Kiilopää, Finland


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Codefreeze is an unconference with very little structure. Actually, it’s not a conference at all. CodeFreeze is a time and place for software craftspeople to meet. We would like to have likeminded people to gather in one place and have long conversations about craftsmanship over a beer. And to practice our coding skills.

While the core conference days are from Monday to Wednesday, participants typically spend a full week in Kiilopää to enjoy the amazing winter nature and amazing activities.

This year, we’ll experience new moon - time when the moon does not enlighten us, but hopefully gives more room for Aurora Borealis to do that.

Did we mention that this place is above the arctic circle? Which is pretty cool. Or freezingly cold actually.

Suomen Latu Kiilopää Image credit: Suomen Latu Kiiloää

Sat Jan 5th - Sat 12th 2019

In the beautiful scenes of Kiilopää, Inari, Finland.

A family-friendly 7-day unconference that feels like a vacation.

Suomen Latu Kiilopää Image credit: Suomen Latu Kiiloää


Since 2015 codefreeze has happened every year around January. 2018 we hade more than 25 participants plus their family and friends.

To get an idea of what happened you can find the conference schedule from 2017 and 2018 on Trello. Most codefreeze topics (green) have additional information in links in the cards.


Blog Posts


Winter? Really?

Have you ever been coding under the northern lights? Or in a Lapp daylight? Early-mid February is one of the best times to see northern lights in action. And it also happens, that there’s a full moon during the stay. We’ve done what we can - provide best possible time for some extraordinary experiences.

We know it might be rather cold. Temperatures down to -25 ºC are normal at the time of the year. For some clothing tips, visit here.

Smoke sauna?

Being in Lapland in the winter, and one of the most important things is to have a decent sauna. And we do. There’s a big enough smoke sauna to have probably up to 30 programmers. And possibility for winter swimming on a relaxing little stream.

Want to relax a bit while coding?

Luckily, nature is at the core of Kiilopää. And not only that, Kiilopää provides daily trips to nearby fells guided by experienced nature guides. For example, there’s a snow shoe trip on Wednesday morning.

And what does it cost?

The prices are valid for the whole stay during the following duration

The prices include stay, breakfast, lunch, dinner and (most probably) smoke sauna on Monday or Tuesday:

CodeFreeze is proudly supported by these fantastic sponsors:
Nitor Tespack

Kiilopää: a magical place in Lapland

Kiilopää Fell Center in Lapland is an ideal place to get in touch with the Nordic wilderness. At Kiilopää you can conquer a fell, dip into an ice-cold lake, and ski under the Northern Lights. Or you can just sick back and enjoy the surrounding natural beauty, sense the arctic peace and quiet, and listen to exotic Lapland stories by the fireplace.

Kiilopää is owned by Suomen Latu, the Outdoor Association of Finland. Suomen Latu is a promoter of outdoor activities, an expert in hiking and an organisation which is open to all. The main objective of Suomen Latu has always been to increase Finnish people’s interest in exercise as well as developing possibilities for outdoor, conditioning and recreational exercise. Nowadays guarding everyman’s right has become more and more important.

For more information about Kiilopää please visit here.

Directions: How to get there

By plane

The nearest airport is in Ivalo (IVL). Both Finnair and Norwegian flies from Helsinki to Ivalo, if not daily, then almost. There are also some direct flights to Frankfurt, London and other places. Find out about the flight schedule.

From every single flight arriving at Ivalo, there is a bus connection from the airport to Kiilopää.

By train

Take the earlier night train from south Finland to Rovaniemi. From Rovaniemi, there is a bus connection, leaving from the railway station.

Winter Swimming

Winter swimming
Care to try swimming in -1 ºC (water) / -25 ºC (air)

New moon
On Tuesday, there is 'Moon and Stars' snow shoe trek in the night.

Full Moon

Have you done The Dip?

The Sauna World of Kiilopää is called Kuurakaltio. There are two electric saunas with dressing rooms and showers, as well as a traditional Finnish smoke sauna. There are separate sauna facilities for men and women.

Have you ever been winter swimming? It is an experience when the air temperature is around -20 ºC while the water is -1 ºC. You might want to dip into the refreshing waters of Kiilopuro fell brook. And if feeling really crazy, why not to take a fresh start in the morning?

