks to fill with the belongings we’ll need for the next two nights. These are then packed onto the trailer and taken by snowscooter to our destination in the morning. After preparing for the next day we will venture out for a short snowshoe walk in search of the Northern Lights.

     

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 3 km / 2 miles
    Activity (hours):
    2.5
  • Day 3

    Snowshoe east to the Russian border.

    Today we set off east towards the Russian border zone. The goal is to reach the log cabin known as the ‘Russian End’, on the banks of the Oulanka River, close to the border. After the morning briefing, we head into the forest of the Oulanka National Park, on many occasions following the tracks left by the Reindeer. After a snack and hot drink around an open fire we continue along the boundary of the forest where our guide explains the different tracks left in the snow, taking time to observe the woodpeckers, Siberian jays and if we are lucky capercaillie before heading on to our cosy home for the next two nights. The total distance is around 11km and we aim to arrive by mid-afternoon depending on conditions. Those that wish can accompany our leader down to the river to collect some ice which we’ll use for a well-deserved sauna or undertake further snowshoeing if there is time.

    This location has no light pollution so there is a fantastic chance in the evening of seeing the Northern Lights in all their glory if the conditions are right

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 11 km / 9 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • Day 4

    Return trip to a wonderful viewpoint at Saunavaara.

    After a night in splendid isolation, we awake to a warm breakfast and prepare for our day tour. Snowshoeing south the route takes us first across the river and uses some forest roads. Skirting the border the trail leads us to the beautiful viewpoint which overlooks Lake Paanajärvi on the Russian side, a wonderful spot from which to admire the natural surroundings. The forested area is inhabited by Elk so there is a high chance of seeing one. In the evening we can relax in the traditional Finnish sauna and head out to the frozen river for an amazing view of the night sky.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 9 km / 6 miles
    Activity (hours):
    4
  • Day 5

    Snowshoe back through the forest to the Logging Lodge.

    Today we pack up our kit for the return journey to the Logging Lodge then head out on our snowshoes. We pass a reindeer herder's pen where we will stop and look for the reindeer which wander freely in the area before following forested trails close to the Oulanka river stopping for a hot drink and snack break. Once back at the Logging Lodge there is a free afternoon for relaxing in the sauna. Extra snowshoeing opportunities may be available if we arrive ahead of schedule. The total time this route takes can vary greatly according to conditions and group proficiency.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 14 km / 9 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5.5
  • Day 6

    Free day for optional activities.

    Free day. There are a variety of optional activities on offer today (subject to minimum numbers and availability) including the new and increasingly popular winter activity – fat biking; explore the winter wonderland with specially made bicycles with ultrawide tires that can run easily on the snow at very low pressure. Alternatively, you could visit the Karhunkierros visitor centre in the Arctic Circle and embark on 10Km husky adventure. Or, a day trip to Ruka can be organised if you wish to try your hand at snowmobiling or downhill skiing. 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 7

    Final day snowshoeing along River Oulanka. Farewell dinner by open fire.

    Today is our last day of snowshoeing as we head north along the Oulanka River. As we go we will admire this beautiful landscape where we can see landforms created during the Glacial Period, 10,000 years ago. We have lunch along the way as we spend the day exploring the Finnish Taiga. We then head back to the Logging Lodge in time for a final sauna. Dinner tonight is taken outside around an open fire.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 8 km / 5 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • Day 8

    End Logging Lodge

    The trip will end at the Logging Lodge. 

    Lunch is included for clients booked on the group flights on weeks where the inbound flight time is later.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Logging Lodge

The Logging Lodge, on the edge of the Oulanka National Park, was originally built in the 1950s and has been renovated to provide more modern accommodation for our groups.

Twin rooms actually have two bunks on opposite walls though we use these as twin share.
Facilities are shared. There are two bathrooms, a shower room, sauna, drying room and a lounge/dining area. There is wifi throughout.

Meals are taken in the main lounge/dining area where there is also a small bar of sorts.

Russian End Wilderness Cabin

The Russian End cabin is a traditional elk hunting camp. There is no running water and no electricity and our two nights here give a real taste of life in the wilderness. There is one small room with a twin and a single bed, a small kitchen area where our leaders will prepare the food, and the main living area.

The main living area, is quite simply one big room, with a large table down the middle and one long bunk along the wall. Due to the nature of the accommodation it is not possible to have a single here, and we do our best to accommodate people as best we can within these sleeping arrangements, however it is not possible to pre allocate berths. Warmth is never an issue, with a roaring fire and warm sleeping bags and candles to provide light. 


We may also make use of a second sleeping area in the same cabin as the sauna. The sauna is in a separate building close to the river. Using water cut from the river ice we fire this upon arrival. This space also doubles as a washing area. There is no shower, instead, we use the hot and cold water provided to wash – pouring a mix of these over your head constitutes a real ‘Finnish’ shower and is certainly effective!
The toilet here is in a separate hut about 50m from the cabin.
The location is unforgettable, a stone’s throw from the river and not far from the Russian border, this is a long way off the grid and all the better for it. With zero light pollution, Northern Lights displays, whilst never guaranteed, can be spectacular.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from £150.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches (depending on flight times) and 7 dinners included. 

