X-Country Skiing in Enontekiö

XC Skiing | Popular 55km Hetta-Pallas Ski Route | XC Skiing Trails Elsewhere in Enontekiö |

XC Skiing

The Ounastunturi, Pallastunturi and Yllästunturi Fells together have about 500 km of marked skiing trails and there are 100s of kilometers of trails leading out directly from Hetta. Many are maintained by machines during the main part of the season and websites exist which show when the trails have been groomed or not.

A finnish webpage documents the weekly piston pulley track opening schedule along these, so check here to discover the most recently groomed trails on any given day...

The winter tourist season and maintenance of trails begins at Ylläs as soon as the first snow falls, in Ounastunturi Fells when there is a sufficient amount of snow and in the Pallastunturi Fells in early February. Before this, skiers can enjoy the silence and darkness of winter while treading their own trails.

The first tracks start being maintained as soon as the first snows have fallen to sufficient depth. A wider network is opened as soon as the rivers and lakes have frozen securely and by mid-February (traditionally the time of the so-called Finnish skiing holiday), the whole network is open. Trails continued to be groomed as long as conditions stay good.

In Hetta, the only trail opened in the early winter is an illuminated 10km trail which leads out directly from the centre of the village. As soon as there is a sufficient amount of snow a ski trail to Pyhäkero is opened as well. All the area's trails are usually open by the middle of February. By then, there are many maintained skiing trails in the Hetta Area.

Most of these trails are suited for classical and freestyle cross-country skiing. The ski trail network is maintained by the municipality of Enontekiö and by Ounaksen Tunturiladut Oy.

There are two starting points for ski trails on the north side of Hetta. They are Skierri, Fell Lapland Nature Centre Skierri and behind the Enontekiö centre school buildings. Starting points for the cross-country skiing trails which enter the National Park are behind the municipality offices at the fishing harbour and at Paavontalo House at the east end of the village of Hetta.

Here is a map of the ski routes around Hetta. Alternatively, open the map of the Hetta ski trails, below.

Lit Skiing Trail (10 km)
A lit skiing trail circles around Jyppyrävaara Hill and it could be called "the first snow trail" as it is opened to the public when the first permanent snow falls in October-November. The trail is moderately demanding and it is suited for both classical and free-style cross-country skiing. When the days get shorter the lights along the trail light up at twilight and switch off at 10 pm. The starting point for the lit trail is behind the school buildings. The ski trail climbs to the top of a hill and there skiers can find a 3,3 km circle trail which should be skied counter-clockwise. The trail is maintained by the municipality of Enontekiö. A connecting trail from the lit trail leads to Fell Lapland Nature Centre. This connecting trail is opened normally during late winter. The connecting trail also leads to the Hetta Ski Centre that is being built at Jyppyrä.

Pahtajärvi Skiing Trail (about 18 km)
The simplest place to set off on this trail is along a lit trail from behind the school buildings. Pahtajärvi Trail turns off this lit trail after about 1,6 km. The beginning parts of the trail are classified as moderately demanding, but when approaching Närpistö lean-to shelter the terrain becomes level and the final part of the trail is easy to travel. The trail continues near some dwelling houses along the River Närpistöjoki and its bank to Lake Ounasjärvi.

Pahtajärvi skiing trail is suited for both classical and free-style cross-country skiing, although it is considered by most as a classical cross-country trail. Skiers may ski in either direction along the trail. The fastest descents along the trail are on both sides of Sissanki rental hut (Sissangin kota). After snowfall the trail is usually opened after maintaining the Pyhäkero, Sioskuru and Onnasvaara ski trails. The trail is maintained by Ounaksen Tunturiladut Oy. Skiers can also get onto the trail at Fell Lapland Nature Centre. In this case it is advisable to ski via Paljasselkä to Närpistö lean-to shelter and from there via Lake Pahtajärvi to Hetta.

