Crossing three countries in five days on backcountry skis - that was the planned target for the first Fischer Transnordic in March 2020. Due to the given circumstances, this premiere unfortunately had to be postponed. But in March 2022 it finally started!
More than 500 skiing enthusiasts from all over the world have already applied for the premiere of the Fischer Transnordic in autumn 2019. The five lucky chosen ones - Linda Akerberg (SWE), Thomas Herdieckerhoff (GER), Kimmo Koistinen (FIN), Christopher Morris (CAN) and Mari Wedum (NOR) - unfortunately had to be patient. After 2.5 years of digital communication, we finally gathered live on March 28 in Kilpisjärvi, our Finnish starting point.
Day 1: From Kilpisjärvi to Kuohkimajärvi Wilderness Hut
After our guide Poppis Suomela gave us a first overview of the route the evening before, we take a closer look at the equipment in the morning. The big packing begins and already turns out to be our first challenge. As much as necessary and as little as possible is the rule - after all, we have to carry the luggage ourselves, or pull it in a pulka, which we each share with a partner. For food, cooking utensils and tents we fortunately have two dog sleds that accompany us. At 3 p.m., after a little refreshment, we finally set off. The bright blue sky of the morning has turned into a wild gray and the wind whistles around our ears. With full motivation we tackle the 15 kilometers. It goes along the lake of Kilpisjärvi. Apparently flat, the headwind makes us work hard and the -3°C feel much colder. The end of the lake comes closer only very slowly, but we reach it nevertheless. After a short up and down everyone is happy after 5 hours when we arrive at our first destination, the cosy Kuohkimajärvi Wilrdernes Hut. With making fire, melting snow and cooking food, we let the first evening end.
Distance: 15 km - Height gain: 170m - Duration: 5 hours
Day 2: From Kuohkimajärvi Wilderness Hut to Pältsa Fjällstuga
At first we start gently on the flat. At the northernmost point of Sweden, at the border triangle where Norway, Sweden and Finland meet, there is a photo shoot. Then it gets serious: The ascent to the Fjäll is a challenge with the Pulkas. Teamwork is required. With united forces we make it to the top. A seemingly endless expanse awaits us. There is no one here except a herd of reindeer. Despite a light snowfall, the sun is shining and in the glistening light we can glimpse the view. In a lively, or rather tiring up and down, we continue until we see the summit of the mountain Pältsa, at the foot of which we discover our next hut. Now there is no stopping: the skins are taken off and the descent is enjoyed - even if one or the other lands in the snow in the process. No question - the descent with Pulka wants to be practiced. The icy wind welcomes us to Sweden - so we are glad to reach Pältsa Fjällstuga after the challenging descent. In keeping with Sweden, there are Swedish meatballs for refreshment. For dessert, the Fjäll offers beautiful northern lights and gives hope for a sunny next day.
Distance: 16 km – Height gain: 740 m – Duration: 8 hours
Day 3: From Pältsa Fjällstuga to the Wilderness Tent Camp
The morning welcomes us with -8°C and bright sunshine. The Pältsa mountain massif offers an incredible backdrop and turns out, today without fog, as an ideal photo spot. The time difference between Finland and Sweden confuses our schedule a bit - but until the late departure, we enjoy the sun at a windless spot to the max. Always the Pältsa in the view, off we go. The Fjäll develops into an endless snow desert. The vastness is impressive - and so is the emptiness. In the afternoon, the snow clouds slowly move in and the previously bright blue sky offers us an impressive play of light and clouds. The wind, our faithful companion, sets in again and brings the cold with it. Our destination today is in the middle of nowhere. We do not aim at a hut, but build, after 7 hours on tour, our tent camp - in the meantime on Norwegian ground. Above Signaldalen, with an impressive view to the fjord, we get warm again while shoveling out and building up the tent camp. In the end we cook ourselves on our gas stoves - never before has a risotto tasted so good as here. Full and tired, we crawl into our warm sleeping bags and hope for a restful night.
Distance: 14.5 km – Height gain: 360 m – Duration: 7 hours
Day 4: From the Wilderness Tent Camp to Tamokdalen
The wind shakes the tent walls for getting up, but it has blown away all clouds and our tent camp shines in the sun. The overwhelming panoramic view with the endless snow desert of Sweden on one side and the rugged mountains of Norway on the other, makes us forget the cold. When we take down the tent camp, we get warm again anyway. Everything is stowed away for the last time and we set off on what is supposed to be the easiest stage with the largest downhill section. But how wrong you can be. First, we climb a few meters to the top of the pass. The headwind does its part so that we have to work really hard to pull the pulkas up. On the other side the descent into the valley of Tamok is waiting, which is however peppered with some short counter ascent. Not only we, but also the dog sleds are again properly demanded. On the last steep descent some of us reach their limits when navigating with the pulka and find themselves in the snow. Nevertheless, the powder snow paints a broad grin on our faces. Along the river, overcoming the one or other snow hill, we reach our destination after a demanding 24 km.
Distance: 24 km - Height gain: 290 m - Duration: 8 hours
Civilization is with us again. You can see on the tired, wind-blown, but happy faces that the tour has left great impressions. Significantly, Kimmo from Finland says, "I definitely wouldn't want to go back today. But who knows - maybe tomorrow?" Over a cozy Swedish beer in the Finnish sauna, on Norwegian land, we review the Transnordic and our experiences. Of course, the bath in the ice hole is a must - of which, understandably, there is no photographic evidence.
One thing is certain: The premiere of the Transnordic was a success and calls for a repeat!
Through three countries in four days. The Transnordic starts in Kilpisjärvi, Finland, and leads via Sweden to Norway.
Poppis Suomela is an experienced polar expeditionist (North Pole and South Pole) and professional photographer with the motto:
"Motion is my target, emotion is my goal".
He knows the Scandinavian wilderness, where he takes us on the Transnordic, very well. He was there for the first time 40 years ago and has been drawn back ever since. His passion is to take people into nature and help them enjoy life there safely and beautifully. If you want to see more of his work, you will find it on his photo portfolio and IG @poppissuomela