Rajalta rajalle -hiihto

Border to border - skiing event

To this page we have collected some nice memories from the long history of the Border to Border. From attachments you can find a article, which has been written by Leila and Väinö Voutilainen who have took part to each BB from the early beginning. Below you can find some historical background and details of the event.

"From Border To Border" ski tour, 1984-2003 

Two decades have passed by in the eventful history of the "From Border To Border" ski tour. In 1983, the then mayor of Ranua, Kauno Harju, presented his idea of organising a ski tour across Lapland, from the Russian border to the Swedish border, to his colleagues Tapio Leppäkoski and Jorma Törn. Mr. Harju had been inspired by the Canadien Ski Marathon, a two-day and 160 kilometre event organised in Canada. Kauno Harju’s idea was to organise the event via the municipalities of Kuusamo, Posio, Ranua, Simo, Kemi, Keminmaa and Tornio. And indeed, this became the basis of the then 320-kilometre route until 1993.

In the beginning, the number of skiers remained quite small, but owing to the perseverance and determination of the organisers, the ski tour took place from year to year. The first signs of internationalisation were seen already in 1985 when two skiers from the then West Germany participated in the event.

In 1994, the municipality of Posio stepped out from the event, which lead to changes in the route. The new, longer 440-kilometre route ran through the municipalities of Kuusamo, Taivalkoski, Pudasjärvi, Ranua, Keminmaa and Tornio.

In the mid 1990’s the ski tour started to grow in popularity, which is why a second group was established in 1996. At this point there were altogether 86 international and 48 Finnish skiers. After that the popularity of the ski tour continued its rapid growth, and a third group was established in 2001. That year witnessed the participation of altogether 154 international and 56 Finnish skiers. This year, in 2003, the "From Border To Border" is being organised for the 20th time, and the three groups host altogether 325 skiers, 93 of them from Finland and 232 from a number of countries around the skiing world.

One speciality of the "From Border To Border" ski tour have been the skiing guides and the bus guides. The have all been working in the event on a voluntary basis. Skiing guides who have participated in the event several times have been Kauko Salmela, Kauno Palomäki, Manne Liimatainen, Esa Ollila, Jaakko Heikkinen and Anna-Kaisa Heikkinen. Similarly, bus guides with several participations have been Susanna Lammassaari and Sirkka Kinnunen. Tuomo Karppinen, in charge of organisation for the part of the Keminmaa municipality, has been involved in the event from the very beginning. Also the transportation - the buses and the bus drivers - has always given its special flavour to the event. Among the legendary bus drivers throughout the years have been Benjamin Rontti, Olli Rontti and Verneri Mustonen from the bus company Rontti Oy in Kuusamo. Chairmen of the organising committee of the event have been Jorma Törn (1984-1996), Kyösti Tornberg (1996 -1997) and Kimmo Sarapää (1997-), all from the municipality of Ranua.

During its 20 years of existence the "From Border To Border" tour has become a large, international ski event. The organising municipalities recognise its importance and are ready to continue their efforts also in the future.

The event, today organised by six municipalities, brings together nearly 200 voluntary workers for the tasks of service and security - and this for the altogether nine days of the three groups. Some of the most memorable places for the participants have been the service stations maintained by village communities, sports clubs, schools and other voluntary organisations. A great contribution to the spirit of the ski tour  has been brought by the accommodations at places like Hosio, Ruona, Honkamaa and Kivalo.