Services: Sissanki rental hut (Sissangin kota) which is located between Sissanginselkä and Paljasselkä. The hut can be rented for overnight stays otherwise it is locked. Närpistö lean-to shelter is located at the trail's halfway point.
Sights: Lake Pahtajärvi, a long and narrow ravine lake.

Hetta-Pyhäkero Skiing Trail (about 7 km)
There are several ski trails which go to Pyhäkero open wilderness hut, which is in Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park. All these trails cross Lake Ounasjärvi. The easiest trails are the most eastern trail which starts from Paavontalo House or Hetan Kota and the most western trail, which also starts in the centre of Hetta. The middle trail is classified as moderately demanding.

The skiing trails are suited for both classical and free-style cross-country skiing and have separate tracks for each direction. Skiers can ski the trails in either direction. Because all the area's ski trails return via Lake Ounasjärvi to Hetta Village it is possible to return along a different ski trail than the one you left by. After snowfall the trails between Hetta and Pyhäkero are maintained and opened first. The trail is maintained by Ounaksen Tunturiladut Oy.

Services: Pyhäkero open wilderness hut and Pyhäkero Café. The café is open during peak season.

Hetta - Pyhäkero - Sioskuru Skiing Trail (about 15 km)
Skiers can reach Sioskuru Ravine in Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park by first skiing to Pyhäkero open wilderness hut, which can be reached from different spots around the village of Hetta. From Pyhäkero the ski trail continues through sparse pine forest until you arrive at the long and narrow Koivukuru Ravine. In the ravine you should watch out for skiers heading in the opposite direction. After exiting the ravine there is a treeless hill top. At the trails halfway point is a crossroads from where a ski trail to Sammalvaara parts from the main trail. After the crossroads the ski trail begins a slow descent towards Sioskuru Ravine, where skiers can find rest at Sioskuru open and reservable wilderness hut.

After snowfall the ski trail leading from Pyhäkero Fell to Sioskuru Ravine is usually on the maintenance list straight after the Hetta-Pyhäkero ski trails. The Sioskuru trail has separate tracks for each direction and it is suited for classic and free-style cross-country skiing. From Pyhäkero onward the trail is classified as moderately demanding. The trail is maintained by Ounaksen Tunturiladut Oy.
Services: Pyhäkero open wilderness hut and Pyhäkero Café, Sioskuru open and reservable hut.

Ullajärvi Skiing Trail, about 20 km.
Skiers can get onto this trail if they first follow the most eastern trail from Ounasjärvi to Pyhäkero. When the trail reaches behind Lake Ounasjärvi Ullajärvi trail turns left off of it. The trail first leads near Lake Ullanjärvi and then joins Onnasvaara trail about 2,5 km before Pyhäkero wilderness hut. From the crossroads skiers can also go via the Onnasvaara Hills towards Sioskuru Ravine. If skiers choose this trail the routes length is 39 km.

The only part of the ski trail that is demanding the portion between Pyhäkero and Onnasvaara. Otherwise the trail is classified as easy.

Ullajärvi Skiing Trail is a wilderness ski trail and is one of the last to be opened after snowfall. There is no free-style cross country track on the portion that leads through wilderness, but it is still possible at points. Skiers can follow the trail in either direction. The trail is maintained by Ounaksen Tunturiladut Oy.
Services: Pyhäkero open wilderness hut and Pyhäkero Café

Sammalvaara Skiing Trail (about 30 km)
Skiers may ski this trail in either direction. Skiers can first ski from Hetta to Pyhäkero and on towards

Sioskuru Ravine until Sammalvaara trail parts from the trail leading all the way to Sioskuru. Skiers who set off from Hetta can get on the trail by first skiing along the most western trail leading to Pyhäkero. Sammalvaara trail turns off this trail. For the most part the trail travels through easy to cross terrain. If skiing from the Hetta direction there is, however, one fast descent before Postitupajärvi lean-to shelter.

