IWG Exped 02: 5 Day Skiing Trip – Kylmäluoma, Eastern Finland

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This was the second expedition undertaken as part of our wilderness guide training. A 5 day skiing trip through Eastern Finland, in an area known as Kylmäluoma. This trip allowed us to practice our guiding and leadership skills, our cooking skills, our organisation skills, our personal camp skills and our kit. It also served as direct practice for the Bear Ski – A 9 day solo skiing trip undertaken in the far North of Finland in April.

After a 690km drive from Kuru to Kylmäluoma we arrived later than planned. The final stretch of single track road had been specially ploughed for us. As the road unfurled before us, the 1m high walls of snow to our sides made it feel more like we were navigating a river – meandering its course into the snowy depths of an unknown forest. The vans’ headlights were the only light around, offering enchanting glimpses into the pallid monochrome landscapes that enveloped us. Tree branches hung low from the weight of snow and it felt like we had stepped into a magical wilderness.

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IWG Practical Training 01 – Saija Lodge – Assistant Dog Sled Guide

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To gain experience as a guide, during the IWG training you are required to work with two companies, totalling 5 – 6 weeks. You offer your services for free in return for the experience.

This was my first practical training position, my second was as an assistant ski guide. During the first 3 weeks of December 2014 I worked as an assistant dog sled guide at Saija lodge, a family run company offering husky tours in central Finland. Located just below the arctic circle, where the sun coyly rises at 10.10am, floating just above the horizon before sedately slipping away again several hours later, at 1.30pm. A sun filled day compared to many of my course mates who were further north, where the sun didn’t rise at all.

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