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Heart of Lapland

The making of an Arctic Ultra

Copyright: Swedish Lapland

Last winter Håkan Hjort and Ted Logart from Swedish Lapland filmed myself, Linnea Nilsson-Waara, Niclas Bentzer and Robin Landin during two days of checking trails and infrastructure for the first MLAU. The result is below short documentary. I want to thank everyone who contributed and continues to help make this dream come true:

Montane
Explore Jockfall
Jockfall Fishing and Activities
Heart of Lapland
Swedish Lapland
Visit Överkalix
SOTO Outdoors Germany
REKO Biluthyrning i Norrbotten AB

Also, a big thank you to Peter Mild, Daniel Cedering from Cederingshästar, Henrik Drugge, S-o Larsson & team, everyone from the Överkalix Kommun and also Gälliväre Kommun, Överkalix Camping, all of the area’s snowmoblie clubs and the many other local people and companies who are welcoming the MLAU to the region!

Enjoy!

Preparing for 2022

I just got back from an epic 3 week work trip to Överkalix. Together with local guides and experts Niclas Bentzer, Robin Landin, Henrik Drugge, Rikard Boudin and Daniel Cedering I went out to scout trails in the region. Special guest Peter Mild joined us as well. Like Niclas he is a Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra veteran and it was great to get immediate feedback from people who participaqte in winter ultra events. Linnea Nilsson-Waara from Överkalix Kommun had co-ordinated everything perfectly and we had the best possible weather conditions. Pretty much two weeks of sunshine during the day and about one week of Northern Lights at night. Temperatures ranged from about – 25 degrees Celsius to – 10 degrees Celsius.

In seven days we drove our snowmobiles for about 600 km, to check existing trails and connections between them, to keep track of distances, elevation, possible checkpoints, shelters, significant waypoints and much more. To summarize the experience: IT WAS INCREDIBLE! The trails around Överkalix have everything to offer we are looking for. Frozen rivers, lakes and swamps, forests and hills with landscapes that seem from another planet. So, that part is pretty similar to what I know from the Yukon. One of the differences is that there are more twists and turns in the trail and we have more ups and downs in Sweden. This means that temperatures at the Lapland Arctic Ultra will be less extreme but the trail is more challenging. This will especially be true if there is a lot of fresh snow. There are also more crossings of trails and community roads in some areas. Most of these are not ploughed and thus not dangerous but some do have traffic and a couple of times we will need to cross larger roads with traffic. There athletes need to be carful and pay extra attention.

We still have a couple of decisions to make on some of the trail options we have. Our shorter distance will likely remain at around 185 km. For the second and longer loop we will decide soon. The distance of the longer race will likely come in at around 500 km.

Initially, some of the trails we broke ourselves and they were very soft. At one point I was very sceptical that these trails would be possible for fatbikes. Luckily I had been able hike parts of these trails 1 week later. A few nights of – 25 degrees Celsius in between and I needed no snowshoes. When I was on the trails it was actually snowing a lot. I still needed no snowshoes because it was very fluffy snow but it sure slowed down my sled. What will still make it challenging for fatbikers is the elevation. Having seen Niclas and Linnea on their xc-skis I think the Lapland Arctic Ultra will be great for this discipline! In the Yukon I normally tell people to think twice. The extreme cold is just so hard on hands and feet with the guys on skis. In Sweden, with less extreme temperatures and ups and downs, skiing should actually be fun. Especially with fresh snow everybody on skis will be at an advantage. BUT just like in the Yukon, you need to have the right skis and boots and you need to know how to use them. I will soon write a bit more about what gear is recommended.

If you want to check out some of the scenery we came across, please have a look at my Youtube Channel. There I uploaded videos of days 2 to 7 of trail scouting. At the end of this week I will hopefully have images uploaded to our gallery, too.

I am already getting a lot of enquiries about when the Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra 2022 will take place. I would love to be able to answer that question. However, I am currently waiting for the Yukon Quest to set their date for 2022. Then I can decide on the timing for the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra and the Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra. I am hoping for a start in the Yukon on the first weekend in February and a start in Sweden in the second week in March. It’s just that this could change considerable if the Quest breaks with their traditional timing. Once the decisions are made I will put out an update immediately.

Your Swedish Lapland winter adventure

There won’t be a Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra this winter but you can still travel to Swedish Lapland and have an adventure on your own. Rimfrost Adventures will be holding the training course. So, if you signed up for it, you can still do it. If you are interested, please get in touch with course organiser, Per. He will let you know if there are any places left.

Also, Jockfall and Överkalix Camping have put together an offer for anyone who would like to get to know Överkalix, Jockfall and surrounding area this winter. Explore Jockfall joined in the effort and also put something very interesting together for you. So, here are the options:

#1

You book nights in your accommodation and then you add on some activities. For 5 nights stay you get 20% discount and for 7 night stay you get 30% discount off your cabin rental with Jockfall and with Överkalix Camping. You can combine the two places as you wish.

Regular prices Överkalix Camping:
4-6 beds cabin with fully equipped kitchen, TV, WiFi, WC/shower is SEK 1,595 per night. Extras are bedlinen and towels SEK 150 per person/stay and departure cleaning SEK 800 SEK (you can also chose to clean yourself).

Regular prices Jockfall:
6-bed lodge with fully equipped kitchen, TV, WiFi, WC/shower is SEK 1,800/night. Extras and cleaning as above.

Booking is via email to Sofi Holmgren (sofi@acmt.se) for Överkalix Camping and Robin Landin (info@jockfall.com) for Jockfall. When emailing them, please just mention the booking code “Lapland Arctic Ultra”.

Activities will be able upon request and you will also get information on trails you can use to get plenty of time for training outdoors.

#2

Another option is that you can book a 5 days (4 nights) package with Explore Jockfall. This package includes accommodation, all main meals and plenty of activities. It is available from SEK 13,900. Full details and possibility to book are online.