• BLOG
  • Pyhä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Monday morning well spent.

    I used to live and work in here briefly, in the Pyhä Ski Resort and Pyhä Luosto National Park in Northern Finland, above the Arctic Circle. Back then (I sound so old – not really sooo back then, just a few years ago) on these trails, and in a matter of fact on all the trails in this and other national parks in Finnish Lapland, mountain biking was prohibited.

    Back then, this was just a sleepy hiking and trail running paradise in summer, and skiing (alpine and Nordic) paradise in winter. This was also the place I and many more learned to really ski and where we, the kids from the neighboring towns, spent almost every winter weekend.

    Later some made it to the Olympics, some bumming to the Alps.

    Nowadays the place’s still all that but also a mountain biking paradise, both in summer and winter. This thanks to last year when, after many years of talking and lobbying, many trails in the national parks and near them were opened and even built from scratch for the two-wheeled ones, with the help of the modified park rules and the growing trend.

    In winter on snow and in summer in the most rocky parts – kind of which you find plenty of here –  the trails are best with a fatbike. A normal one is also more than fine in summer, but remember to keep a well-equipped maintenance kit with you (and good protection on) then.

    The quartzite doesn’t have much mercy.

    This time I was just trail running the appr. 12km path through this tunturiaapa marshland to the Isokuru gorge and past Karhunjuomalampi day hut back to the ski resort, and snapping few pics of these silvery pine woods, my rare favourites of the dead things in nature, and of the hill chain (tunturiketju, as we call these in Finnish) which continues north from Pyhä to Luosto ski resort and village.

    Things haven’t changed much since I left and this is always a good place to come back for a visit, as one of the few places in Lapland with the authentic original Lapland spirit left, with grey log cabin, one small hotel (which would need a renovation though) and many stories and legends to read and hear when in town.

    For starters, ask for the story of Huttu-Ukko, or of the hill on the left in the pics – Noitatuntunturi, Witchhill.

    Tiina Kivelä


    Where: Pyhä Ski Resort / Pyhä-Luosto National Park, Lapland, Finland.

    mtb trailmap

  • FINLAND
  • Racing Like A Pro – Pyhä Tunturipuolikas

    Tiina Kivelä

    Outfit of the day 12/08/2017  at Pyhä Tunturipuolikas (Pyhä Fell Half Marathon)

    | Headband: Fischer – can’t go wrong with that |

    | Shirt & shorts: H&M – surprisingly good sports gear |

    | Backpack: Salomon (with Retki hydration system – not really my favourite |

    | Shoes: On Running Cloudventure Waterproof – very impressed, though bit too wide for my feet |

    |Watch: Daniel Wellington – not impressed by the “quality” of these, not even in city |

    | Hair, tan & muscles: Switzerland – it’s been mountains and sun |

    | Bruises: Lapland – no pain no gain |

    | Sponsors: Me, myself and I | Pics: Dad |

    Tiina Kivelä

     21,5km, 650m vertical, 2:28:11

    Result: 2nd place, out of 88 women

    Where: Pyhä Ski Resort


    Tiina Kivelä

  • BLOG
  • Sunday Tour – Pyhä Ski Resort

    Tiina Kivelä

    Went skiing. Into the clouds aka Pyhä Ski Resort; kind of my home resort this is. Wasn’t so bad, although this is far (too far) away from mountains. And mountains; oh boy I miss them a lot…. But hey, lets get back to the hills. Today the snow would have been great for touring, packed and settled, but unfortunately visibility was like this. And since the weather wasn’t ideal for touring, I decided to buy the damn expensive lift ticket.

    Oh Lapland… when you’d realize you just can’t ask almost the same for 4 slow lifts and 10 slopes & 400m height while the Alps (example) offer 3000m on height and around 50 lifts and slopes – not to mention the food and wine and beer etc. But since today I got the lift to the Holy Hill (that’s Pyhätunturi literally translated) and not the Alps, I took what I got and enjoyed some expensive lift assisted freeskiing (unfortunately the holiday season had overskied the snow) and technically excellent (krhm) runs on the slopes. Which, luckily enough, were in excellent shape; it’s been a good snowy winter in Lapland. The visibility, on the other hand… Artsy.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    And now something personal (and nostalgic). As a child skiing wasn’t an elite sport. This was my home resort, our weekend living room, where we skied and partied with the local freestyle talents and tested (and improved) our limits and skills on some of the most deepest and challenging runs in Finland. Back then even the old chairlift pictured here was still running. Pyhä was also the hill which for the first time (RIP) really made me realize how dangerous and risky sport skiing is (before that incident there even was a time we skied without helmets). Back then, also the ticket prices were way below current rates (and we even got this amazing local/youth discount for the season card). Only later (moving south / abroad) did I came to understand how things like skiing or hunting weren’t the average Jane’s business, like it was (and still partly is) in Lapland.

    Today skiing for me has these two sides – on the other is the elite sport, too expensive to practice regularly (hello sponsors!), and on the other is the freeskiing and skitouring; Norway style.* And luckily cross-country skiing is still free, at least in my parent’s “backyard”.

    SHOULD YOU GO TO PYHÄ ?

    Nowadays there are few jobs left up north, especially for the highly educated like me, and very few live there year round. Nevertheless, couple of years ago I tried to get back and lived and worked in this resort/village for a while. But, even though I love(d) the wilderness and activity possibilities the outdoors have to offer, I had to admit I couldn’t live there permanently. Unfortunately so. I need other people, I need more motivating a job and I need the fresh ideas and opportunism, even the hustle, what more densely populated towns and cities have to offer.

    But for a holiday, for a short visit and relaxing in silence; Pyhä is just perfect. So if you have the money I’d recommend you to enjoy the best skiing and cross-country skiing, fatbiking, hiking (summer and winter), mountainbiking, canoeing etc. in Finland, next to the Pyhä-Luosto National Park. And if not on active mood, also chilling by the fireplace / in sauna, and eating, is more than fine. And what’s even more nice is that Pyhä is easily reachable from the hub of Lapland, aka Rovaniemi city and airport.


    Note! If and when you like freeskiing and skitouring, I’d like you to notice that even though the steep downhills make this an excellent destination (maybe even the best one in Finland) for backcountry skiing etc, the steepness and rocky terrain also make it a very risky place when it comes to avalanches and falling while running / mountain biking / hiking. So please, when you’re going into the wild there; take into account the current weather and avalanche forecast, familiarize yourself about the terrain by maps / asking locals / ski school and take care of yourself and others.


    *I’m also wondering if resort skiing should be like golf – only available for the club members. And so that also the skills, not only money, would be taken into account when distributing the shares…