If you are a friend of extreme sports you probably have heard about base jumping, cliff diving, highlining or canyon swinging. Those are not the sports we are talking about today. Finnish people don’t have a death wish, and we can sure find other ways to get our adrenaline levels up. You don’t have to go up on plane to wet yourself, you can do it at the line to the local grill after a long night out drinking.

We Finns have our own extreme sports, and like our extreme seasons, they can take a bit of time to get used to. No one usually gets hurt (I did get a soccer ball in the face at swamp soccer once, but because we were all waist deep in swamp, the kick didn’t have a lot of power in it), and you get to have fun and laugh at yourself and other Finns while having a beer. Or twelve.

Swamp Soccer

We had this one first, and we have the original World Championship Games of Swamp Soccer every summer at Hyrynsalmi, North East Finland. UK tries to steal it but we know the truth. You take your good old soccer (we call it football, since we actually use our feet in our version), and take it to a swamp. A wet one, so you make sure you’ll sink right in there and get all dirty and nasty. Simple as that. Then we see which team wins.

There’s different series, so everyone can find one that suits them the best. You do need a team though, but it doesn’t have to be a professional one. Friends, companies, sports clubs, football teams, any team will do. Add a little summer rain and alcohol and you’ll have a party. It’s a great experience, and if you get too cold you can go warm up in a sauna near the bog pool.

Snow Soccer

The country is covered in snow for the most of the year anyway, so let’s make use of it. The games are played on a frozen lake also in North East Finland. The fields start untouched, covered in snow, and the first games are always the most fun. The last games the snow has been trampled and there could even be a little water rising up on top of the ice. So dress warmly, and please have at least one sober(ish) friend with you so you don’t pass out in the cold.

Berry Picking World Championships

Since we love our berry pickings. This event gathers a large amount of contestants and audience to enjoy the richness Finnish nature, especially lingonberries. Only danger here are the polar bears* and mosquitos. This one is located at Suomussalmi, again at the North Eastern part of Finland. Maybe there’s something in the water around there…

Wife Carrying World Championships

Because who doesn’t want to carry their wife around an 250 meter obstacle course, with sand, grass, asphalt and water? This has been around annually since 1992, at Sonkajärvi, Eastern Finland. At least it’s not north east this time.

Beer Floating

As fun as it sounds. Bunch of people take their rafts and their beers and go float on a river together. Fascinating.

Winter swimming

Or “Ice swimming”. At least this happens all around Finland, not just one weird part of it. You take a frozen lake or a river, lots of those two be found in the land of the thousand lakes and neverending winter. And then you carve a hole in it. You then take your sweet butt and jump in to that hole. It’s supposed to be super healthy for you, but maybe not quite as fun as the beer floating. And naturally, since it’s Finland, we compete in this too.

* You don’t really believe we have polar bears in Finland, do you?

— Editors

The writer of this story is a member of the Mom of Finland community.

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