User Experience: Mountain Biking in Lapland

Oct 11, 2014 at 0:04
Oct 11, 2014
by Jaakko Posti  
 
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If mountain biking with a bit of an adventure fascinates you look no further than Lapland in Finland. The land of extremes will reward you with a single track paradise remote enough to make your trip feel like an adventure. Clearly marked routes and a comprehensive network of huts and shelters will make your days of exploring a joy.

Riding in Lapland
North shore skinnies in Finnish style? Usually the swamps and wet sections of the trails are covered with wooden planks so it is easy to get over them. Here Antte is riding on a XC style trail in Äkäskero near the village of Äkäslompolo in North Finland.

Riding in Lapland
The tree line here in North Finland is at a quite low altitude and one just has to pedal couple hundred meters up to get to these round and plain areas.

Riding in Lapland

Riding in Lapland

Lapland is located around and above the Arctic Circle that runs trough the city of Rovaniemi in Finland. The city of Rovaniemi is located around 900 kilometers north from Helsinki and the nature and wildlife in Lapland are very similar to the nature of Alaska and Canada. The true Lapland starts around 150 kilometers North from Rovaniemi where small mountains called fells start to rise. The shape of fells are rounded and they are isolated from the nearby forests. In clear weather you’ll be able to enjoy a view you’re probably not use to - the vast forests continue as long as you can see and there are no signs of settlement around.


Riding in Lapland
Although the downhill sections on the trails might not be that long they sure can be fun.

Riding in Lapland

Riding in Lapland
While we were riding in Äkäskero couple weeks back the autumn colours were really in full splendour.

Riding in Lapland

Riding in Lapland

In Lapland you don’t need to be bear aware or worry about other wildlife causing a threat to you. You’ll be quite sure to see reindeers however and you’ll need to take care of staying on a marked path. In the backcountry you’re off the grid most of the time so be sure to take care about the usual precautions when pointing your bicycle into the wild.


Riding in Lapland
Antte is actually a Telemark skier but he enjoys mountain biking on the offseason

Riding in Lapland

Riding in Lapland
It doesn´t feel like an adventure if your feet ain't wet.

The village of Äkäslompolo is good place to start your adventure. Easiest way to get there is to book flights to Kittilä in Finland and take a rental car.The national forestry of Finland "Metsähallitus" is taking care of the state owned land. They are slowly understanding the value of mountain biking and adding new mountain biking routes all around. For more information check out their website at metsa.fi and recreation maps for Finnish Lapland at excursionmap.fi

Words by Antte Lauhamaa
Photos and captions by Jaakko Posti
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90 Comments

  • + 188
 Said it before, I'll say it again- more of this please Pinkbike. This stuff may not be hardcore or gnarly, but its real mountain biking to me. Stunning photos.
  • + 66
 it is the riding I would say ~80% of mountain bikers do (excluding hardcore downhillers/dirt jumpers) - out on the trails having fun solo or with your friends...

Screw the spirit of enduro - it's the spirit of riding.
  • + 21
 Yes please! More of this. It so looks like Northern Yukon. Why no fear of bears that you mentioned?
  • - 100
flag holyrider3 (Oct 11, 2014 at 2:03) (Below Threshold)
 GET A PROPER BIKE DH 4 LYF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 Looks like the same frame I have. What wheels are you running?
  • + 4
 truth. Comp results and shit like that doesn't really appeal to me that much.
  • + 12
 @leelau

1. A regulation of the number of bears combined with the amount of people the bears get exposed too makes the encounters that are dangerous far and few between. It's not Yellowstone we are talking about.

2. The brown bears are very shy - even if you are be close to one you would not know, they'll just sit tight and wait for you to go away. Not at all like black bears who tend to be all up in your shit.
  • + 2
 Agreed - this really is the riding that I would think that most of us can relate too. Maybe not quite with the same scenery though Smile
  • + 2
 Stunning, inspiring, strange and different. Imagine riding there during the summer solstice…go on forever...
  • + 6
 Thanks guys for the kind words! I try to post some more similar but different stuff here. Maybe next from North Norway..?
  • + 3
 @choppertank3e The frame Antte is riding is Kona cadabra. I think the wheels he has are some wheels from superstarcomponents.com
  • + 2
 Northern Norway would be cool. Riding in and around the Arctic Circle is very beautifully unique
  • + 2
 Incredible photos! Thanks for sharing, hoping to see more of this, please.
  • + 1
 Thanks a lot! More to come! Smile
  • + 19
 Great story, amazing pictures,and Adventure. Please Pink Bike, more to these.
  • + 4
 Thanks a lot!
  • + 2
 agreed!! the photos are so amazing, totally adding Lapland to my bucket (ride) list!! Thanks @JaakkoPosti!
  • + 1
 Thanks a lot for the kind words! I will post some more material of northern riding during the autumn Smile
  • + 13
 MORE OF THIS TYPE OF ARTICLE.

