World Migratory Bird Day – observations in the Geopark area

For tired passers-by, Geopark’s tranquil forests, flood meadows and extensive marshes are safe rest areas.

Observations in the Lauhanvuori – Hämeenkangas Geopark area in the World Migratory Bird Day

When spring comes, tens of thousands of migratory birds can be seen in the Lauhanvuori – Hämeenkangas Geopark area. Some of them have returned to nesting in their birthplaces, while others just stop to rest and feed. For tired passers-by, Geopark’s tranquil forests, flood meadows and extensive marshes are safe rest areas.

Observations were made in different habitats

Participation in the World Migratory Bird Day on May 14, 2022 was considered important also in Lauhanvuori-Hämeenkangas Geopark. Bird watchers were encouraged to hike and take notes on the bird species observed. Observations were made from a wide range of different habitats: the Mustansaarenkeidas, which belongs to the Haapakeidas mire reserve, and the surrounding forest in Isojoki, the flood meadows and forests of the Viinikanjoki River in Parkano, and the shores and fields of the lakes in North Parkano.

Over 50 migratory bird species observed

On the World Migratory Bird Day, 62 different bird species were seen at selected sites. Of these, 51 were actual migratory birds. After a shorter or longer flight, they had ended up in the Lauhanvuori – Hämeenkangas Geopark area either to stay or to continue their journey after a break. Some migratory species, such as the whooper swan, had arrived in their nesting area very early. The lakes were still frozen at that time and there were few melted places. The last returnees, insectivores, had only arrived in the previous days. Their migration is still in progress, and the rest of the species are expected to return in the coming weeks while the weather is still warming.

Distant visitors

The longest migration was made by lightly flying Common terns wintering off the coast of southern Africa. Large Cranes, whose wintering areas are in the Blue Nile regions, in turn, skillfully use rising air currents to sail through the air toward their northern nesting sites. They are also early arrivals.

Tiny long-distance travelers

The small-sized insectivores seen in 11 different species achieve amazing performance. These species overwinter in different parts of Africa. For example, Pied Flycatcher, a general species for us, arrives from north of the rainforests of West Africa in May. Reminiscent of each other, but with completely different songs, the Willow Warbler and the Chiffchaff overwinter in the eastern and southern parts of Africa, as do the Sedge Warbler of the beaches.

Many of the skilled flyers, the waders, Wood Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper and Ruff, which were seen during the expeditions, also winter on the African continent. Especially seeing a flock of 35 Ruffs, which are now classified as very endangered, helped to believe in a better future for them, so that the requirements of migratory bird habitats are also known and the need for protection is taken into account.

Resting places during the migration are important

A total of 22 of the 51 migratory bird species observed are wintering in Africa. They will therefore have to cross the Mediterranean and most of them the Sahara desert on their migration in the spring and again in the autumn. At the same time, they cross the borders of many countries and also stop by in their traditional breaks in different countries.

Hopefully, resting and eating places along the way in different states and habitats at both extremes of arduous migration journeys will continue to be appropriate for them. This will be achieved through transnational cooperation, raising awareness of migratory birds, their migratory routes and the importance of places to eat and rest.

Text: Eira-Maija Savonen

Photos: Terttu Hermansson

Quiet life of winter in Geopark – On skis to the mire

The mystical mires are easy to explore in winter, for example on skis. The skis provide access to places that are inaccessible during melted ground.

On skis to Huidankeidas

The mystical nature of mire is easy to explore in winter, for example on skis. They provide access to places that are inaccessible during melted ground – partly because they cannot be reached and because many wetlands are nesting areas for birds where you are not allowed to go. So is Huidankeidas.

Huidankeidas is located in Honkajoki, and there is a guided route from Siikaistentie via Haukantie. The road leading to the parking area of Huidankeidas is kept open in winter. I drove there and skied first along the path to the observation tower.

Cross-country skiing

The trail had not been walked since the previous snowfall, so I got to ski in thick unbroken snow. The landscape was really beautiful, the sun was shining low, how it can shine in January, and painted warm shades on top of the trees.

Birch grove

On the edge of Huidankeidas, there is a magnificent birch grove where the trees curved from the weight of the snow. In 1959, there was a conflagration in the area of the municipalities of Honkajoki and Isojoki, and the birch grove was born after that. In summer, it is a paradise for small birds.

