After I had explored the city center of Rovaniemi with its amazing city plan formed like a reindeer’s head and after I had visited the big amount of different memorial stones in parks all over the city, I took the Lumber jack bridge over to the Ounasvaara hillside. Ounasvaara is a hill about 200 m high above the sea. Up on the hill there is an enormous amount of possibilities to enjoy the nature and stay outdoor during all seasons of the year.
The sport center Santasport up on the hill of Ounasvaara, near the arena for ice hockey among other sports and exhibitions, is definitely the best provider if you are interested in getting a more throughout experience of indoor sports in Rovaniemi. On the other side of Ounasvaara, on the northern side, is the Ounasvaara ski center you can go downhill skiing or cross country skiing. You can also take part in ski schools and rent equipment. On the home page of Ounasvaara ski center you find a good map of the slopes and also about the tracks all over Ounasvaara.
In summer and autumn there are hiking paths that take you around the hill with stops on lovely little fireplaces or cooking shelters, in Finland called laavus, hootchies, where you can fry your own sausage and have a lovely break in the sun. You always find wooden logs by these fireplaces to use to make your own log fire, you do not have to bring your own. It is also quite possible that someone already has made the fire as you arrive. The nature of Ounasvaara is very frequently used by the inhabitants of Rovaniemi but also by all the exchange students that arrive to the University of Lapland to study. The nature path of Ounasvaara also provides you with information about the ice age and its impacts on this hill on information stands along the route. You can also visit the upper side of the downhill slopes and have a marvellous view over the city of Rovaniemi.
In winter time there are well prepared tracks, partly with lights and partly without lights, to go skiing all over Ounasvaara. The perceptions for the ski season start usually already in October, when stored snow is spread in the forest to form a shorter ski track to begin with. The most enthusiastic skiers start the season with that. Then after some weeks of natural snow falls the main track building starts. You can now go skiing and stop by on cooking shades, laavus, to fry your sausage or just have a break. On Ounasvaara there are three different shades for breaks. By one of the laavus you can also climb up in a view tower and take a look over Kemijoki and the city center. Astonning! During your excursion on skis on Ounasvaara you will probably meet all kinds of people, as well the sport enthusiasts of Rovaniemi as the untrained tourist trying out the cross country skiing for the first time in his life. You can probably also meet people on snow shoes, mostly tourist groups, strolling around in the forest outside the tracks. On a sunny winter day with all white snow around you there is no doubt: this is absolutely the most beautiful you can experience in the Lapish winter time! At the laavu you can have the chance to meet some friendly birds searching for some left overs from the visitors’ breaks. The Lapish birds are very tame up here, because they are used to people and the fact that they could catch something to eat from here. Some inhabitant brings some seeds for the birds on his daily ski trip here.
People in Rovaniemi are very keen on going skiing, so they also use the huge river to go skiing on the ice. You can also find laavus along the riverside on several places near the city center of Rovaniemi. Look at the photo! Tempting or what?! Just get your skis and start. If you do not happen to have your own skis, there is possibilities to rent ski sets at the Ounasvaara ski center; both for downhill skiing as for cross country skiing and also snow shoes.