During Codefreeze, the smoke sauna is heated on Tuesday on Wednesday, and on Tuesday we have a private sauna from 3pm-6pm.

For more information about the smoke sauna in Kiilopää, please visit here.

Spending some time at Kiilopää?

As folks found out on codefreeze 2015, the scenery is beautiful and there would be tons of interesting things to do, outside the realms of talking software. Suomen Latu Kiilopää organizes quite interesting set of safaris for all people. The possible safaris include, for example

Searching for Northern Lights

a guided trip with snow shoes to nearby fells in the late evening to see the fantastic Aurora Borealis.

On a Reindeer Trek

A reindeer caravan has been harnessed for you in the reindeer yard ready for your journey into the silent wilderness. Guided by an original Sámi reindeer herder, you will drive your own reindeer along the journey. The reindeer will take you across the enchanting snowy white scenery. The frost glistens like diamonds on the shoulders of the pine trees. You sit warmly and comfortably on reindeer skins in a sleigh. Reindeer bells gently ring as their hooves crunch through the snow. When the reindeer caravan returns to the yard, the experience of a warm “kota” awaits you. Enjoy some hot drink while a reindeer herder gladly tells you stories of his life in the wilds of Lapland. Transfer to and from reindeer farm.

Searching for Northern Lights on a Reindeer Trek

Reindeer caravan will take you in to the woods. Moon and stars will guide your way and the silence of wilderness will around you. Hot drinks and stories about reindeer in the kota after the sleigh ride. Transfer to and from reindeer farm.

And More

For more information about the safaris, including prices, see the brochure here or visit the official website.

Speakers Participants

Register yourself with a pull request to be among the first people to receive details about this unique conference!


Where can I get more information?

If you have further questions, ask them in the #codefreeze_fi channel in the Software Crafters Slack or ask Aki.

SoCraTes Finland?

Codefreeze is proud to be part of the family of SoCraTes conferences spread all over the Europe. The family of SoCraTes conferences include

Picking the right clothes for the Lapp winter

Basically, the most important thing in Lapp winter is to wear clothes in layers.

Here I’ll describe what I often wear, when in Lapland, whether snowboarding, skiing, or hiking (in winter).

Inner layer

For me, clothing always starts from the innermost layer. For me, it is the most important, that this particular layer insulates well and does not get/feel wet. Merino wool underwear is my choice - nowadays I typically wear 100% merino wool from smartwool

If it is cold, say more than -10, I typically wear strechmesh underpants that insulate too rather well. On top of that, I might have some extra middle-wear, but only if I am not going to do any physical exercise. Or if it really cold. With this setup (of inner layers), I’ve been skiing in -25C easily.

Similarly I wear on my body - merino wool t-shirt, another layer of merino wool, with some mesh shirts. Typically I wear, like this. 2-3 layers of very thin merino wool / mesh shirts. On very cold days, I might add one more merino wool shirt.

Middle layer

Middle layer is something I typically wear only when I’m not doing anything physical. Or, when in Codefreeze, probably all the time. Especially in the Stars and the Moon night trek - it’s not going to be much of an exericse - cold it might be.

In middle layer I wear, for the biggest suprise, either more merino wool, or something totally different, either something made of PolarTec or Fleece.

Outer layer

For outer layer, it’s enough that it is wind resistant. And maybe cozy enough to wear. I typically don’t wear anything super expensive GoreTex jackets/trousers. In winter, I myself have both soft shell jacket, like and an anorak, like. I use an anorak when skiing, and a soft shell jacket when snowboarding. Why - I don’t really know.

For trousers, something comfy and windproof, like these Fjällraven trousers.

Anyway, the most important thing is, that it should be wind resistant. At least if planning to do any physical exercise above the tree level.

Other garments

Others then?

Hats? Merino wool Buff - don’t hesitate. But two of those. Or three. That way, you can have a very warm hat (2 Buffs) and one very warm neckwarmer. Or bring normal hat, under which you can have a Buff hat.

I have 2 merino wool Buffs always with me. And some other hats, some are windproof, most are not.