Peaceful mire

The mire opened bold and calm, clean crust shining in the sun. There was no sound. I continued southeast of the tower near the edge of the mire, sometimes over the pools on solid ice and over the hummocks, sometimes diving between stunted pines. Gradually, traces of life began to appear.

Traces on the snow

An ermine had wandered on the surface of the snow purposefully. Small pairs of traces ran across the hummocks as a regular ribbon. The ermine keeps the little rodents in check, but it can also catch rabbits by biting its prey into its neck. The ermine has also been seen caught in the throat of a capercaillie.

Soon I found myself in the middle of a suburb of the black grouse. There were numerous hollows and corridors here and there, and there were also droppings in the pits, revealing to whom the beds belonged. Sufficient amount of soft snow means a favorable winter for the black grouse. It gets to rest out of reach of birds of prey and the cold.

To Huidansalo

At the edge of the mire, traces of a hare crisscrossed. They didn’t seem to lead anywhere, they just ended. The hare is a cunning guy, as it makes a comeback by walking its own footprints a little further back and then jumping to the side. Thus, it misleads potential predators.

The rabbit had dug up the snow to the ground to find something to eat. Fortunately, the snow was soft, so it had gotten in easily.

I skied to Huidansalo, which seemed interesting on the map. It is a “foreland” at the edge of a mire, gentle undulating terrain with ridges of dunes and ancient embankments. There were several elegant deadwoods on the edge of the mire, and on the dry land side began a magnificent, spacious pine forest. Immediately at the edge of the pine forest, the capercaillie had scampered back and forth. I followed its traces a little way if I had seen it, but I soon gave up the chase.

Quiet pine forest

In the pine forest I heard only a woodpecker tapping, all the little birds were conspicuously absent. The weather was quite cold, it was over ten degrees below zero and it started to get a little windy, so the smaller birds were definitely in more sheltered woods.

Surprise on top of a tree

After enjoying a packed lunch I returned and still admired the peace of the mire and the fine colors of the sky. On the way back between Honkajoki and Siikainen, I noticed a capercaillie eating at the top of a pine tree. It uses the needles of weak and old pines for food, as they contain less resin substances that impair digestion. The capercaillie cock  on top of a frosty tree is called “frost capercaillie”. It is a term especially familiar to hunters.

Although the mire looks quiet in winter, there are plenty of traces and signs of biodiversity in the harsh conditions. The stories are written on the surface of the snow, and passing slowly you may see the ones who have made the traces. The sparse soundscape also speaks its own language. Welcome to the mystical mires of the Geopark on bright winter days – and moonlit nights!

Text and photos: Terttu Hermansson

LOCAL NATURE AND CULTURAL LANDSCAPE MADE INTO A MOVIE

The movie ”NÄÄ MAAT, NÄÄ MANNUT – MEIDÄN KAUHAJOKI” ("these lands, these places - our Kauhajoki”) produced by Kauhajoki-Seura is a product of volunteer work and love, made as a tribute to the region and its nature.

These lands, these places

The movie ”NÄÄ MAAT, NÄÄ MANNUT – MEIDÄN KAUHAJOKI” (“these lands, these places – our Kauhajoki”) produced by Kauhajoki-Seura premiered in Bio Marlon in autumn 2021. The movie is a product of volunteer work and love, made as a tribute to the region and its nature. The filmmakers were happy when the audience found the film and new showings needed to be added, one after another. The popularity of the film also contributed to their biggest wish: that the experiences shown in the film would inspire to cherish our ancient heritage and go explore the diverse environment of our home region.

The film is based on Kauhajoki’s exceptionally extensive local heritage literature that covers over 100 titles. In particular, its nature and the cultural landscape are described thoroughly in a series of five books: Kauhajoen luonnonkirja (“The book of Kauhajoki nature”, 1983); Kauhajoen vesien kirja (“The book of Kauhajoki waters”, 1991); Kauhajoen metsien ja soiden kirja (“The book of Kauhajoki forests and mires”, 1999); Hämes-Havunen (2006); and Kauhajoen kulttuurimaisemien kirja (“The book of the cultural landscapes of Kauhajoki”, 2012). The books were also a marvel of volunteer efforts: every one of the approximately 100 authors wrote articles about their area of expertise without compensation. The same applied to the dozens of photographers. The books were also published and the editions of 2,000-3,000 books were sold as volunteer work by the Lions clubs.

