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'Finnish Sports' in Finland

Introduction - Organised Sports
If you're of a sporty disposition and living in Finland, you'd probably like to try some typically 'Finnish' sports. Most of the central organisations only have Finnish and Swedish versions of their sites, but that doesn't mean you're not welcome if you're a foreigner! Though you may need to speak a little Finnish if you want to play a team sport.

Most Finnish-only sites work pretty well in Google Translate.

Casual Games
If you're just looking for a casual game, go through the posts or post your own message at one of the English-speaking forums - there are many foreigners in similar circumstances and you can probably find some fun there!

Finterest - Sports and Sports Facilities
Among other events and activities, Finterest helps you find sports and outdoor facilities Finland-wide in its Sports, Outdoors, and Nature sections. As listings appear, zoom in on the map of Finland for further details in the location of your choice, and links to the relevant websites.
www.finterest.fi - in 16 languages!

Ice Hockey

Ice hockey is the most popular sport in Finland, and Finland has twice won the World Championship, in 1995 and 2011. Hockey is a hobby for almost 200,000 Finns and there are about 68,000 registered players, 430 clubs, 3,000 teams and 40,000 games played per season! If you're serious about hockey check out
Finnish Ice Hockey Association: www.finhockey.fi - Fi

Hobby Hockey
Hobby hockey is a less violent version of the game, with teams usually organised by groups of friends or by the workplace. Hobby Hockey has its own set of rules and could be the solution if you're a bit worried about getting clobbered! If you want to put together a company team, Hobby Hockey is organised in eight regions. Ask around at your workplace to see what the situation is; if your company does not already have a team, use Google Translate to find out more at
www.finhockey.fi > Harraste (Information)
www.finhockey.fi > Harraste > Harrastevastaavat (Regional contacts)

Ice Hockey - Watch a Game!
Even if you're not a big sports fan, it's well worth watching at least one live ice hockey game. It's fast-paced, exciting, and the spectators are high-spirited. The Finnish national league is the SM-liiga; any game in that competition is bound to impress. Calendars of hockey game fixtures are available at:
www.eurohockey.com > Countries > Finland > Game Fixtures - English
www.liiga.fi > Ottelut - Finnish
Tickets can be purchased through www.lippu.fi - En, Fi, Sw

Floorball (Salibandy)

Salibandy, or Floorball, only officially started in Finland in 1985, but in terms of registered players floorball now occupies third place after football and ice hockey. According to the Finnish Floorball Federation, floorball is the most popular school, youth, club, conscript and workplace sport. As with ice hockey, it looks a bit difficult to get into floorball 'formally' if you're not a fluent Finnish speaker, but it may well be possible - and fun! - to join your company's team if they have one. You can also try:

Cross-country & downhill skiing

When I first came to Finland I met a lady who told me her hobby was "uphill skiing". I thought she'd made a mistake and corrected her English. She corrected me and said, "No! I mean uphill skiing - there are so many ways to go up the hill!"
Welcome to Finland.

As VisitFinland.com explains:
Cross-country skiing is part of Finnish culture, and nearly every Finn learns it right after taking their first steps. Decades ago it was an important means of transport in the winter, and skiing across forests and lakes on the way to work or school was commonplace. In smaller communities, kids still ski to school when there’s snow on the ground.

There are over 70 ski resorts in Finland, with 250+ lifts transporting guests on more than 300 km of slopes. The highest altitude ski resort is Pallas, at 780 m. Popular northern resorts with long seasons are Levi, Pyhä (and nearby Luosto), Ylläs, and Ruka. Himos is popular in central Finland, and Ukko-Koli in southern Finland. Vihti Ski Center is the largest ski resort in the capital region. Find out more at:

Rally Driving & Spectating

In the 1960's Finnish rally drivers such as Rauno Aaltonen, Timo Mäkinen and Pauli Toivonen began dominating international events. They have been doing so ever since; Juha Kankkunen and Tommi Mäkinen each won the World Championship four times during their respective careers. Finland is by far the most successful nation in the World Rally Championship, and Finland hosts numerous rally events from a hobby/amateur level up to Finland's WRC event, the Neste Rally. It's not likely you can 'have a go' in the Neste Rally, but you can certainly try driving at a lower level, and you can go and watch the big guns doing some awesome rally driving!

Rally Driving
There are a few companies who will put you in the driving seat!

There are numerous events throughout Finland which you can go and enjoy as a spectator, from local amateur events through to WRC racing. The following sites will have event information and in many cases information for spectators about, for example, where NOT to stand so you don't get a rally car on your head!

Folk Racing: Everyman's Class (Jokamiehenluokka, Jokkis)

Folk races take place all over Finland with an event pretty much every weekend. As featured on Top Gear, folk racing is a popular entry-level form of rallycross run mainly on gravel tracks designed to limit the top speed to 80 km/h. The competitions are divided into classes depending on age and gender, and participants can be as young as 15. The race is divided into heats, usually with 6 cars. The driver winning a race is awarded seven points, second five points, third four points and so on. When all the heats have been driven, the total score is calculated and the top six drivers race in the A final, the next six in the B final and so on. The winner of the A final wins the event. The races are run in 'standard' cars, usually considered too old for everyday driving. Participants can generally drive whatever model they like as long as it meets minimum safety regulations.

Buying a car: To keep the sport for "every man" there is a rule on vehicle price. All the cars have the same nominal value; €1400 in 2015. After a race, any competition-licenced driver can make a bid on any car, and if there is more than one offer for a car the buyer is chosen randomly. Refusing to sell your car is grounds for having your competition licence revoked!. The system eliminates excessive investment of money or time into a 'jokkis' car.

If you're a resident of Finland and you'd like to get into rally driving, this would be the place to start - you will need a competition licence and a car! Information and links below:

Tour Skating - Tour de Skate

More than a thousand kilometres of coastline and nearly 200,000 lakes; when the waters freeze over, tour skaters grab their blades and head out! Decades ago in the Finnish archipelago, skating from island to island was a way of getting around and visiting neighbours in winter. Nowadays tour skating is a popular outdoor activity and a great means of enjoying the frozen waterways and beautiful scenery.

VisitFinland has a page about tour skating, and links to companies in various parts of Finland which will get you on the ice!
VisitFinland: www.visitfinland.com - Search 'Tour de Skate' in the search box at top of screen

Ice Swimming

"Swimming in a hole in the ice does you the world of good." Test that theory! You've heard about Finns cutting holes in the ice and jumping in. Try it for yourself at:

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