Tour skating in Finland is breathtaking – in both senses of the word.
Much better than travelling around in circles on a man made ice rink, tour skating not only gets you out into remote, tranquil snow-drenched natural scenery, but also gives you a hefty dose of exercise in crisp, clean and fresh air.
With its almost 200,000 lakes and thousand kilometres of coastline, Finland is the ideal place to try the sport. The tour skating season runs between January and April. During that time there’s no shortage of skatable ice, particularly in the Lakeland and Baltic Sea regions.
Åland is a cluster of Finnish islands in the Baltic Sea. All skating here takes place on sea ice – so while beautiful, it’s can be an unpredictable spot. The best part of tour skating here is the absence of snow. In other locations tracks have to be dug into the snow, but in Åland skaters are completely free in where they want to go. We can’t think of another place where you can strap a pair of skates on and cruise between the islands of an archipelago.
The city of Kuopio lies by Lake Kallavesi. Every winter residents set up a track on the lake, which is home to the country’s premier tour skating event – the Finland Ice Marathon (info in English here). The event mixes competitive long distance races with recreational routes. A number of other activities like moonlight skating are run in conjunction.
The town of Savonlinna sits on the shore of Finland’s biggest lake, the Saimaa. Located just half an hour away is Linnansaari National Park, home of Finland’s longest tour skating route.
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…Brett Ackroyd