The books are a source of many wonderful discoveries. What the bedrock tells about the history of our entire planet and the soil about the many glacial periods; What the brown trout in headwaters and the herb-rich forests by the brooks reveal about the groundwaters. The list could go on and on: the power of erosion, the breathtaking grand mires, the cultural landscapes of the Hyypänlaakso valley and the open terrain…

Over the decades, the books have provided a lot of information. Some of them only exist as archive copies now. Suddenly, there was a need to preserve them for younger generations and open the treasure trove of knowledge to the communal use of all interested parties using digital methods, both as a traditional reading experience and through editing from substantial data material. This work received Leader support from the Suupohja Development Association. The work was also motivated by the Geopark project, which is a joint project between local authorities and Metsähallitus, which presents the unique characteristics of our nature to an international audience. Maybe we could support that too.

In spring 2019, the Kauhajoki tutuksi (“Get to know Kauhajoki”) website was completed at www.kauhajoki.net. At the heart of the website are the digitized local heritage books with featured photos and videos. The videos were considered important from the start of the digital project. The goal of creating about ten videos seemed to be very ambitious at first but as the enthusiasm of the participants grew, the efforts resulted in 11 videos. The videos were created by 20 active filmmakers, screenwriters, cinematographers, editors, narrators and recorders. Some of the music was written specifically for them. As the videos were starting to take shape, the filmmaking team got the idea to also create a movie that audiences could see on the large cinema screen.

It was time to return to the roots of local heritage work – volunteering. Compiling the videos into a film required an interesting beginning, narration leading from one subject to another, new video material, more music and an emotional ending. At the same time, it had to be accepted that there would be some repetition, as it was not in the plans to re-edit the independent videos. Pentti Kakkori, an expert in photography and film, took the responsibility for this work. The many creations of the previous cinematographers also helped add to the new imagery.  Pentti also received the support he needed for narrations and music from other friends of the region. All names appear in the end credits. Pentti says he’s very grateful to all of them.

So, what do movie audiences think after 70 minutes? It’s easy to sense that the region is dear to the audiences, and they were focused and interested when watching the movie based on the familiar landscapes. Even the repetitions were welcomed. Practice makes perfect, and so does repetition!

 

The article is written by Liisa Ruismäki, Chairperson of Kauhajoki-Seura (Kauhajoki Association) and Jussi Kleemola (in the photo), Chair of the admin group of the “Kauhajoki tutuksi” website (“Get to know Kauhajoki”)

Photos: Pentti Kakkori

Photo at the top: Mirja Koivisto

Photo beneath: Terttu Hermansson

"It’s easy to sense that the region is dear to the audiences."

Mother Nature’s Convenience Store

The diverse and clean terrains of the Geopark offer a huge amount of nature’s own delicacies that any hiker can pick up, eat right away, or prepare for food even by the campfire.

Would you like to taste the blueberries from the top of Lauhanvuori, cranberries from the kermis of Kauhaneva, or porcinis from Hämeenkangas? The forests and swamps in the area are guaranteed to produce a healthy and fresh harvest from spring to late autumn.

In the spring, the first foragers are delighted by the false morels emerging from the sandy forest land. After careful pre-treatment, delicious soups and stews can be prepared from the false morels. Spring and early summer are the best time for foraging wild herbs. The healthiest salad base can be created from the leaves of foraged ground elder, dandelion, fireweed and wood sorrel. Please note that plant foraging is prohibited in conservations, nature reserves and national parks.

Perhaps the one of the most anticipated berries of the summer include the favourite berry of many people, bilberry, the exceptionally diverse health effects of which have long been talked about around the world. Bilberries taste the best when freshly picked, eaten while sitting on a hummock in the forest. The sweetest pies are made from picked bilberries. Excellent bilberry terrain can be found all over the Geopark area, but the top of Lauhanvuori in particular is known for its abundant bilberry yields. Lauhanvuori has been the chosen bilberry site for people from long distances away.

The treasures of the bogs, the coveted, golden-yellow cloudberries ripen at the same time as the bilberries. In a good year for cloudberries, there can be a lot of berries in the wetlands, but the best cloudberry sites are quickly found and harvested by hard-working pickers. Healthy cloudberries are good as such, but they are also widely used in baked goods, such as the traditional cloudberry cake. Later in autumn, the red, tart cranberries ripen in the wetlands. Cranberries should not be picked until after the first frosts of autumn, as the frost softens the acidity of the berries These wetland berries could be the hallmark berries of the Geopark – after all, the wetlands form the most important habitat in the Geopark. The nutritious, mild-tasting bog whortleberry also grows in the wetlands, but it is under-used.

