The northern units of the Finnish infantry will receive new skis for moving in deep, stony snow. They will be produced by a company from Karelia specializing in cross-country skiing, run by a multiple Olympic medalist and world champion. This is the first winter order of this type for the Finnish army carried out by the NATO Defense Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA).
As reported by the local magazine “Viikko Pohjois-Karjala”, the military skis are camouflage white. The Army also drew up an additional specification to make the bindings practical, i.e. to fit soldiers’ boots and to be operated with gloves. The entire process of putting on and taking off the skis should not take more than 20 seconds. So far, soldiers for cross-country skiing had to use insulated winter boots.
This project is no accident; we have been cooperating with the armed forces for several years – admitted the head of the facility in Kitee in North Karelia, Harri Kirvesniemi, one of the most successful Finnish skiers. The six-time Olympic medalist and world champion from the late 1980s and early 1990s also expects orders from other NATO countries whose units must operate in winter conditions.
Special bindings and poles will be provided by other domestic producers. This year, 8.2 thousand pairs of skis are to be ready. The contract value is estimated at several million euros.
Main photo source: puolustusvoimat.fi