History

Huippu has served travellers since 1954. Ylämaja (Upper Hut), an old hut made of timber, is a reminder of history of tourism in Lapland as it was one of the very first services for alimentation and lodging in Saariselkä.

 

HISTORY

In the year 1865 – five years before the great Lappish gold rush in river Ivalojoki – gold was found in river Luttojoki near the arctill hill. Rural police chief K.W. Planting panned “the signs of gold” by Ruijapolku Trail.

 

In 1913 the road between Sodankylä and Kyrölä village (now Ivalo) was built as well as the road leading up to the summit.

 

Around the same time, a fire guard was placed on top of the summit for signs of possible fires in the surrounding landscapes unfolding dozens of kilometres.

 

In 1931, the road to Liinahamari in Petsamo was finished. Tourism increased and Lotta Svärd-society planned building a cafeteria on top of Kaunispää summit.

 

In the 30’s, the top of Kaunispää summit was popular especially amongst the residents of Ivalo for various gatherings and parties.

 

In November 1944 – as World War II spread to fighting in Lapland – bloody battles took place in the hillsides of Kaunispää. All the buildings on top of the summit, the fire guardians hut, the grand barn and few other buildings were destroyed.

 


In 1952, a new Ylämaja, fire guardians hut with towers and a café, was built

 

1954 marks the beginning of tourism on top of the summit. Both the restaurant and souvenir shop has been enlarged twice ever since.

 

1955 drilled well constructed

 

1957 first triangulation tower built in Kaunispää

 

1971 ski slopes of Kaunispää were commissioned

 

1986 the current Kaunispään Huippu restaurant was built

 

1999 extention of Kaunispään Huippu and the new souvenir shop were completed

 

2011 inaguration of the Tower of Kaunispää

 

Saariselka tourist resort, nowadays located at the feet of the summit, has expanded up to the tree line of Kaunispää’s southern summits. Ski lifts go all the way to the top, through which a maintained ski trail and a snowmobile track run.

 

From top of Kaunispää leaves the world’s longest, 1,2 kilometre long sledging hill which enables you to speed down at 40 km/h at best.