In late summer, the lichen-covered heath of the pine forests turns red in places as the lively lingonberries ripen. Large quantities of lingonberries, so versatile to use, can quickly be picked from good growing sites. These nutritious berries can be picked late into the autumn. You can also find the much less used but super-healthy crowberry in the same type of habitat. It is worth being bold and trying it, and using it in many different ways, much like the other wild berries.

In late summer, the lichen-covered heath of the pine forests turns red in places as the lively lingonberries ripen. Large quantities of lingonberries, so versatile to use, can quickly be picked from good growing sites. These nutritious berries can be picked late into the autumn. You can also find the much less used but super-healthy crowberry in the same type of habitat. It is worth being bold and trying it, and using it in many different ways, much like the other wild berries.

Even in the early summer, an attentive hiker can find golden chanterelles along the trails. What could be a tastier delicacy than yellow chanterelles roasted on a pan over a campfire? As the summer progresses and autumn arrives, you can find a wide variety of delicious mushrooms on the vast heaths of the Geopark and Hämeenkangas, such as boletes, russulas, and milk-caps that thrive on the sandy ridges. The verdant spruce forests produce favoured mushrooms, such as trumpet chanterelles, which often produce large yields. If you are really excited about foraging for mushrooms, you should pack a mushroom book, a knife, and a basket, and head to the forest anywhere in the Geopark either in the summer or in the autumn. In addition to picking plenty of mushrooms, you can also experience great nature adventures!

Thanks to the Everyman’s Rights, the delicacies offered by the nature of Geopark are freely available to everyone − and for free! There is always a joy of searching for and finding good sites, which is an integral part of the experience. Even if you don’t find amazing berry and mushroom spots, or manage to collect large amounts of harvest, it is not worth getting discouraged. The most important thing is to go on an excursion, to observe the environment, and to enjoy nature while respecting it.

Text: Laura Koivumäki

Photos: Terttu Hermansson, Pasi Talvitie

Charming spring of the Geopark

In spring, as the sun warms and the snow and ice melt, nature of the Geopark comes to life. Hiking routes and sites are fully open to hikers.

Enjoy the atmospheric events

Nature that awakens in the spring, warm weather and bright evenings attract to go out. During Easter holidays you can enjoy the nature and services of the Geopark.

Entrepreneurs of the area offer safe services for families and small groups to enjoy. For example, a bird watching tour to a mire led by an expert guide with delicious campfire snacks is an experience to remember.

You can easily buy services on our online store. Please also take attention to the coronavirus guidelines while visiting the Geopark. Geopark’s partner companies are responsible for arranging the events, so please ask for special instructions always directly from the organizers.

Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku

Here are some gems of the current offer of the companies of the area:

Country romance and nature experiences in Luomajärvi Horse Inn

Luomajärvi Horse Inn offers wonderful moments with horses, ponies and other domestic animals in a real old-fashioned rural setting. Read more on the Horse Inn’s website and book your own experience. Here are some examples of the offering:

  • Forest trip on ponies or horses by horseback or on horse-drawn carriages to the shed to enjoy a campfire
  • Farm day for the whole family
  • A leisurely Nordic walking trip with snacks
  • Canoe trip on the scenic Jyllinjoki river

Photo: Luomajärvi Horse Inn

Healing forest and dyeing plant tours of Outar in the National Park

At the Outar’s healing forest tour in Lauhanvuori National Park you can experience and observe the well-being effects of the forest. During the forest walk, you move slowly, do nature exercises that open the senses and enjoy nature. Excursions can be arranged for small groups on request. You can also take part in a ready-made series of excursions in May-July. Read more and buy your tour on Outar’s online store (in Finnish).

Also book already a dyeing plant tour for July. During the tour you learn to identify plants suitable for dyeing. Also several color samples will be introduced. When the guide tells you more about plant dyeing, you will enjoy wild herb tea and a relaxed atmosphere in the pine foprest of Lauhanvuori National Park. Read more and buy your tour on Outar’s online store (in Finnish).

Photo: Outar

The spring camp in SyVilla’s garden 

SyVilla offers you a unique opportunity to take part in the spring work of the idyllic courtyard of the former croft at the end of May and beginning of June. At the camp you can e.g. renovate the flower beds, the greenhouse and the vegetable garden, and plant summer flowers under the guidance of a professional gardener. You can also build insect hotels and birdhouses and paint the fences.

