Finlandia’s different forms

Backpack-Finlandia of 1989 offered only essential maintenance and a couple of drinking stations. Photo Collection of Finlandia-hiihto.

During the history of Finlandia-hiihto, new events have been added to the product family, for example Backpack-Finlandia, Moonlight-Finlandia, Finlandia-Fatbike, Finlandia-Nordic walking and Children’s Finlandia.

Backpack-Finlandia was skied for the first time in 1985 – the day before the actual Finlandia-hiihto. Backpack-Finlandia was a response to the growth in participant numbers. It was no longer possible to fit everyone into the actual Finlandia-hiihto, so a supplementary event was organised. Backpack-Finlandia offered only essential maintenance and a couple of drinking stations. The rules required the skiers to carry a backpack along with them throughout the event. Some 1,220 skiers registered for the first event, but the extreme cold (-29 C degrees at the start) cut the number of starters as well as skiers along the route so that only 582 skiers reached the finish line. The backpack event was skied for the final time in 1999.

The idea of Moonlight-Finlandia, held in 1989, was to ski the classic 75 km route under the moonlight and complete the distance in 7–11 hours. The participants could determine their skiing speed in advance and select their skiing group accordingly. They were expected to commit to skiing led by a guide and to staying within their group. It was possible to change groups at rest stops, thus enabling skiers to possibly move to a slower group. A headlamp was available for anyone just in case the moon did not shine. A total of 107 skiers registered for the event. The original route had to be abandoned due to weather conditions and the event was skied over a 50 km route. This was fortunate, because otherwise it would have been an excessively long nocturnal trek. The time taken varied from 4.5 to 7 hours. Skiing in a group and lingering at campfire stops created a great atmosphere, but the moon was not visible all night, and not everyone wanted to remain in their groups.

Participants in the Children’s-Finlandia, 2016. Photo Collection of Finlandia-hiihto.

The Children’s-Finlandia was skied for the first time in 2014 and nearly 2,000 children from schools in Lahti, Nastola and Hollola participated. School children aged 7 to 15 years skied at the event.