Five from Finland
This Finnish quintet will help you to gear up right for the most exciting winter adventures.Julia Helminen
Winter is in full swing here in Finland and other parts of the northern hemisphere. Instead of snuggling up in bed with a blanket, let’s venture into the great outdoors and have some real winter fun. Just gear up right.
With its lack of sunshine, frigid cold and freezing winds, winter can be challenging to cope with. Finns, however, are seasoned experts in not just surviving the long and snowy winter months but enjoying them to the full.
The country is home to many brands offering hi-tech clothes and footwear, perfect for the cold season. These include Halti, Luhta, Kuoma and Pomar. There’s also plenty to choose from for winter sports enthusiasts: Peltonen has been producing cross-country skis since 1945, whereas Pusu has wooden snowboards and skis on offer and launched environmentally friendly all-mountain skis made with the wood and waste-based Spinnova fibre. Meanwhile, Tackla has made a name for itself by producing the world’s leading ice hockey apparel and delivering uniforms to more than 130 hockey teams in over 40 countries around the globe.
Check out this quintet for more fresh Finnish ideas on how to embrace winter in the most comfortable and fun way.
Founded in 2014 by a husband-wife duo who struggled to find environmentally sound yet stylish fashion, VAI-KØ is an ethical clothing brand particularly famous for beanies that keep their wearers warm and comfy, no matter how chilly it gets. The beanies are designed to be a great choice for both urban and outdoor activities.
“We want to combine functionality and style,” explained co-founder and CEO Henri Vanonen. “Whether you’re chilling in Kallio [a hipster district in central Helsinki], or hiking or skiing out and about, you can wear the same beanie.”
In addition to beanies, VAI-KØ’s product range includes such cold-weather essentials as headbands, neck gaiters, leg warmers, gloves, scarves, socks and sweaters – all made of high-quality merino wool coming from Argentinian organic farms. The final products are knit and sewn in Finland.
According to Vanonen, it’s important for VAI-KØ to make every single step of the production process as sustainable and transparent as possible, improve the life of people working with the product during its life cycle and, ultimately, inspire positive change in the fashion industry.
“We want to encourage people to buy less stuff but to make sure that the little stuff they buy is of high quality and durable so that, essentially, we really just need less of it.”
Dog owners know it well – our beloved four-legged friends need their daily walks even when temperatures drop below zero and snow falls. Thus, proper winter gear is essential for humans and pets alike.
Founded in 2019 and headquartered in Espoo, PAIKKA offers premium dog clothes that combine innovative materials, functional details and profoundly thoughtful Finnish design. For example, special far-infrared emitting lining used in winter jackets helps dogs to recover from exercise and prevents injuries by improving blood flow and microcirculation, while insulation padding – made using 78 per cent recycled materials – not only provides great warmth for pets but also does good for the environment.
On top of winter jackets, hand-knit sweaters and raincoats, PAIKKA delivers various accessories and everyday essentials that support a healthy lifestyle for dogs, many of which have been featured in the world’s leading pet industry magazines.
“Our passion for human-grade quality, perfect fit and functionality combined with stylish appearance is valued broadly by modern pet owners,” said CEO Tea Kainu.
The world needs sustainable means of travelling on snow. Minna and Pasi Kauppinen, experienced travel industry entrepreneurs from Central Finland, came to this conclusion a few years ago after they noticed a growing interest among tourists for exploring the winter nature in a respectful and non-intrusive way.
As a result, the Kauppinens developed eLyly, the world’s first electric snow scooter that is quiet, emission-free and easy to manoeuvre. The final design, inspired by Finland’s natural and cultural heritage, was elaborated by renowned designer Harri Koskinen.
“We haven’t found anything like it elsewhere. Our electric snow scooter is ecological but also fun to drive,” enthused Pasi Kauppinen. “It enables people to experience nature the way it was meant to be done, in peace and quiet.”
The eLyly scooter, which weighs about 50 kilos with the battery, has a top speed of 25 kilometres per hour and provides a range of 20–30 kilometres on a single charge, is targeted at everyone cherishing ecological values. One of the key target segments is travel operators and nature resorts, which can either purchase or lease the scooters.
Did you know that Finns don’t put their bikes aside for winter but zealously keep on pedalling in snow? Most Finnish cities take pride in offering infrastructure planned for winter cycling, but for a safe ride hitting the road with the right tyres is crucially important.
Suomi Tyres manufactures a wide range of studded winter tyres that cyclists can trust. All the tyres are produced using a non-toxic, environmentally friendly rubber compound at a factory in Lieksa in the North Karelia region.
The Nordic countries, including Iceland, Norway and Sweden, are naturally the markets the company targets in the first place, but the tyres are also in demand in Switzerland and the Netherlands, and even as far as in North America.
Keeping up with the demand, Suomi Tyres produced around 70 000 winter tyres in 2020 and doubled that amount in 2021. It is also planning to invest five million euros to renew its factory’s machinery and equipment in the near future.
“We know the winter conditions better than anyone else. Moreover, here in Lieksa we have the capacity and knowledge for producing studded tyres that only a few tyre manufacturers in the world have,” explained co-founders Timo Väänännen and Jani Turunen.
True to its Nordic roots, Lumene has developed unique expertise in maintaining skin’s moisture balance under extreme climatic stress. To work wonders on skin, Lumene uses such natural ingredients as birch sap, blueberry, cloudberry, sea buckthorn and lingonberry found in Finnish forests. In fact, the average share of naturally derived ingredients in its skincare products is around 90 per cent and the aim is to bring it up to 95 per cent by 2025.
Lumene is also known as a Nordic pioneer in circular economy within the beauty industry. Over the last few years, it has been working hard on increasing the use of industrial side streams and recycled materials as ingredients for products and packaging, has improved the recyclability of packaging and significantly cut the carbon footprint of its Espoo-based factory.
“Sustainability is one of Lumene’s core values, and ensuring product quality and environmental friendliness throughout our products’ life cycle is of paramount importance to us,” stated chief operation officer Kristina Enqvist.