Outdoor Academy is a Nordic outdoor education within friluftsliv – the Scandinavian concept of holistic outdoor living – and leadership. We offer courses and full time education from Kvarnen, Kronoby Folk High School in Finland. We travel, teach and work throughout Scandinavia, where we connect and collaborate with many partners.

At Outdoor Academy you can choose to study one or two years full time. The first year is called Nordiskt Friluftsliv (Nordic Outdoor Life) and the second year is called Nordisk Friluftsguide (Nordic Outdoor Guide).


Application (in Swedish)



Nordiskt Friluftsliv (Nordic Outdoor Life)
– safety and a technical base



Nordisk Friluftsguide (Nordic Outdoor Guide) – education of multifaceted leaders for the outdoor industry



The gear list for Nordiskt Friluftsliv Fall

Hiking boots
Large backpack approx. 70-100 liters
Small backpack approx. 30-50 liters
Sleeping bag (-8 degrees Celsius or 17 degrees Fahrenheit/3 seasons)
Sleeping pad
Rain gear
Outdoor clothing
Warm layers (such as a thick fleece, down jacket or similar)
Gloves and mittens
Warm hat
Head Lamp
Mess kit including utensils, plate, and cup
Water bottle
First aid kit
Watertight bag(s)
Outdoor kitchens that work with gasoline (not necessary at the start of the year, there are Trangia kitchens to borrow)
Map case (soft plastic)

If you own climbing, paddling, or fishing equipment you can bring it to the start of school. If you own an MTB bicycle you are welcome to bring it.

Winter (can be arranged during the fall)

Cold weather sleeping bag for -25 degrees Celsius or -13 degrees Fahrenheit
Alpine touring equipment (telemark/randonee/splitboard, skins, poles, boots, etc.)
Climbing skins
Ski goggles
Warm layers
Warm hats

The above list outlines the gear you will need during the year. Our advice is not to buy everything before you begin the education; by borrowing, renting, and testing different alternatives you’re more likely to find what works well for you. The gear you have at home and in your closet will go a long way. In this list we want to highlight the gear we consider to be the most important and that you will use the most during this education.

Read the schedule carefully to see which activities we will be doing during the fall and spring. If you have equipment for any activity, please bring it. Please contact us if you have any questions concerning equipment.


What does the education cost?

Semester fee: 1250€/semester
Equipment deposit: 100€ (will be returned at the end of the year if all school equipment is intact)

Living at school: 175 €/person/month for a shared room and 195 €/person/month for a solo room. The price includes accommodations and meals on school days (breakfast, fika, and lunch Monday-Friday). Rooms with en suite bathrooms and showers cost an extra 20€/month.

What does the semester fee include?

The semester fee covers education, travel, accommodation and food during our common overnight trips. Costs not covered by the semester fee include but are not limited to: First Aid course, Lift passes, fishing permits, and renting personal gear.


Students and employees at Kronoby Folk High School may without fee borrow the schools outdoor recreation gear after being educated in its safety and best usage under the condition that the gear is returned in at least the same condition as it was borrowed in.

The school’s programs always have first priority on all the gear. School’s vehicles and trailers are not included. As a student you may, without extra cost, participate in the school’s short courses as time allows. The civic institute’s presentations are also free.

Equipment costs:

During the education you will need personal gear such as clothing, a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, back pack, alpine touring equipment (skis/splitboard, skins, poles, etc.), hiking boots, etc. If you do not have most of this equipment then you should count on a cost of 1000 – 1800€.

Financial support:

* study grant 250 €
* housing supplement 89 €
Search for your support possibilities at Kela’s pages

As a student at a folk high school you can apply for academic financial support for secondary education. In some cases your parents income affect the size of the academic financial support.

Link to the online application.


A journey with us

It’s possible to define terms like leadership, group processes, the outdoors, etc. with a couple well chosen words that sound philosophical, deep and are more or less meaningless. We want to make these theories into real tools that have practical uses. We focus on thinking though how we do things, why they are done that way and where that leads. Reflecting and processing are valuable tools at Outdoor Academy. We challenge our students to leave their comfort zones on many levels to meet what the individual, the group and the activity invite. Here follows a selection of the qualities our experience has shown us to be most important when educating within outdoor education.

Our responsibility is to tailor the challenges to meet your experience. We as educators can teach you very little, as much as we would like to teach you everything we know. You must be able to teach yourself, to which end our education is built on the grounds that we as educators take responsibility for creating the best possible environment for you to teach yourself. That means that we make sure the water is warm enough when you practice rolling a kayak and cold enough when you learn about ice safety. However you are the one who rolls the kayak and steps through the ice. We are with you as you learn to provide a safe environment where you can dare to challenge yourself.