Gloves? I have, surprise again, merino wool inner gloves with warm outer gloves. Actually I have so many different kinds of gloves I can’t even count. When doing anything physical, I wear very thinly gloves. Other times I wear the most warm I find. For you - bring at least some gloves.

Socks? Could you guess? I wear only merino wool socks. Nothing else. Matters.

Few more words

That’s what I wear. Mostly merino wool. Except of some inner layer mesh clothes and the outermost layer, which has to be windproof. Easy, isn’t it. I wear using the same principles year around, if hiking / cycling in non-summer temperatures -> I wear merino wool 1-N layers with wind proof (or GoreTex) outer layer. Easy.

For Codefreeze, for you - what to bring. No need to buy everything. If you want something - think about buying something made from 100% merino wool - that I think would provide the most value and that could be used later. Buff. again - my favorite garment of all: merino wool Buff. It made of awesomeness, in it’s pure form. It has to be.

Anyway, I’ll bring most of my gear. I’ll be around from Sunday evening until Thursday (early) morning. I will be helping with the outer layer - so that no-one actually needs to freeze.

And, if you’be read this far - please bring swimming suit. I know, we are in Finland and in Finland we go to sauna naked. That’s true, except in (most) public saunas, where there can be anyone. And, swimming suit is nice when dipping into the rather refreshing water nearby the sauna.

#proTip: To acclimatize ourselves (I do this too, and I’ve experienced the benefits already) - when we’re taking a shower, let’s turn the knob to the coldest and enjoy a really refreshing cold shower. For a few seconds (at start) and then few tens of seconds. Doing that, and freezing cold temperatures in Lapland don’t feel that cold anymore.

Attending Codefreeze with Children

Are children welcome at Codefreeze?

In short, yes. We’d love for you to bring your kids.

Will there be other kids?

Usually yes. It helps to connect with other parents so you can arrange sessions for children that need preparation.

What kinds of things might my children enjoy at Codefreeze?

The snow (it might be clean enough to eat). Slayrides, going downhill on the slope with the totem pole - it gives you a sense of accomplishment. Making friends with the other kids. The quiet outside. The sauna (on lower temperatures or with a little bathtub). Some children have even enjoyed the dip - maybe you can make some badges for their accomplishments?

What kinds of things might be frustrating for my kids?

Adults will mainly speak English to each other which they might not understand. The marketplace takes quite long so it is good to find something to do nearby. Children usually need structure and Codefreeze can become quite loud and unorganised - you might need someone to tell them what to focus on. Some sessions might not be suitable for kids.

Is there someone who can provide childcare for my kids?

Not officially, but you can connect with other parents to maybe arrange something.

Do all children speak [my language]? What age are they?

Children of all kind of native languages will join and they don’t all speak English. Young kids sometimes become friends even if they can’t verbally communicate. They have been of varying ages from 2 years upwards.

I can’t bring my kids because of the school holiday - can you move the dates?

Sorry, we can’t move the dates at the moment but you can look into participating part of the time. In some countries/schools it might be possible to arrange an exception for a few days and have children do homework during the time. Children can learn a lot about Sami culture and possibly bring that back into their schools. Depending on the weather you could do some science experiments like throwing boiling water into the air and have it frozen or making popsicles in the snow. Other ideas: blow frozen soap bubbles, popcorn on the fire and watching a movie

Is the food child compatible?

The food provided by the venue is very greasy and you might struggle if you have food intolerances. Lunch is usually quite salty soup & salad. Children usually enjoy the dinner. It’s possible to self cater in the accommodations - there is a small shop in a town nearby or you could bring your own ingredients. The tap water is very good but you need a bottle or thermos to bring water on hikes.

What should I know about accomodation?

Cabins might be 15m walk away but could be easier with sleds. However the number of sleds is currently limited, you might ask about increasing them with reception in advance. Wilderness cabins only have one room with bunk beds which might not work for you. There are some bigger cabins (for 10 people) that are more expensive (pohiamm ukku?) which have extra rooms that can provide more privacy if your children are fuzzy sleepers. These are not part of the Codefreeze packages

Which of the activities are good for kids?
What should I pack in addition to the official packing list?
Where can I get more information regarding attending Codefreeze with children?

If you have further questions, ask them in the #parents channel in the Software Crafters Slack or ask Aki.