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Northern Finland looks forward to annual Midsummer ski races

The small town of Kilpisjärvi in northwesternmost Finland will host its summer cross-country ski contest for the 73rd time this year.

Ski track expert Veikko Aaltonen checks conditions for the Midsummer races. Image: Antti Honkonen

In spite of an unseasonably warm start to the summer, residents of the small town of Kilpisjärvi in northwesternmost Finland will be looking forward to Midsummer cross-country skiing competitions as they have for the past 72 years.

Although the official length of the ski course is just 250 metres, many ski even longer – just for the fun of it.

“The most enthusiastic will ski for up to 500 kilometres, so they can do more than just ski,” said spokesman Antti Honkonen.

Midsummer sports a tradition

This year’s Midsummer ski competition will take place at an altitude of 700 metres in a sheltered area protected from the sun’s blistering rays.

Winter sports aficionados looking to get to site of the Midsummer skiing competition must first survive a one-hour climb from the Saana hiking centre up into the surrounding fells.

The fells will be buzzing with activity during the Midsummer weekend otherwise as well. An orienteering competition is planned for Saturday, while a Saana mountain run will take place on Sunday.