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The International Cross Country Ski School of Finland was established in 2015 in order to help immigrant children adapt to Finland’s long and harsh winter.

During our first winter season, we were able to introduce 14 children to the best of Finland’s winter culture: Cross Country Skiing. The children were provided with technique training and top notch equipment. We were fortunate to get some of the country’s top skiers to volunteer, including former Olympians Aino-Kaisa Saarinen, Marjo Matikainen-Kalltröm and Martti Jylhä. Ski retreats were also held in Pajulahti and Kiilopää.


The time has come for us to prepare for next winter. Our first task is to build an archive of materials for the Internet so that others may teach groups to ski under the umbrella of our school. Our intention is register at least 100 children and 10 adults of immigrant backgrounds to learn how to cross country ski in the next season.

By 2017-2018, we plan on expanding our activities to include Finnish born youth at risk to drop out from society.

Anyone wanting to join or volunteer with us can contact us via this website.


What started as a volunteer group has been incorporated into a non-profit organization. We are the International Cross Country Ski School of Finland. Our founding members are Marjo Matikainen-Kallström (Director), Inka Kärkkäinen, Simo-Vilmami Ojanen, Mattias Therman and Axa Sorjanen.



-Founded in September, 2015, a group of volunteer private citizens took 14 children out skiing 25 times around the greater Helsinki area.  Participants were provided with state of the art equipment and taken on 2 ski retreats in Häme and Lapland.

-Skiing was taught by both a large volunteer force which included multiple medal winners Aino-Kaisa Saarinen and Marjo Matikainen-Kallström.

-Both feedback and the overall experience were considered to be positive overall.

-The seeds were planted for an expanded model which would be implemented throughout Finland. The idea is to have participants of different age groups and eventually include all at risk children and youth.


Plan of Action



-Incorporation, gathering of founding members and formation of the board.

-Website goes live.



-Selection of Director of Activities.

-Financing, Phase 1

-Crowdsourcing Campaign.

-Open distribution of materials (i.e., both written materials with visual aids which allow anyone to establish similar projects in any variety of activities.  

-The search for the next season’s physical locations.

-Negotiations with our affiliates concerning equipment, clothing, transportation, etc.

-Negotiations with potential affiliates such as national ski clubs and associations.


September-April (Ski Season)

-Expansion of operations.

-5 schools in the Greater Helsinki Area, 3 schools in other parts of the country and 2-3 schools at refugee centers.

-Participation of 100 youths and 10 adults. The goal would be to assemble a 5 person team for the Finlandia Ski competition.

-Additional ski days for approx. 100 others.

-2 day ski retreat for all participants (in Pajulahti, Vierumäki or Vuokatti).



-Operation will double in size from the previous year.

-Begin joint ski events with Finnish school classes.



-The operation of the school should remain at the size of the previous year.

-addition to the group of the children of needy Finnish families; preferably in the same group as immigrant children.

© 2016 - Kansainvälinen hiihtokoulu

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