Updated 16th August 2019
Stage 1: 50km
Trail to Kulmakuru is one of the real classics in Saariselkä!
Startloop to the fells
The first stage of Saariselkä MTB Stages starts towards fell Kaunispää. We recommend taking the first climbs easily – there is plenty of more climbing to come along this trail.
From the top of Kaunispää fell the trail takes a long and curvy descent to Saariselkä Bike Park. After you pass the start and finishing area and start riding towards Hammastunturi wilderness area and Kulmakuru gorge. The first service point is located at river Tolosjoki.
Towards Kulmakuru gorge
After the first service point you will cross the river Tolosjoki. It is not allowed to try riding across the river – all the participants must walk over the river. Normally the river is relatively easy to walk over. In August, the typical water level is around 30-40cm.
After the river crossing you will start the 3km long climb towards Kulmakuru. The climb is steep at places and some of you will have to walk some parts of the climb. The view from the top is rewarding. You will pass the Kulmakuru gorge and at the same time you can see the fell summits all the way to Russia.
From the top of the fell you will start a 5km long single-track descent. This part of the track is particularly enjoyable with all the curves and small jumps.
Back to Saariselkä
After Harrioja, the trail turns back to Tolosjoki river and the 2nd river crossing. This time it will already be much smoother. After the river crossing the trails starts climbing up to Hangasselkä.
The 2nd service point is located in Laanila and after the service there are some faster trails before you start the final section of the stage. On the final section there is a long and partly technical climb up to Iisakkipää fell. The views in this final climb are amazing. You can see the village of Saariselkä down in the valley and views to the national park on the other side.
From the top of Iisakkipää you will have a fast and curvy descent down to the ski center. From the ski center you have only 2km left before you reach the finish line.
Stage 2: 80km
The original 40km Saariselkä MTB Maraton track has been used since the very first Saariselkä MTB Maraton in 2011. Eventually all good things come to an end and therefore this track was almost entirely modified 2017. If you ask as, this is the best stage we have ever planned!
The first 20km of the second stage is a rough round. You will go up on three different fell summits within a 20km distance. The climbs are not very steep nor very long, but you will definitely feel them in your legs in the beginning of the day two. 🙂 The first service point is at the race center.
After the service you will start a longer 60km loop. Between the first and second service you will find some really nice and varying single-track sections which run through some of the finest pine tree forests of Northern Lapland. In this sections the height differences are smaller so you can mainly just enjoy the ride.
Up to the fells
After the second service point you will find the steepest climb of the entire stage race. Here most of you will have to walk a couple of steps but the views are magnificent so the climbing will be worth the pain. 🙂 When you reach the top you will have kilometers of fast trails ahead of you. Enjoy them! 🙂
The third and final service point is located in Fell center Kiilopää. From here you start the final section of the track back towards Saariselkä. First you will have to climb up to one more fell top, up to Ahopää.
After Ahopää fell the rest of the track is familiar from Friday. Maybe you will notice that the climb to Iisakkipää is slightly tougher than on Friday. 🙂
Stage 3: 50km
Along this track you will find all the major attractions in the western part of Urho Kekkonen national park. Along the way you will pass the reindeer fence in Niilanpää fell and ride over the treeless Raututunturi fell area. You will also get to see the clear watered lake Rautulampi (Arctic char lake) and the beautiful gorge of Rumakuru.
After this track’s premier in 2017 we have made some changes to make the beginning of the stage a bit smoother. This time we have some fast rally roads and trails on the first 15km of the stage.
Towards the fells
The stage three starts directly towards the Urho Kekkonen national park and it’s open fell areas. The start of the track is really fast as the trail runs along fast gravel roads and forest trails. After the first 10km the trail starts climbing towards the first service point which is located right next to the reindeer fence on Niilanpää fell.
After the service point the track moves to the completely treeless fell areas. If the sky is clear it is possible to see all the way to Russia from the highest tops of Raututunturi. If you are not in a hurry, this is the place to take a couple of selfies! Here the terrain is also quite rocky so it is important to be careful in the descents.
After the long descents the trail comes to a small and beautiful lake called Rautulampi. The lake is named after arctic char which is a very valued and tasty fish that lives in the clear and cold waters of the northernmost Lapland.
After Rautulampi begins a long, curvy, and enjoyable single-track section. Altogether this section is over 6km long!
After the single-tracks the trails starts climbing towards the second service point which takes place in Fell Center Kiilopää. This is a long and partly technical climb which will surely make you suffer. 🙂 Before the service point there is a fast and nice descent down from fell Kiilopää.
The section between Kiilopää and Rumakuru goes along a curvy and rocky single-track on open treeless fell. The descent to Rumakuru is partly technical.
After Rumakuru threre are only the last kilometers left before the finish line! You will know already the last climbs and descents from previous days so it is easy to fight through the last kilometers.
From the ski slopes you can burst into your final sprint!
Congratulations! You made it through! 🙂