Sammalvaara trail is a wilderness ski trail which is last on the maintenance list after heavy snowfall. The trail is maintained by Ounaksen Tunturiladut Oy.
Services: Pyhäkero open wilderness hut and Pyhäkero Café, Postitupajärvi lean-to shelter and Rautujärvi campfire site.

Onnasvaara Skiing Trail (about 38 km)
From Hetta skiers head to Pyhäkero open wilderness hut, from where they turn left. Onnasvaara trail circles around Pyhäkero via Onnasvaara Hills and then returns via Sioskuru Ravine to Hetta. Visitors should follow the ski trail in a clock-wise direction. From Pyhäkero to Savilampi campfire shelter the ski trail is demanding. Some descents along the trail are steep and have many turns. When coming to hills watch out for skiers heading in the opposite direction. From the campfire shelter to Sioskuru Ravine the terrain is not demanding to cross. The ski trail is suited for classic cross-country as well as free-style cross-country. This ski trail is the third to get maintained and restored after snowfall after the Pyhäkero and Sioskuru skiing trails. It is maintained by Ounaksen Tunturiladut Oy.
Services: Pyhäkero open wilderness hut and Pyhäkero Café, Savilampi campfire shelter and Sioskuru open and reservable wilderness hut

Popular Hetta-Pallas (53-60km) Ski Route in the National Park

A popular summer trail, this route is also a XC skiing trail in the winter. The distance is between 53 and 60 km depending on what route you choose. The winter trail leads lower on the slopes than the summer one through forest landscape and across mires, though between the Sioskuru and Hannunkuru Ravines the trail travels above the tree-line. There are two trails from Hannunkuru Ravine to Pallas; one on the east and the other on the west side of the fells. It is possible to turn off both trails to go to either Montelli wilderness hut or the Namalakuru one.

Ski trails are managed by local businesses. The condition of the trail leading from Sioskuru wilderness hut to Hannunkuru wilderness hut and on from there on the west side of the fells to Namalakuru depends on the maintenance traffic of Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park employees. The distances between the wilderness huts are longer along the winter trail than on the summer trail.

The ski trails are marked with cross signs and in forested areas with blue rope or a triangle symbol. Ski season begins in mid-February at the time when ski holidays start for children in southern Finland, and continues to the end of April. If it is a very cold and snowy spring the winter trail can be skied up till mid-May. For the most part winter trails are too wet during summer to be hiked. The same huts available during the summer are available for this route in the summer – see the Hiking section for more details.

XC Skiing Trails Elsewhere in Enontekiö

Whilst Hetta has, by far, the widest network of groomed trails in Enontekiö, a few trails can be found also elsewhere.There are several maintained ski trails, for instance, around the village of Kilpisjärvi. You can ski around Saana Fell or to the spot where Finland’s, Sweden’s and Norway’s borders all meet. There’s also a maintained trail around Salmivaara Hill.

There are no maintained ski trails within Käsivarsi Wilderness Area, but visitors may ski on snowmobile tracks. In late spring the snow is so thick and strong that ready made tracks and trails are no longer needed. Then visitors may choose their way freely off-trails.

In winter visitors can ski from Kilpisjärvi to Halti Fell along almost the same route as they would hike during summer. This ski trail is not, however, marked in the terrain. Then wooden poles marking the Nordkalottleden Trail are not visible from under the snow. Visitors can spend their nights in open or reservable wilderness huts or in tents. Please note that there may also be snowmobiles on this route.

In springtime, for instance, there is a maintained skiing trail (11 km) in Malla Strict Nature Reserve in Kilpisjärvi. There is also a marked skiing trail from Kilpisjärvi through Koltalahti to the Three Nations’ Border Point (10 km). You can access the trails on the shore at Hotel Kilpis and Kilpisjärven retkeilykeskus, the local lodging and excursion centre, among other places. There are also other maintained skiing trails in the area, and a short lit trail.