This was a weird comment -

"Antte is actually a Telemark skier but he enjoys mountain biking on the offseason"

Can't he be both?
  • + 5
 Free the heel, free the mind!
  • + 3
 Squat to ski, squat to pee..............................................JUST KIDDING! Wink
  • + 1
 If it were easy it would be called snowboarding?
  • + 3
 Yeah he can and is both! Maybe a bit stupid caption from my part. If interested you can check some of Anttes freeheeling from www.anttelauhamaa.com
  • + 4
 I rode in Lapland a couple of years ago with my wife and it was so sweet. Rode through a herd of reindeer...they were mellow and dug my wife's Transition Bandit! The Finnish people were super cool too...really chilled out and happy to show you the good spots. We'll be going back for sure.
  • + 1
 I´m glad you liked your trip here. Always nice to hear!
  • + 7
 Lapland... Home of lap dancing Smile Komeet maisemat.
  • + 5
 Thanks and kiitos! joo hyvää polkua ja hienoja maisemia. Vieläkö saatais nämä lapin kansallispuistot kunnolla aukaistua maastopyöräilylle, niin keralla nousis suomen profiili maastopyöräily maana.
  • + 1
 Saatais nyt edes MH sallimaan ajelu muuallakin kun sorateillä... Eikös nuo Äkäskeron maisemat ole teoreettisella tasolla vähän kiellettyjä. Todella hienoa kuitenkin että saadaan vähän näkyvyyttä. Jos noita ulkomaaneläviä alkais täällä päin näkyä niin ehkä ne polut alkais aueta virallisestiki.
  • + 1
 From Google translator -

1st reply -

Thanks and thanks! yeah good trail and some great scenery. Still we turned down the Lapp national parks properly opened by mountain biking , the care taker rise from Finland profile mountain biking country.

2nd reply -

Now we turned down even to allow the MH to run the rest of the gravel roads ... Did not those Äkäskero scenery is not a theoretical level a little prohibited. Really great , however, to give a little visibility. If those living abroad I would start to appear around here so maybe they 'd start to open paths virallisestiki .
  • + 1
 Well the point from the finnish posts above are that the Department of Forest have technically forbidden to ride on the trails in National Parks...although people ride on those trails anyway because it is stated in Finland`s law that you`re allowed to move without motored vehicles anywhere you want in the nature, excluding military bases and such. But now the wind of changes have begun to strengthen and if I remember correctly the DoF is about to make it legal to bicycle on trails in National Parks.
  • + 1
 @toaster29 ja @Woodwhistler tuohon alueella liikkumisen luvanvaraisuudesta: Asiasta on olemassa Metsähallituksen päätös nro 2239/623/2008 (Pallas-Yllästunturin kansallispuiston järjestysssääntö), jonka kohdan 2.3. mukaan kansallispuistossa saa liikkua omin voimin. Lisäksi ko. järjestyssäännön mukaan Äkäskeron alue kuuluu virkistysvyöhykkeeseen. Maastopyöräily ole sellaista toimintaa, jota voidaan pitää järjestyssäännön kohdan 2.1. mukaisen yleisen kiellon alaisena toimintana - maastopyöräily kun ei vahingoita luontoa (kävelyä enempää), se ei häiritse alueen eläimistöä (kävelyä enempää), se ei vaikuta epäedullisesti alueen luonnonoloihin eikä maisemaan. Polkupyöräily on sallittu puiston alueella (kohdan 2.3. mukaan) ainoastaan tarkoitusta varten osoitetuilla reiteillä. Koska puiston opasteissa ei ole riittävän selvästi osoitettu niitä reittejä, jotka ovat nimenomaisesti tarkoitettu polkupyöräilyyn, meidän tulkintamme on, että Äkäskeron virkistysvyöhykkeellä polkupyöräily on sallittua.
  • + 1
 Äärimmäisen hyvä tulkinta.Smile
  • + 2
 Wooo! Great art. Looks like my home in mid Sweden.

Except for all the bears & valley marshes its trail paradise here too. Big mountains, clean air, great trails. (think i move to Norway=no bears).