You can attend the camp on some of the days or on all of them. The price includes accommodation, meals, sauna, hot tub and outdoor jacuzzi, and on Saturday 5.6.2021 even smoke sauna. Read more, be fast and buy your gardening camp experience on SyVilla’s online store (in Finnish).

Photo: SyVilla

The spring season cakes of Valkoinen Puu Café

Treat yourself with the cakes and the other delicacies of Valkoinen Puu Café! The café offers seasonal cake flavors during the spring. You can easily and safely buy take-away cakes and other snacks from Valkoinen Puu Café. Enjoy take-away delicacies, for example, in the charming garden in the backyard of the café in Kauhajoki.

By purchasing products of Valkoinen Puu Café, you also support the company’s extensive, local cooperation network. In the products of the café local, organic ingredients are used whenever possible. For example, the cakes are made from organic spelt flour of Merinomi located in Kauhajoki. Read more on the website of Valkoinen Puu Café

Photo: Valkoinen Puu

Outdoor activities and saunas at Eteläpää

In the Tourist Center of Eteläpää, by the beautiful Lake Siikaisjärvi, you spend a nice time in nature and take a relaxing sauna. In Eteläpää, you can rent a rowing boat, a canoe or a fatbike, for example. Take also a round at the mini golf or frisbee golf course. The saunas of Eteläpää have just been renovated. Order delicacies and drinks for ypur sauna evening from Eteläpää’s restaurant and complete the sauna experience with a hot tub. The hot can also be rented outside the area. Read more on Eteläpää’s website (in Finnish).

Photo: Viveka Lanne

Enjoy the experiences offered by companies in the unique nature of the Geopark.

Enjoy the spring nature of the Geopark

In the spring you can experience the wonderful nature of mires. You can observe the migration of birds with binoculars or a telescope from bird towers. The towers will be opened to visitors after the snow has melt.

There is a wide range of bird species on the mires at spring time. Also in the fields of the Geopark you can often see huge flocks of migratory birds, such as geese, cranes and swans. The best time to observe birds is early in the morning. In open mires binoculars or a telescope is useful to see and identify birds that stay quite far away.

The mires are rich in waders as well as several seagull species and numerous waterbirds. The wild geese nest at the area, and black and willow grouses also live in the large mires of the Geopark. Many species live in the Geopark on the edge of their habitat – either in the northernmost or southernmost corner.

The restricted areas of the national parks guarantee birds peace to eat and rest during the most important migration period, as well as peace to nesting. Therefore, do not go to the restricted areas marked on the maps during certain times.

Photo: Seppo Myllyviita / Karvian Valokuvaamo

As the snow melts, the white-flowering cotton wool tufts make mires dotty. In wet terrain, you should stay on duckboards. In any case, waterproof equipment is necessary, as water also rises on duckboards in some places.

The cheerfully flowing streams and rivers are fascinating in the spring. Mires play a significant role in spring floods. Undrained mires store water, which reduces flooding in other areas.

Photo: Terttu Hemansson, Kauhanev-Pohjankangas National Park

After the winter, the routes and other hiking structures will open up for use of walkers, cyclists and others. Versatile routes lead to the best destinations in the Geopark. Read more about Geopark’s routes and trails. You can read about Geopark’s mountain bike trails in our article. The cycling opportunities in the Geopark area are being developed currently. The new routes and services are expected to be available as early as the cycling season 2022. Read more about the project.

There are several mire destinations in the Geopark that are also suitable for hiking with children. Read more in our brochure

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Alkkianvuori

The spring nature of the Geopark charms the visitor.

Please take attention to the Outdoor Etiquette

While spending time outdoors, it is always important to take nature and other people into account. Respect nature in every way and keep pets on a leash. Prevent waste in advance. Bring your waste out of the terrain and sort them properly. By favoring marked routes, you can easily reach the best destinations and protect nature. There are own routes available for walkers, cyclists etc.

Photo: Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland, Outdoor Etiquette

The campfires are only allowed on the marked campfire sites. Even in the spring, the terrain can be dry, so always check the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s website that the forest or grass fire warning is not in effect. If there is, it is strictly forbidden to set camp fires. Stay overnight only on the marked camping sites. Read more about the Outdoor Etiquette of Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland.

