Lapland Lake: a bit of Finland in the Adirondacks

Lapland Lake Composite Food

By Liz Clancy Lerner

The skeptic in me wanted to immediately dismiss the authenticity of Lapland Lake's "Finnish" theme. But after taking in the picturesque setting, sampling the Lohilaatlkko (salmon casserole) and hearing cheesy Finnish versions of American pop music playing outside the lodge - I was sold, er myyty.

Not only does Lapland Lake have world-class cross country skiing, but it makes you feel like you've been transported to the Lapland -- just 60 miles from Albany.

The resort is run by former U.S. Olympic cross country skier Olavi Hirvonen and his wife Ann. Olavi's parents are from Finland and he spent quite a few years living there. His passion for skiing and all things Finnish pour out of this place.

If you're thinking about planning a trip, there are a few things to keep in mind (like where to find the reindeer)...

Lapland Lake Composite 1

Lapland Lake is located on the southern edge of the Adirondacks. There are 38 km of skate, ski, and cross country trails and 12 km of snowshoe trails. Olavi, a man with high-standards, grooms the trails himself and has been doing so for 33 years.

One of the first things that I learned about Lapland was that if you rent skis through them, you can trade in the skis for shoeshoes, ice skates or a snow tube for no extra charge.

Lessons are offered for children (on weekends and holidays) and adults (everyday) at Lapland.

There are many places to explore at Lapland if you follow the map and read the signs, including two reindeer along the lake trail. Their names are Talvi (Finnish for "winter") and Vilma (Finnish for "winter breeze"). A sign introduces the reindeer to visitors saying, "We love people, cold weather, and plenty of attention."

I visited on a busy Saturday but the resort didn't seem overwhelmed. In fact, the entire tone of Lapland is far less stressful than many downhill ski resorts. There are no lines to wait in and no cards to get scanned. The only area that seemed a bit crowded was the lodge. It snowed the entire day and the fireplace was quite popular.

Just down the road from the lodge is Tuulen Tupa, a restaurant in a small yellow building. Try the Finnish platter. It includes cabbage rolls, beet salad, mushroom salad, Finnish meatballs and my beloved salmon potato casserole: Lohilaatlkko.

They also serve more typical ski lodge food: chili, hot dogs and quesadillas. Some unique beers were on the menu as well.

On Saturdays there is free live music from 3-5:30pm at Tuulen and a 3-course dinner menu.

If you wanted to make a weekend of it, there are Adirondack Mountain tupas (cabins) dotted along the resort. Prices vary depending on time of year and number of guests, but they seemed mostly occupied the day I visited.

Getting there is pretty straight-forward: take I-90 to exit 27 at Amsterdam and drive along Rt. 30 North (the road has its own set of attractions) for 27 miles. Then take Benson Road to Storer Road. But beware, if it's snowy take your time on Benson; it didn't seem to have the best snow removal.

Find It

Lapland Lake Nordic Resort
139 Lapland Lake Road
Northville, NY 12134


I love Lapland and greatly recommend their Women's ski events. The day includes a group lesson and guided trail skiing for beginners and intermediates. I had never XC skied before and it was a fantastic way to learn! Everyone there is SO friendly and helpful.


I must go here. Thanks for sharing!

Lapland is indeed a beautiful setting. But if you are going with the intention of snowshoeing rather than cross-country skiing, you may want to think twice. The admission price is the same whatever you do, and the snowshoeing trails really aren't worth paying for when you have so many other options available to you free of charge. Cross-country skiers should also note that Saratoga Spa State Park has ample amounts of free cross-country skiing -- and the trails are groomed equally as well.

One of my favorite places! I don't mind paying because they do such a wonderful job grooming their trails and it's peanuts compared to downhill prices. Very friendly people and a very cozy lodge (although it can get crowded at times).
I don't know why anyone would pay to showshoe.

C - that's great to know!

Olivia, that is amazing. How/why/when did you find this?

Thanks Carey! Let us know if you go.

Thanks for the input, Drew. I agree that there are some great (free) places to xc ski and snowshoe around here too.

The friendliness of the people working there was huge for me too, Rob.

It is a phenomenal place, and I agree with it being much more laid back than other cross country sites around the area. Garnet Hill is also worth a trek.

If we're talking free and local, many of the local golf courses will allow you on their grounds, and will several local farms. Take a look, call and ask, and you'll be happy with what you find.

You can't beat the apres-ski, though. A few chilled beverages, an assortment of other-worldly menu items and a crackling fire. I'm there!

Thank you so much for writing this! I skiied here in elementary school but for the life of me couldn't recall the name! Can't wait to visit again!

The summers are great too! The lake is just perfect!

Lapland Lakes on tosi hauska paikka! We visited last winter for the first time and really enjoyed it. It was my first time cross country skiing, so I got a beginner's lesson. (It must have been a good lesson, because by the end I was able to ski some intermediate loops on my own.) I would definitely recommend this place.

Lapland is awesome. Great for families. Trails weave gently through beautiful pine forest. Plenty of intermediate skiing for your wife and kids with no discouraging killer hills. Mellowing out in the lodge by the fire or upstairs in the "kids" area is perfect for a quick break. Skiing the lake is nice too, gives you a chance to enjoy the sun. Trail pass is nominal compared to a day of downhill. Get up there and enjoy it!

I used to go to Lapland Lake before people really found it and knew about it.. it was ALWAYS a good time. So many good memories.. I should dig out the skis and get back out there.

Once, our entire family rented the farmhouse for Thanksgiving.. so much fun!

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