Snowshoeing around Lake Saimaa, Finland


Snowshoeing in Finland is an ancient way of getting around. When the deep snows set in during the Nordic winter, snowshoes let you walk to areas that would be almost impossible to access otherwise. They really give you the chance to take in the natural beauty of Saimaa in winter, the ground blanketed in snow, tree branches covered in feather-like frost and nature’s ice sculptures hanging everywhere.

Without snowshoes, you could be fighting through snow as high as your waist which is slow, exhausting and inevitably ends with your boots filled with half-thawed ice. With them though, supporting your weight across the snow’s surface, you can range up hills, through forests and over frozen lakes to distant islands. It’s an outstanding way of exploring the beautiful areas around Mikkeli, Savonlinna, and the rest of Lake Saimaa.

Exploration and adventure – Saimaa by snowshoe

Snowshoeing on Lake Saimaa is all about going off-trail. Snowshoes are so light and easy to use that there’s no problem walking with them on well-used routes, but they really come into their own in deeper snow.

Explore the woods of pine and birch and look for traces left by moving creatures of the forest. Nibbled pieces of cone are scattered across the ground; a sure sign that a red squirrel was there recently. An angelic image is left on the ground, slashed marks in the snow; perhaps a grouse took off there. Footprints are everywhere; hare, fox, deer, moose, even brown bear in the spring. From snowshoes, it’s easy to see that the frozen world of Saimaa is much more alive than you might think!

Snowshoeing equipment – what to have with you

With temperatures potentially between -15 to -30°c, wear warm clothes and bring a thermos of something hot to drink with you to really enjoy your time outside. Roast sausages over the campfire and rest in the shelter of the Finnish laavu when you need a break and want to warm your hands or feet up. If the snow is particularly deep, bring snowshoeing poles with you for extra balance.

Buying and renting snowshoeing equipment is easy in bigger towns such as Mikkeli and Savonlinna. Sports shops, supermarkets and specialists in equipment hire will have everything you need to get out into the snow.

Unique frozen archipelagos and the forested world of snow and ice mean that you’ll definitely want to try snowshoeing in Lake Saimaa!