Cross Country Ski School
Lapland is the ideal place either to learn to XC ski or, indeed, to improve your tech-nique. There are thousands of kilometres of maintained tracks here in the height of the skiing season and the season itself is one of the longest in Europe. In addition to the wilderness tracks, Hetta has one 10km-long illuminated ski track which can be used at any time of the day or night. Depending on the level of the group, we will start the ski school either on the illuminated track or on the flat surface of Lake Ounasjarvi.
Within a 2-hour session, most people will be able to learn enough to glide comfortably on their skis on the flat sections and to brave some of the smaller ascents and descents, both in and out of the groomed tracks.Programme Duration: c. 2 hours
There are a vast number of cross-country ski trails around Hetta. If you are interested in some guided skiing, we will start by talking with you ahead of time to ascertain your skill levels and interests before agreeing together on the most suitable groomed trails for you. For many people, being accompanied by a guide gives a degree of confidence when heading out into the Arctic nature - and we can help you to access or avoid the more challenging hills.
Programme Duration: Our standard ski mornings or afternoons normally last c. 4 hours and cost€40 per adult.
Price Includes: equipment hire and professional guiding on the local Hetta-area trails.
The Hetta trail network is maintained by a number of different companies. Information about the most recently groomed tracks can always be found here.
Hetta's downhill ski centre has the perfect slopes for beginner to intermediate skiers. Hence, if there is a skill that you haven't yet tried, or if you want to perfect an existing skill, there are a number of ski instructors who will be more than happy to help you to achieve your goals.
Programme Duration: c. 3 hours
Price Includes: half-day lift pass, equipment hire and professional instruction
Each year in March and April, two large ultra-ski races come to Hetta. One travels between Hetta and Kautokeino in Norway in alternate directions in alternate years and has three different distances classes. One is the last in a series of races held every second day over a period of a week and journeys 80km South from Hetta to Olos along the route of the Hetta-Pallas-Olos trail in the National Park.
We can guide you on anything from a morning of skiing to a full-on wilderness ski journey. When overnights are involved in our cross country ski journeys we normally stay in a wilderness hut but we can also opt to camp if that is what is prefered.
The Classic 55km Hetta-Pallas Ski Journey, Guided
One of the most popular skiing routes which starts in Enontekiö is the 55-km-long Hetta-Pallas Trail in the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park which was established in 1934.
We are happy to arrange car transfers from one end to the other (€65 per transfer) or, in Spring, to guide you on the journey itself.
The best time for skiing is from c. mid-March to end-April when the trails are well maintained, although it is also possible to ski both earlier and later in the season if you use back-country skis in case the tracks are not in existance.
The trail can be travelled from south to north or from north to south, starting and ending either in Hetta Village or Pallastunturi Visitor Centre (or beyond, eg in Ollos or Ylläs).
When travelling South from Hetta, the first (open) huts are at Pyhäkero. The next major stopping points are Sioskuru, Hannukuru and Nammalakuru, all of which have both open and bookable huts. Between Sioskuru and Hannukuru there is an open hut just off the track at Tappuri and another at Pahakuru and between Hannukuru and Nammalakuru there is an open kota and then an open sleepable-in hut at Montellin Maja. There is also an open hut at Rautuoja.
There are periodically open wilderness cafes at both Pyhäkero and c. 10km from Pallas and in both Hetta and Pallas there are interesting nature centres with exhibits and films on the nature of the area.
When our guides are ready for their first over-night ski journey, we either recommend a round-trip to the Sioskuru Huts from Hetta, or a one-way journey to or from Näkkälä, sleeping in the 'haunted hut' en route.
When leaving from Hetta at a time when the tracks are functional, the best option is to first follow the illuminated skiing trail and then branch off just before the first big uphill, where there is a signpost to Pahtajärvi / Näkkälä. (FYI: make sure you are following the one with the skier symbol since the summer track to Pahtajärvi (which is first) goes a different way.
If you are skiing early in the season - i.e. before the tracks have been prepared - you can either start from the snowmobile track that crosses the road before the Sami museum on the way to Hetan Kota or you can continue skiing past the Pahtajärvi Ski trail sign, to the top of the illuminated track loop and from there, head up the road to the old radar station. At that point, you can cut left back onto the trails.
At this point, you are very close to the first hut on the route - the bookable Sisanki cabin and the snowmobile trail you need to find to continue from there towards Näkkälä lies just a few meters to the right (it is above it, if skiing on the Pahtajärvi trail). A good tip in terms of making sure that you don't miss this hut is that it comes just before a big downhill which has a small open shelter (laavu) on the right at its end. If you reach the laavu then you know that you have passed the hut you are looking for and will have to retrace your steps up the hill.
You can then follow the snowmobile trail north all the way to Näkkälä. The open sleeping hut that we recommend using is c. 15km from Hetta – it is slightly closer to Näkkälä than to Hetta. But beware: as we have mentioned, it is known to be the most haunted hut in Finland!
When you get to Näkkälä, the snowmobile trail goes to the big lake, then up, over and down a huge hill to the left, across a couple of small lakes then under a power line where it does a c. 180 degree turn before reaching the main Näkkälä road. If the road hasn’t been gritted you can obviously ski along it without worrying about damaging your equipment. Alternatively, if you look at your map, you will be able to head towards the famous Seta stone and follow the access roads out to the main road, thereby avoiding the large hill. It might still be worth the ascent, though, if you are not too tired, since there are some pretty amazing views to be had from its top.
When looking for the start of the trail going FROM Näkkälä, it isn’t actually as shown on the map. Either walk down the roads towards the Seta rock and go from there or look for where the powerline crosses the road and follow the snowmobile markers that also cross near to there. If you see the exit to the reindeer separation / village, you have gone too far. NB: You may at first feel like you are heading in the wrong direction if you do this since the trail first heads west before turning east and then south (up the hill), so don't panic!