How ski trekking started

Skiing competition in 1932. Photo Collection of Lahti City Museums.

In Finland, cross-country ski treks, i.e. long-distance fitness skiing events, date back to the 19th century.

Oulun hiihto, later known as Oulun Tervahiihto, is the world’s longest-running annual skiing event, continuously held since 1889. In 1945, Oulun Tervahiihto began to take on a more cross-country ski trekking format over its 73 km route. Ordinary fitness skiers could participate in the so-called tourist series alongside the competition series.

Finland’s first ski trek event, however, is considered to be the 87 km Pirkan Hiihto from Niinisalo to Tampere, which began in 1955. Pirkan Hiihto is still skied by around 1,500 participants, and the distance has become established at 90 km. Today, Vasaloppet (Vaasahiihto), held in Sweden, is the world’s largest single cross-country ski race. The traditional 90 km event has grown in reputation since 1922.