Photo: Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland, Outdoor Etiquette

Enjoy by the campfire

A relaxing moment eating snacks by the campfire is one of the highlights of the trip. You can even order food for your family or group ready for the campfire, or grab a snack from the cafés or restaurants in the area.

Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku

You can find sheds and other campfire places in the Geopark area on the Retkikartta map service. You can also find information about campfire sites on the municipalities’ websites. In most campfire sites there is firewood freely available to visitors. Fires are only allowed at marked campfire sites. Please also take attention to the coronavirus guidelines and the Outdoor Etiquette while staying at Geopark’s campfire sites.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Lauhanvuori National Park

Respect nature and take other people into account while hiking in the Geopark.

The versatile offering of the Geopark’s businesses

The companies in the Geopark area offer high-quality and nature-friendly services for both day travelers and long-term travelers. Check out the wide range of services in the area on our website.

Photo: Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere, Korsuretket

Enjoy Geopark destinations on a guided tour led by a local professional guide. You can also rent a bicycle for your own adventures, for example. After hiking in nature, it is nice to treat yourself with treatments and relax in the sauna. Enjoy the delicacies offered by cafés and restaurants of the area. You can find farm products, handicrafts and other local gifts in farm shops and small boutiques.

Photo: Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere, Korsuretket

Accommodation options in the area cover a wide range from hotels to hostels and from cottages to rural accommodation. In the area, you can also stay in Tentsile or AuroraHut.

Photo: Toron kievari, Ahmalampi Hut Village

Enjoy the Geopark by bike

In the spring, as the snow and ice melt and roads and paths dry up, bike routes are at their best. You can explore the Geopark and its sites comfortably by bike. You can rent a bicycle from our area (in Finnish):

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Kauhaneva-Pohjankankangas National Park

Experience the Geopark through a film

Get to know the inhabitants, the culture and the nature of the area through the Geopark’s In a blink of an eye promotional film. What we see in a blink of an eye is the result of billions of years of geological evolution.

Watch the video on YouTube and enjoy!

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Alpon savanni

Main photo: Terttu Hermansson, Katikankanjoni, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Welcome to the spring Geopark!

Fall in love with skiing in the Geopark

Well-groomed trails and glowing snowy mires call you to ski in the Geopark. Due to the geological history, the area has also higher hills that collect more snowfall than the surrounding areas.

On the tracks and outside of them

There are hundreds of miles of groomed trails in the Geopark. The magnificent trails of the pine forests of Hämeenkangas and Lauhanvuori National Park as well as the Pyhäniemi – Käskyvuori route in Kihniö are among the most popular ones, but there are also other great skiing opportunities in every municipality of the area. You can find trail maps and information on the condition of the trails in the links below. Some of the trails are also marked on Retkikartta online map service. In Jämi in Hämeenkangas, dog enthusiasts can ski on their own dog track (in Finnish).

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Hämeenkangas

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Hämeenkangas

With long forest skis, handy skinbased skis or traditional snowshoes, you will create your own routes outside Geopark’s ready-made trails and find your new, most enchanting favorite places. Professional guides of our area will take you on nature adventures safely. You can find these activity providers in the Activities section of our website. You can also rent equipment for your own winter experiences. Read more on our winter article.

Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku, Hyyppä valley

Challenge yourself at skiing events

The area has a long tradition of large skiing events. Pirkka Ski Race in Hämeenkangas is the oldest continuously organized mass skiing event in Finland, and Kauha-Hiihto and Lauhan hiihto events have brought skiers to Lauhanvuori for decades.

Photo: Pirkka Ski Race, Hämeenkangas

Pirkka Ski Race

Pirkka Ski Race is organized yearly at early March from Niinisalo in Kankaanpää via Jämijärvi to Tampere. In addition to the full distance of 90 kilometers, it is also possible to ski shorter sections of the trip.

The actual Pirkka Ski Race will be organized on 6th of march, if possible. One week after this, Reppu-Pirkka, based on self-service, may possibly be arranged this year, despite the pandemic. Read more about the event on the organizer’s website.  

Kauha-Hiihto and Lauhan hiihto skiing events

Another large, traditional skiing event in the Geopark area is Kauha-Hiihto in the Lauhanvuori area in late February. The event will be arranged on 20th of February, if possible. Read more about the event on the organizer’s website (in Finnish).

In Isojoki, in the landscapes of Lauhanvuori, Lauhan hiihto skiing event has traditionally been organized. 

Main photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park