A 1,000km Ski Across Lapland

Photo: Rachel Bandieri

Today, Switzerland’s Rachel Bandieri begins a solo, unsupported 1,000km ski through Finnish Lapland. She based her route on a now-defunct race that ran a few years, beginning in 2013: the Lapland Extreme Challenge. Only three people completed the whole route during its brief lifespan, and even though the event no longer runs, Bandieri wants to be the fourth.

Rovaniemi 300, 2019. Photo: Rachel Bandieri

Bandieri, an ultra-runner, is no stranger to long-distance northern European adventures. In 2015, she hiked 700km alone through Scandinavia, and in 2017, she became the first woman to finish the Rovaniemi 300, a 300km ultramarathon north of the Arctic Circle. Her performance here convinced her to try a much longer route, which runs from Rovaniemi to Lake Inari and back.

The 1,000km route. Photo: Rachel Bandieri

She has done parts of the route previously and knows that some sections include deep snow and river crossings. She hopes to complete the 1,000km in 30 days but her main goal is just to finish.

Her kit. Photo: Rachel Bandieri

She will haul a 40 to 45kg sled on skis and have one main drop, in Inari, at the halfway point. She could stop at two further places for food, but one is only a day from the start and the other is at Ivalo, very close to Inari. On the return route, there are no stops.

Since December, she has been training in Rovaniemi.  Once again, she took on the Rovaniemi 300 and came second overall in the foot category.

Training in Lapland. Photo: Rachel Bandieri

Bandieri has said she thinks the hardest part of her trip will be ”the cold, if I get extreme temperatures”. Other than completing the route, she is most looking forward to seeing the northern lights for the first time.

You can track her journey here.

About the Author

Rebecca McPhee

Aspiring sports and travel journalist based in the UK.

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