Address: WM-Skistadion, FIN-15110 Lahti, Finland
Tel: +358 44 975 7712
Fax: +358 44 975 7713
First race: 24 February 1974, 75 km, 1334 participants
Highest number of participants in main race: 13226 (1984)
Worldloppet membership: founding member
After several unsuccsessful attempts, Erik Pihkala, one of the leader of Suomen Latu, the organisation promoting recreational sports in Finland, turned to Lahti Ski Club, as they already had the structure and experience to organise big sport events such as the Salpausselkä Games. The first Finlandia-hiihto, coordinated by Risto Rytökoski, was skied from Hämeenlinna to Lahti in 1974. Hämeenlinna was chosen as the start place because of its accommodation possibilities. The organisation was carried out by Suomen Latu, Lahti Ski Club, Hämeenlinna Ski Club and the Finnish Ski Association. The patron of the event was the President of Finland Urho Kekkonen, who was known as an enthusiastic skier. The number of participants surprised everyone except Risto Rytökoski, who was the only one who expected more than 1000 skiers and was convinced that soon the participation numbers would grow to 10000. His aim was to make not the biggest skimarathon of the world but the best one. The strategy was to offer participants a better service that they were used to get anywhere else, with the help of experienced local volunteers. Before the event there was discussion about the entry fee but after the race everyone praised the service stations, medical aid, free transportation and finishers’ medal, designed by Raimo Heino, an artist from Hämeenlinna. Among the racers were Olympic winners Franco Nones of Italy and Ole Ellefsäter of Norway, as well as multiple Holmenkollen winner (1959, 1961, 1962) Sverre Stensheim.
START / FINISH LOCATION OF THE RACE: Lahti Ski Stadium
Finlandia-Hiihto (Finlandia Ski Marathon) start and finish line is at legendary Lahti Ski Stadium, which has become well known from several World Championships and World Cup events. It is situated near the downtown Lahti, at Lahti Sports Center which is also known of it’s three ski jumping hills, highest of them being K116. The course wiggles over and around of the ridge Salpausselkä thus making Finlandia-hiihto one of the most demanding ski courses in the world because of the height differences. Above at the ridges you can see a glimpse of the vast lake of Vesijärvi. The course also goes through a large military area at one point. Finland is generally known of it clean air and nature and Lahti is not an exception on that regard.
The course can be seen from Finlandia-hiihto’s schedule
HOW TO GET TO THE FINLANDIA-HIIHTO
By plane: Helsinki-Vantaa airport is the main airport of Finland located 20 kilometers from the Capital of Finland and around 100 kilometers south from Lahti with good bus connections. The nearest train station in Tikkurila is only 9 kilometers from the airport – easily accessed by a bus or a taxi.
By train: A train from Tikkurila (or Helsinki) to Lahti departs every half an hour – same for the opposite direction. The train travel duration from Tikkurila to Lahti is around 50 minutes and from Helsinki about one hour. Lahti Travel Center is located only a few hundred meters from Lahti downtown and 15 minutes walk from Finlandia-hiihto’s starting area. The train schedules can be found at here.
By bus: A bus from Helsinki-Vantaa airport to Lahti departs every half an hour / hourly. The bus travel duration from the airport to Lahti takes around 1,5 hours. Same from Helsinki to Lahti and to the opposite directions. The busses arrive/depart from Lahti Travel Center – the same building as the trains. The bus schedules can be found here.
Distances: Lahti is located 100 kilometers North from the Capital of Finland, Helsinki. The Helsinki-Vantaa airport is located less than 20 kilometers north from Helsinki.
NB! In 2017 100km CL will be held to celebrate 100 years anniversary of Republic of Finland
* The most prominent element in Lahti is the K116 ski jumping hill and it’s two little brothers next to Finlandia-hiihto’s starting area which makes the location easy to find as the ski jumping tower is 73 meters high.
* Lahti Ski Museum is located next to the Lahti Sports Center. Souvenirs can be bought from the Museum. More information here.
* Sibelius Hall is one of the most popular attractions of Lahti and it’s located only 1,5 kilometers north from the Lahti Ski Stadium.