What truly creates the best environment for your understanding of yourself and others lies in the group you are a part of. We have seen this time and time again. Here’s a hot tip for an exercise in character: Gather a group of adults to the Nordic countries who will travel approximately 20 000 km a year by minibus, let them live for a while in tiny huts in the fells or, even better, out in tents. Let them help one another pull gear sleds on ski trips, argue about which way the map should point, learn to like each other’s favorite foods, recognize one another by how they smell, and share the last piece of chocolate.


You who choose to go the first year here are 18 years of age and know how to swim. You have a passion for the outdoors and don’t hesitate to sleep outside for many nights at a time, even if you don’t get a shower every morning. You are also interested in getting to know your classmates, and willing to engage in new challenges almost every day. You must also be prepared to sit xx number of hours in a minibus in order to come along on our trips throughout the Nordic countries.

To get the most out of the year you must actively take advantage of the many possibilities offered. Then you will have a fun gap year and/or a good base of outdoor knowledge to continue with the next year.

You who stay to study for the second year are a person who is passionate about and wants to work with people and the outdoors. You apply yourself thoroughly to actively being a part of trip planning, leadership, decision making, evaluations, etc. You are willing to engage with new challenges, maybe make mistakes, but then return and develop your skills within the areas you want to work within. You will still need to sit in a minibus, smell your friends, and live life out of a backpack. You also have the possibility to develop your own business idea, or work to get a position within the outdoor industry.


At Kronoby Folk High School you have the possibility to complete the stand alone trade examination for WILDERNESS AND NATURE GUIDES according to the national exam standards in Finland. The wilderness guide exam is a trade examination overseen by the state for people who want to work with outdoor recreation.

The Nordisk Friluftsguide (Nordic Outdoor Guide) education is structured to follow the standards of the stand alone exam. The students have the option to complete different parts of the wilderness guide exam throughout the year.

The exam is stand alone because anyone can complete parts of the exam whether their experience is from education and/or work in the industry.

Below is more information about the exam:

Exam standards by National Agency for Education, pdf (in Swedish)

“Identification of knowledge” (in Finnish/Swedish)

The Swedish Fell Safety’s Norms

The Fell Safety Council in Sweden has developed a set of norms for those who lead in the fells, Nordisk Friluftsguide (Nordic Outdoor Guide) satisfies these norms. After the education you obtain the Fell Safety Council’s proof of education for leaders in the fells. More information (in Swedish) can be found at Exam standards the Fell Safety Council (pdf).

Carl-Gustaf Gustafsson

Ce-Ge, our director, comes from Tärnaby in the Swedish Vindelfjäll area. He grew up out on the fells and studied at Fjällledarlinjen – the fell-leader education at Storumans Folk High School from 1980-1982. Today he has an extensive history in the outdoor industry with the fells as his workplace. Ce-Ge has his own company where he works as a nature photographer and educator/trip leader for many folk high schools and organizations. He has worked at Kronoby Folk High School since 1996. Carl-Gustaf’s responsibilities include economy, the wilderness guide exam, practical leadership and education in the fells.

Erik Rudels

Erik grew up in Skärgårdshavet – the archipelago surrounding Åland and Åbo, and currently lives on Åland. Therefore it does not come as a surprise that waterbound outdoor sports are dearest to him, along with safety, leadership, and group dynamics. Erik attended Outdoor Academy 1997-99 and more than 1000 nights in a tent later his interest in the outdoors is unchanged. Erik is an International Sea Kayaking Guide Association (ISKGA) Advanced Guide and runs the business Paddelboden.

Ulrika profile photo

Ulrika Fellman

Ulrika, who grew up in the countryside near the school, became a certified wilderness guide in 2011 with a great interest in the health effects of nature and outdoor activities. She has further studied behavioral science and holds a Bachelor’s degree in coaching from the University of Skövde, as well as ongoing studies in environmental psychology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. She has broad work experience from various industries, but in recent years, she has combined work in traditional education and nature schools with her own business as a guide and consultant. Ulrika’s favorite activity is long winter tours with dogs and sleds, and she enjoys spending summers as a cabin host in the Swedish mountains.

Björn Lindell

Björn grew up in the forests of Southern Ostrobothnia. Since obtaining his wilderness guide exam in 2011 Björn has more of less lived and breathed outdoor recreation. Whitewater paddling in northeastern Finland, high ropes courses and team building in southern Sweden, skiing in Härjedalen, and dog mushing in northern Norway are some of Björn’s work experiences.