Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

Skiing / Training

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With the little one outdoor time has been limited to short bursts of outdoor activity when I was able to steal away. Preparing for the two trips, I loaded up my backpack, dressed up, grabbed the skis and head out the door. Fifty meters and I put on my skis, ski downhill to the lake. -20°C can be pretty. It is silent. The cold drives people inside. Good for me.

Few tracks go over the ice. Fishermen who left only their tracks and holes in the ice behind. Hare and Fox tracks which lead to the other side. A thin path from walkers, and tracks from their dogs who enjoyed running in the snow.

Ice fishing hole

I make my own tracks. Skiing tracks. Kick and glide, kick and glide. Keep the mind free, don't think about it - then it goes better, smoother.

The sound of my poles hitting the ice is all I hear. Ponk. Ponk. Ponk. Ponk. A steady rhythm. I really should fix that basket on the one pole before I leave north. Do I always have it in my right hand, or do I switch? Maybe I should mark them. I also should mark my skis. Right and Left. Kick and glide.

Self portrait on skis

Is it cold? Yeah, I feel the ice on my beard. Nice. My head is warm, but not too warm. Happily it is cold. I hope the ice carries. After a few days of over -20°C it should. And those fishermen are heavier than me, even with my backpack on. It will be fine.

Dusk on skis

Getting closer to Jalkassari. 12 minutes per kilometer. But this is a flat lake, not the fjell. Better be conservative, and estimate two to three kilometer per hour. In the fjell, in the forest. Soon.

Frozen lake

I wonder how many people have this luxury of being able to go skiing in front of their door. But is it a luxury? Not in Finland. Happily we have snow. Hopefully it stays cold. It's an awesome sunset. I wonder what the weather will be like up north. Should check that back home.

Off towards where the sun set

Damn, that scared me. A loud crack in the ice. But it must be thick enough to carry. No one went over to the islands yet. Ah well, I will. Making my own tracks. Just be careful. The ice should carry, it has been over -20°C for a week, and the current is further out, and even it is frozen over.

No tracks

Nice. No one has been here yet. Lets cross the island. Fishermen have been here already. And more hare and fox tracks. It's getting dark. Ski around the island and then back.

Another loud crack. Maybe smarter to ski closer to the shore. No need to die on the way home. Even if the ice should carry. And making new tracks is fun. Still about 12 minutes per kilometer. That'd be five kilometers per hour. But better to be more conservative. There will be hills and forests. Some lakes, but many hills and forests.

And back home

Lots of light pollution over the city. But still one can see the stars. That's probably Venus there. What was the name of that app which told you? Ah well. Rather be skiing now. How long should I ski when I'm up north? Till nightfall or stop earlier to pitch, melt snow, cook & eat? Ah well. I'll see. Soon. I wonder how much I will miss M & E. I hope they don't worry too much when I'm up north. I wonder if there will be northern lights still. And how cold it will be. Soon.

The Week in Review

I was tempted to put some lorem ipsum here. But then I decided to encourage you to buy me a coffee instead if you enjoy the underneath post. Coffee would encourage me to finish this faster ;)

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Darren is out on National Pass. Stunning.

Bikepacking in the Big Bend.

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Nick visitis the Lost Coast.

A recommended read from Tomás: Nordic skating, long skating, backcountry skating, wild skating, långfärdsskridsko.

Toby reviews the Marmot Zion Jacket.

A close-up look at the 2012 LAUFBURSCHE huckePACK. It's that good that Germany's Outdoor Magazine covered it.

Death Valley NP.

I wrote about interesting developments in the realm of outdoor photography and videography.

The Wilderness Parent – Year 3 with Kids in the Woods.

Hiking in Germany is pretty.

Snowshoe hiking in Germany is similarly pretty.

A Cairngorm's weekend with the Fantastic Four.

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Jeff hiked from the Santiago Oaks Regional Park to Irvine Regional Park.

A Great Plains long-distance trail.

Got lost outside with no fancy gear? Build a Debris Hut for Overnight Survival.

Fatbike Winter Gear Geekery.

Soto Muka Stove review.

Chain Lakes. More stunning photography of beautiful scenery.

Gorgeous wildlife photography.

Antti does a Osprey Exos 58 review.

Salsa Anything Cage packs.

Buying a packraft in Europe just got easier, thanks to the packrafting-store.de. Hat tip to Benjamin.

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Outlier Woolback OG

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In the end of December an envelope from New York City arrived in my post box. In it was the Outlier Woolback OG pants, and I have worn it since; with exceptions of it being in the laundry, which needed to be overnight as I didn't want to wear anything else. Which means I have been wearing the Outlier Woolback OG since roughly seven weeks, and I will continue to wear it till spring arrives and temperatures are above 0°C again.

Winter in Finland means temperatures beneath 0°C for around four to six months. In 2011 we had six weeks in which the thermometer didn't go over -15°C, 2012 has been a lot milder so far, with temperatures varying between -3°C and -30°C. And these temperatures do not include the wind, which constantly blows in Tampere. So freezing cold temperatures are something you not just have to cope with when out hiking or skiing in Lapland, nope, they're everyday fare: Grocery shopping, walking with my son, cycling to the climbing gym, walking to a Café. Very quickly you're looking for clothing which puts function before fashion, which means I'm nearly always wearing long johns and when I can get away with it, a hiking pant. They're just more windproof than a jeans - which is the absolute worst garment I can imagine for winter use, as the wind blows through them and they stay cold. Nope, jeans might be looking good, but they're terrible winter leg wear.

But sometimes I can't get around wearing jeans, as visiting clients in hiking pants, while keeping me warm, might not look too professional; not to mention the sporadic dinner or party. And while I occasionally was looking for alternatives to the much dreaded jeans, I never found something locally. Happily the internet allows me to shop for superior products, be they from Japan, Spain or the USA.

I don't remember how I found Outlier. Maybe because they have a cooperation with Hyperlite Mountain Gear for a UL city backpack. Yeah, that probably was it. They're a small company, manufacturing in the Big Apple, and combine function, good materials and simple, clean looks into highly practical everyday garments.

Browsing their site I quickly saw the Woolback OG pants - their winter pants. It's built on the outside with a Schoeller self-cleaning Nanosphere treatment which gives the pants a nice resistance to dirt, snow and water (and baby spit =), while the inside is lined with brushed merino wool to keep you warm. This has the benefit that I can forgo the long johns till around -5°C, as it keeps my legs warm enough when walking. My size 32 is roomy enough to fit a pair of Woolpower long johns underneath them when the thermometer drops to -20°C or more, while still being not confining - a problem I usually have with jeans.

The pants keep the wind out fine, and indeed offer a lot of stretch - cycling and skiing are no problem in them. I wouldn't even think about skiing in Jeans, but the Woolback OG feel so comfy that I sometimes surprise myself when I realize that I didn't change into my usual skiing pants. Did I mention that they look smart? Going to a business meeting or to the Café is absolutely possible in them, even encouraged. While some of my colleagues come in Gore Tex pants and thick puffy pants to work and then change into something more comfy, I can just walk into the office, sit down, looking smart and don't overheat. Perfect.

If you're looking for one winter pants, which does it all - take a good look at the Outlier Woolback OG. Technical materials and smart looks combined in one fine pants which keeps you warm and looking cool, on the bike and at the office. I'm not going to wear anything else anymore.

Disclaiming the Disclaimer