Kaisa Makarainen Ylisoutajan sillalla

Ski-trail groomer races by the window

Best thing about Joensuu is nature

Kaisa Mäkäräinen retired from her successful biathlon career three years ago and is now enjoying the ease of living in Joensuu. ”The ski trail starts just outside my house.”

Kaisa Mäkäräinen is native to Kainuu but moved to Joensuu in 2003. She started her studies in Physics at the University of Joensuu at the time.

After graduating from the Sotkamo upper secondary school specialised in sports, she decided to set the geographical bar at the height of Jyväskylä.

”I decided that was the southernmost I would go, because there was a general consensus at the time that there are no proper winters in Southern Finland,” Kaisa explains.

In addition to Jyväskylä, Kaisa considered Kuopio and Rovaniemi as her options. ”When I first came flat-hunting in Joensuu, I had never even visited the city.”

Kaisa finds at least one difference between people from Kainuu and North Karelia: the latter are more outgoing. ”It is really easy to get to know people here,” Kaisa says happily.

Thanks to her success in biathlon, the City of Joensuu awarded Kaisa a plot for building a house in 2011. ”We only started the building project in 2016.”

Kaisa still lives in the same house, and winter mornings are her favourite.

”The cross-country skiing trails go just by the window. ”When I am eating breakfast, I can amuse myself by watching the ski-trail groomer race by,” Kaisa says.

”When I am eating breakfast, I can amuse myself by watching the ski-trail groomer race by,” Kaisa says.

Kaisa says that the ski tracks that wind by Noljakka seem to be in excellent condition almost all the time, even though the profile of the trails is a bit flat for a top-level skier.

”They are not designed for competitive athletes, but since I can access the trails practically from my doorstep, it is easy to ski to Lykynlampi or Pärnäväärä where you will find steeper sections, too.

”I really appreciate the ease of daily life, so I enjoy heading out to the ski trails straight from home.”

Kaisa Makarainen juoksee polulla
The former top athlete knows how to appreciate the closeness of nature and jogging terrains that can be accessed from the front door all year round.

Kaisa hopes she will be able to live in Joensuu in the future, too.

This depends on her work. Her work as a coach means a lot of travelling around Finland. Kaisa coaches in Vuokatti, for example, and she is also a biathlon commentator for the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle.

Kaisa thinks that shortage of accommodation options in North Karelia is the reason why there are not many coaching opportunities available. In Vuokatti, accommodation is available right next to the ski trails, which is a requirement for organising training camps. 

Kaisa says that the best thing about Joensuu is that nature is always near, wherever you go.

”There are no massive queues, and it is easy to get everywhere,” Kaisa says. 

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