When you purchase gear through links on our site, we may earn a small commission. Here’s why you can trust our tests and our affiliate partner.

TheKiteMag 55 The Mission Eleveight Arthur Guillebert 6 1200x709 - The Mission: Harness Party

The Mission: Harness Party

Arthur Guillebert, winner of the recent GKA Freestyle World Cup in Brazil, headed somewhere decidedly colder earlier this year when he joined the Pallas Kiteweek, a snowkite event in Finland’s northern wilderness. Arthur, photographer Tomi Tähti, and event organizers Harri Rautava and Petri Sandström told us how the week went down.

TheKiteMag 55 The Mission Eleveight Arthur Guillebert 1 1260x754 - The Mission: Harness Party

Arthur: I was very excited to go to Pallas because it was a crazy new experience in a new country for me. I had already done a bit of snowkiting before in France, but in the mountains, and never in such wide-open unspoiled spots. The week was really amazing and super well-structured so we got to see and do so much. The backdrop of the surrounding nature is incredible and we had enough wind for kiting every day. The highlight was the expedition to a faraway mountain lodge where we spent the night in nature – it was super nice.

It was really great to spend time with the team and there was a very good atmosphere between us. We ate all our meals together, went kiting straight from the hotel, laughed a lot, and had a good time. After each session, we met in the sauna to drink beer and there were some parties organized during the week – the harness party was really fun, where everyone ended up attached together… Thanks again for such an extraordinary trip guys – I have so many nice memories of a super friendly team and a fun time together.

Tom: I’m just the photographer, but what comes to my mind about this year is that we had a bit of everything – very good snow, blue bird skies, but also total whiteout blizzard conditions. The wind went from almost nothing to over 70 knots at the top of the fjäll. This year the northern lights showed up almost every night. In the all the ten years I’ve been at Pallas Kiteweek, I’ve never seen so many different conditions, and I discovered that we have only used a fraction of the Pallas National Park potential.

From a photographer’s point of view it was exhausting as always, but also so much fun that I would not miss it for anything. The best day was when we were at Montellin hut. Arthur, Petri, Youri Zoon and others kited over the fjälls the day before and stayed the night. I walked up the fjäll the next day from the other side for the photoshoot. Arthur was such a professional rider as you would expect, and great to work with. He seemed to be really in touch with the snow as he was stomping tricks with amazing style and pulling off some stylish airs. It is always nice to see riders enjoying themselves when the conditions are good.

TheKiteMag 55 The Mission Eleveight Arthur Guillebert 11 - The Mission: Harness Party
TheKiteMag 55 The Mission Eleveight Arthur Guillebert 12 - The Mission: Harness Party

When the boys started to ride down from the fjäll, they were a bit too brave with how far they could ride into the forest. Getting a kite down from a tree can take several hours, and finding the way to the car in darkness is not easy task… Amazingly, no kites were hurt during the day. Once we reached the tree line, getting back to the car through the forest was a nice snowboard ride, although we had to keep our speed in check on the walking tracks in case any pedestrians were coming the other way!

Harri: Pallas is as untouched, unspoiled and pure as anything in this world, and as if someone had made it purposefully for snowkiting. Pallas has nothing – no nightclubs, ski shops, flashy lights, loud music, or even restaurants – and yet, it has absolutely everything. In 2013 we hosted the first Pallas weekend event. We thought that if we got 10 people coming we would be happy, but 30 kiters signed up! After two years of hosting weekend events the local hotel suggested opening a week early especially for us, and thus Pallas Kiteweek started. The atmosphere during the week is something special and you quickly make friends. You can go to the sauna, restaurant or lobby and just start talking about wind, knowing that whoever is there is instantly on the same page as you are.

Over the decade of hosting the events we have only had one day when there has not been enough wind to snowkite anywhere in the area. Some days special lightwind gear is needed, and some you need to be prepared for strong wind, but one thing for sure is that you always want to head out. No two days are alike. You go out hunting for the best snow, the best angle for the wind and when you score, then it’s like riding powder with your own ski lift strapped to your harness. I love to kite up to the top of the mountain and sit there for a while alone, just looking around…

Petri: I’ve been helping Harri co-organize Pallas Week for some years now and I never tire of it. It’s all about the nature for me and I really look forward to time away, with complete digital detachment, enjoying the silence that the incredible landscape brings. It was fantastic heading out with our split boards on the expedition with Arthur, both of us towing sleds to get deeper into the National Park and staying overnight in a cabin. Not only did we experience virgin snow and pristine landscapes, but we got back to basics in the hut, building a fire, and melting snow for water to cook together, with some warming rum on the side! The northern lights show is incredible out there as the nearest electricity is over 15 km away, and there’s no sound from anything else so it felt like the sky was dancing just for you. Being with Arthur was cool as you could see just how skilled he is on a board of any type. He wasn’t afraid of the heights at all and went fully into technical tricks even in sketchy places on mountain walls. He still looked confident and his kite control was so impressive even in the changeable, sometimes zero winds. 

One of my roles at Pallas Week is to organize the party, and this year we had a lot of fun as we got everyone to wear their harnesses and throughout the night we’d take a leash and attach it to anyone at the bar. By the end of the night there was a huge ball of people dancing together and it was really funny. Arthur loved it and everyone had such a good time. It’s the people that make the week so special and we always leave the week as firm friends. I have some really good friends because of it even though I might only them see once a year. It’s a really special place and week that brings together the best people, whether that’s newbies trying out snowkiting for the first time or more seasoned Pallas fans.

Want More?

You can get the latest goodness from the world of kiteboarding by subscribing to our print edition. You'll get 5 packed issues, plus a free tee and free digital access. And you'll be directly helping with our sustainability efforts too!

Check it out now
Subscribe Today