Kiilopää Winter Trails: Luulampi Cross-Country Skiing Tour

Kiilopää Winter Trails: Luulampi Cross-Country Skiing Tour

On the cross-country skiing routes of Kiilopää and Saariselkä you can find Finland's biggest ascents and descents in open fell scenery. Fell skiing on a sunny, frosty day is a great experience in pure nature.

From Suomen Latu Kiilopää's fell center starts one of the most beautiful cross-country skiing track routes, the ‘Luulammen lenkki’. Luulampi cross-country skiing track is a loop route, that runs mostly through Urho Kekkonen National Park. The approximately 19-kilometer journey includes challenging ascents, long and fast downhills, wonderfull winter fell scenery and several nice rest places.

On the cross-country skiing routes of Kiilopää and Saariselkä you can find Finland's biggest ascents and descents in open fell scenery. It's easy to go to the skiing tracks starting from Kiilopää for both shorter and longer day trips. Fell skiing on a sunny, frosty day is a great experience in pure nature.

How to get to Kiilopää

  • By airplane: Kiilopää is located around 46 kilometers from Ivalo airport. Finnair flies to Ivalo during the winter season. The airport bus schedule to Kiilopää follows the flights schedule.
  • By train and bus: By VR train, you should choose Rovaniemi as your final stop. There are daily bus services to Kiilopää from Rovaniemi.
  • By bus: There are several buses from Rovaniemi and Ivalo to Kiilopää during the winter season.

Kiilopää cross-country skiing tracks

Kiilopää's ski tracks are part of a larger travel center, which also includes Saariselkä, Kakslauttanen and Laanila. There is a total of two hundred kilometers of maintained skiing track network, of which there are about 35 kilometers of lighted tracks. There are approximately 150 kilometers of skiing trails in the Kiilopää and Saariselkä region, including wilderness trails.

The core area of the skiing track network has wide tracks that are suitable for traditional and skate skiing. In the fell area, you can freely ski also on less frequently opened narrower natural trails and on your own routes. The maintenance of the narrow wilderness trails begins in February.

In the fell area, the weather can change from a clear blue sky to a complete whiteout and blizzard in one day (and even a skiing tour). On a slightly longer trip, especially in the fells, you should know the basics of winter hiking.

The Luulampi skiing track is marked with orange sticks on the terrain.

Luulampi skiing track starting from Kiilopää

The first ascent to the fells towards the northern slopes of Kiilopää fell is the hardest part of the whole tour, especially if you are pulling a pulk sled behind you. The ascent continues for almost two kilometers. However, the slope is mostly gentle, and you can ski it the whole way.

The scenery in the fells is quickly rewarding. A little higher up there’s also another trail made by a snowmobile.

The highest point is 472 meters. From Kiilopää, incredibly beautiful winter landscapes open up to the Urho Kekkonen National Park and the Hammastunturi wilderness area. If you don’t have time to ski around the entire Luulampi route, you should at least ski up to Kiilopää fell for the scenery.

Up in the fell there is a gentle slope for a short distance. The trail signpost has gathered a thick blanket of ice on it during the cold winter days. From here you could ski to the top of Kiilopää fell to admire the scenery also on the south side of the fell.

The descent from the heights of Kiilopää down to the foot of the fell looks wild, and it is a quite fast downhill. Even if you plow with your skis, the speed accelerates to 28 kilometers per hour. There is a stunning two kilometers of direct descent in the middle of the beautiful whiteness.

The gently descending skiing track curves to the left towards Luulampi. After a while, there are signs and a map of the winter routes next to the track. From the signpost, you could also ski to Rautulampi along a nature trail in the Rautuvanka valley. A visit to Rautulampi will add about 12 km extra.

When I left for the ski trip, the Rautulampi track was not yet maintained after the previous days’ blizzards, so I had decided not to do the extra tour. On the day of the skiing trip, the weather was great, and the trail was immediately maintained during the morning.

Luulampi day hut

From the intersection of the Rautulampi trail, it is a fifteen-minute skiing to the Luulampi day hut. Along the way you will come across a reindeer fence with gates. The living day hut has a stove and a fireplace. There is also a campfire site, firewood and dry toilets in the courtyard area.

During the seasons in spring and autumn, a wilderness cafe operates at the hut. Then the day hut is not open for the hikers. The opening hours and entrepreneurs of the wilderness cafe have changed in recent years, at the time of my ski trip (spring 2021) the cafe was closed in the early afternoon. Fortunately, I had my own snacks.

Rumakuru old and new day huts

From Luulampi, the route continues on relatively flat track towards Rumakuru. First, you reach the old day hut in Rumakuru, where you can ski from Luulampi in about 45 minutes. The old day hut is tiny and cute, there is a campfire place and a woodshed in the yard.

Rumakuru's new day hut is less than a kilometer away. The new, larger day hut is popular during the winter season, and fires can often be found ready. You should still take your own matches with you on a ski trip. The view from the hut opens directly to the rugged Rumakuru gorge, which looks beautiful in its winter outfit.

The journey continues from the new day hut in Rumakuru towards Ahopäät fell. After about one and a half kilometers of skiing, you reach the intersection of four skiing tracks, from where you can get to Laanila and Saariselkä. Continue to Kiilopää on the trail on the left.

From Ahopäät to Kiilopää

The skiing track alternately ascends and descends through a couple of steep but short hills to the lower slopes of Pieranvaara fell, where the final ascent towards Ahopäät begins. You ski to the top of Ahopäät almost as high as the initial part of the journey to Kiilopää fell, about 400 meters. In good weather, you can admire Saariselkä's Kaunispää and Nattaset fells towering far to the south.

There is also a long and fast descent down the fell from Ahopäät. If the track is in good condition, you can ski down the slope safely even with zero visibility.

The last picture from the top of Ahopää fell illustrates what it looks like in a whiteout in the open fell scenery - white on white. The tree in the picture is the only tree up there, otherwise it really is just white.

From the top of Ahopäät, it is only one and a half kilometers to the starting point in Kiilopää. The last few hundred meters you will ski in a forest.

Even if you've had snacks from your backpack on the ski trip, it's nice to go to Kiilopää's cafe at the fell center after the trip to warm up and enjoy a hot cup of coffee.

According to my sports watch the length of the trip was 19.2 km and the duration was 4 h 50 min. Quite a good workout as I had full-length skins on the bottoms of the fell skis the whole time and a pulk sled!

Links

Suomen Latu Kiilopää
Skiing track situation in Saariselkä
VR Trains
Matkahuolto Bus Service
Finnair

Luulampi cross-country skiing route Kiilopää

  • Destination: Saariselkä/Kiilopää, Urho Kekkonen National Park, Lapland, Finland
  • Length: 18.5 km
  • Difficulty level: moderate/demanding (ascent and descent of Kiilopää fell)
  • When to go: from February to April (check the skiing track situation in advance)
  • Duration: 3-4 h (cross-country skiing at a leisurely pace)
     

Finland Cross-Country Skiing Fells Winter Urho Kekkonen National Park Kiilopää
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