The food provided covers a variety of traditional Finnish dishes going back 50 years using recipes from forestry camps. Breakfast will be continental, with bread, cheese, cold meats, porridge, muesli and yoghurt available. Lunch will consist of warm soup, bread, cheeses, sausages, hot tea and biscuits. In the evening dinner will consist of traditional meat and fish dishes with vegetables and dessert. A vegetarian option also available, though there may be less variety. 

Transportation

Airport transfers are carried out by private minibus.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

In the regions close to the Arctic Circle temperatures during the season range from -30ºC to +5ºC. Christmas will normally be the coldest (usually below -20ºC), but the temperatures rise as the days lengthen, and early April can see temperatures around -10ºC to +5ºC. Recent years have seen massive fluctuations in the space of a few weeks with lows of -40ºC and highs of +7ºC just a few days apart.
If the thought of such temperatures scares you, then think again. When dressed in the correct clothing (such as described in the layering system example in the packing section), -20ºC can actually feel very pleasant. The Arctic cold is a dry cold, there is usually no wind, and remember, we will keep you active.


Daylight hours
Remember that at extreme latitudes the days shorten and lengthen much faster. So while in mid-winter (December/January) the sun remains just below the horizon, by April there are more daylight hours than in the UK, and the midnight sun is only a matter of weeks away. Even in midwinter it is not dark, as the sun is just above the horizon and there is plenty of light reflected off the snow.


Northern Lights
The breathtaking Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are visible from September to late April on most clear nights at latitudes close to, and above the Arctic Circle. They can be seen further south, but will be less spectacular and less frequent. Solar activity is greater around the equinoxes (September and March), and at lower latitudes this can be the best time to see them. On our trip we will have little light pollution so if there is sufficient solar activity and no cloud cover, we will be well placed to see them.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Thomson Airways or Finnair (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings.
Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 8 days starting and ending in Kuusamo or Rovaniemi

Your trip normally starts at Kuusamo Airport on Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights.
Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it.

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight ‐ please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

Location start:
Basecamp Oulanka
Location end:
Logging Lodge

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Please note: On some rare occasions, luggage can get misplaced in transit between flights. We therefore recommend you to bring some clothes and shoes in your hand luggage so that you can participate the first activity day without problems even if your luggage doesn’t arrive with you.

LUGGAGE TRANSPORTATION
For the two nights spent at the Russian End lodge, you will be given a dry sack bag to pack enough clothes and toiletries for the stay there. This is because all luggage needs to be transported via snowmobile so we are unable to transport your full suitcase/luggage.

Equipment provided:

Good quality warm clothing is supplied for all clients on this trip, however if you wish to use your own kit there is no obligation to use the equipment supplied by Basecamp. The following items of clothing are given out on day one of the trip:

Thermal base layer; top and bottom

Thermal second layer; top and bottom

Hard shell outer layer; coat and trousers

Salomon ski gloves and thermal liners

Head torch

Woolly hat

Large backpack

Thermal seat 

Thermos flask

Salomon Winter boots 

You will need the following:

Merino base layer

Normal daily clothes

Several pairs of thick socks

Tube scarf/Buff

Sunglasses

Swimming costume and Flip flops (for sauna)

Sun-cream (from the last week of February onwards)

Slippers or thick woollen socks to wear in the evening

Optional Equipment

- toiletries
- earplugs
- personal medication, plasters, double-skin (e.g.Compeed)

Practical Information

Passport

Finland

Most nationalities, including British, require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Certain European nationalities may be able to travel within Europe on their national identity card. Check carefully with the relevant authorities if you intend to do this.

Visa

Finland

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

Finland

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

If you are a UK citizen and travelling in Europe you should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your Post Office. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance.

Local Time

Finland's Timezone:
Europe/Helsinki EEST (GMT +03:00)

Electricity

Finland's Electricity:

220-240V. European adapter required. 

Money

Finland's Currency

The national currency of Finland is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

ATM Availability

There are no ATMs available, however credit card's are accepted at our accommodation.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

The Logging Lodge has a small bar, beers range from €4 for a small beer to 6€ for a large. A gin and tonic is approximately 6€ and a bottle of wine 25€.

Possible optional activities on the free day include:

Dogsledding in the Arctic Circle. This full day excursion includes access to the Karhunkierros Visitor centre, lunch and a visit to the husky farm where you will go on an exhilarating 10km ride through the wilderness. Budget around €250 for this (prices vary from €195-295, depending on group size and whether you share a sledge or choose to have your own sledge). 

Alternatively, you could try a new and increasingly popular winter activity for this coming year ‐ fat biking. Explore the winter wonderland with specially adapted bicycles with ultra‐wide tyres that can ride on the snow. Please budget around 50EUR for this (Prices and availability to be confirmed locally).

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.