I am jealous of the low tree line. Here its at least a 40 min climb to where the trees are starting to disappear. Thank you for this Lappland article of Finland. Want to see it. Big up.
  • + 1
 Thanks a lot skogsmulle101! The terrain in mid Sweden looks really fun though! If you have to climb that much then you must have some fun descents on those forrest trails there!
  • + 5
 Really great landscapes! Photos are amazing.
  • + 2
 Thanks a lot!
  • + 5
 Landscape is just beautiful but it looks cold out there Smile
  • + 2
 I know...and he still goes river plunging in those temps! Respect, but I'm sure I would opt for jumping rock to rock!
  • + 1
 the trick is to keep on moving! Those rocks can be awfully slippery Smile
  • + 3
 Nice stuff. I visited Lapland (Levi) in the winter a couple of years ago and loved it. I'd wondered what the riding would be like once the snow melted.
  • + 2
 Thanks a lot! This place isn´t that far away from Levi. There is some quite descent riding in Levi also and a Bike park.
  • + 2
 Great photos and story! Great to see someone from Finland posting here!Next summer there..Ncvomit mennään ajamaan joku kerta Wink
  • + 1
 sano vaan päivä, ni mennään Big Grin
  • + 1
 Thanks guys! Kiitos!
  • + 4
 Would of been better if you got santa riding the bike! Big Grin
  • + 2
 Yeah we have quite a lot that Santa stuff here! Big Grin
  • + 1
 in all seriousness it's a beautiful looking place mate.
  • + 1
 Yeah! Also loving the English countryside!
  • + 1
 Amazing stories...more of this Pinkbike. Most value add along with the reviews and "Racer's Perspective". The only issue is the bucket list...it's starting to get VERY long. Smile
  • + 2
 Reminds me of the back yard. Riding is riding no matter how or what. That's the great part about mum nature - she doesn't care.
  • + 1
 Looks like Canadian tundra. not many Canadians have seen Canadian tundra. Beautiful pics. I like bears. Seen plenty of them. They want nothing to do with me . Rain deer during rutting season are probably far more dangerous.
  • + 1
 Yeah you might want to avoid getting between the males and female reindeer (no clue what they're called in english). The males have a habit of getting a bit jealous..Smile
  • + 4
 This looks awesome, I need to get to Finland!
  • + 1
 I was planning to do a trip like this in Northern Canada next year but reindeer instead of grizzlies has me convinced this might be a perfect alternative.
  • + 2
 Yeah reindeers are a lot more mellower than grizzlies! Smile
  • + 2
 This is awesome! Went to lapland when I was younger, what a beautiful and unique place. Thanks for sharing yo
  • + 2
 Gald you liked it! both the trip here and the post we did Smile
  • + 2
 Incredible scenery! I am guessing all of this was taken recently during fall when the colors are at a high?
  • + 1
 Yeah we were there couple of weeks ago. In Finnish this period of autumn colors is called ruska.
  • + 3
 Looks like great singetrack!
  • + 1
 Yeah it is. Hopefully we soon can get the Finnish Department of Forrest to realize that mountain bikers and hikers can fit on same trails and they officially open the National Parks to Mountain Bikers. There really is really good adventure trails here in North Finland.
  • + 4
 Looks amazing!!
  • + 3
 yeah! a bit different scenery that you have in there Laguna Smile
  • + 3
 Haha - yeah, VERY different! I'm jealous Smile All the plants are dead here
  • + 4
 Hah! well I would´t mind some sweet warm dusty trails now and then Big Grin
  • - 17
flag holyrider3 (Oct 11, 2014 at 4:42) (Below Threshold)
 Iv just bought a boardman mtb from halfords, great service Smile probs better than this bike
  • + 4
 WOW YOU HAVE A HALFORDS BIKE
  • + 2
 now not all halfords bikes are bad, I have road a boardman for 3 seasons and they are a dream and the voodoo's came really well spec'd for the money too! fantastic starter premium bikes, but holy god holyrider3 is a dooch of the highest level!
  • - 1
 Some beauty fall colour shots there....similar terrain farther north in BC here (and farther of course)...minor critique is those wheels...a bit distracting if I'm being completely honest
  • + 2
 Those wheels look RAD in your photos honest.
  • + 1
 Thanks a lot loopie! Yeah it is hard to argue on the matter of bad taste! Wink
  • + 3
 FINLAND!!!! YEA
  • + 2
 Beautiful landscape. Love riding in cold
  • + 2
 Yup no off season just year round fun Big Grin
  • + 1
 well technically yes! Big Grin
  • + 2
 Kids wanna go see Santa ? Smile
  • + 2
 The Santa Park here in Rovaniemi is open during the summer time also Wink
  • + 3
 Watch for trolls.
  • + 2
 thankfully the biggest and baddest trolls live on the Norwegian side of the border.
  • + 1
 Looks like fun. Incredible scenery
  • + 1
 Todella kaunis! On pakko palata takaisin pöyrän kanssa!
  • + 1
 Kiitos!
  • + 1
 Sweet shots dude, have you thought about getting a fatbikeWink
  • + 1
 I was thinking the exact same thing...wonder how those trails look during winter too
  • + 2
 Fatbikes are awesome on these trails!
  • + 1
 Yes I have thought about it but my wallet is still trying to get used to idea Wink Lot of my friends have fatbikes and they work pretty good here. On winter time most of the trails are covered on snow but the most popular trails usually have snowmobile tracks to ride on
  • + 2
 Fatbikes are really working well here and there are several interesting nature parks and wilderness areas to visit with bikes especially now as there are few projects targeted to improve the riding possibilities. Here you can find few pics from our fatbike trip to Hossa (located at eastern Finland) last week. www.flickr.com/photos/63111529@N03/sets/72157648007567938
  • + 1
 Great stuff Mika!

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