Story behind Velhon Kota of Ylläs told by Kirsti and Kalervo Uuttu.
It was on the first of May in 1985 when Kirsti and Uuttu-Kalle were cross-country skiing and came to check the land as they were dreaming of own Lappish Kota. The father of Kirsti, Einari, had a Kota which was built after the wars; it was located close to the current Kota. Kirsti and Uuttu-Kalle skied and they found a good spot close to the small stream; at the same place Karuliina, from Luosu, had had her tar making spot, where she had taken the barrels for sale along the stream.
A piece of land got new owners and Kirsi and Uuttu-Kalle started to build the Kota in November. The fire place was built first then the rest of the kota around the fire place; relatives helped to decorate the indoors. Uuttu-Kalle had thought that you do not need the permission for building a Lappish Kota but the local authorities came to ask for the permission, at which point they applied. Between February and March in 1986 the Kota was opened and was open till first of May.
Initially, the water was taken from the stream but a Well was built after advise from the local health authorities. In the beginning the skiing track followed a road created by Einari which Kirsti and Uuttu-Kalle cleaned the track themselves using a snowmobile. Later the track network got bigger and more developed thanks to plans by Tapio Niittyrant and now is cleaned using bigger machines than snowmobiles.
To start with a small kitchen was located by the fire place, where fresh coffee could be brewed and sausages cooked over the fire. Doughnuts were made at home, driven by car from Helukka to Sivulantie, then snowmobile to the Kota.
After the first few years, when there was more and more customers, a new kitchen was built. Buns and cakes were still baked but then sandwiches were added to the menu in 1992 when Satu and Jari started to run the business. Most of the clients stayed over in the main house. Kirsti remembers a time when she had to serve breakfast for customers in the morning just before heading to school.
Velhon Kota is not the only place where Kirsti and Uuttu-Kalle have served the cross-country skiiers. Akäsmylly, Velhonpirtti,Tunturijärvi, Kotamaja and Pakasaivo have had a cafe run by them with the help of relatives and locals. Uuttu-Kalle started the Lappish ceremony in Äkäsmylly, he has had them in many different places including in Velhon Kota during the summer. There has been many parties like birthdays, weddings and christenings at the Kota. The declaration of Christmas peace was held for 30 years until it sadly had to be disbanded for safety reasons because of too much traffic on the narrow roads.
Uuttu-Kalle has carved wizards during the decades so the chainsaw is familiar tool at the Kota. Kirsti and Uuttu-Kalle have many memories from the past, for example it is always very cold when children came for holidays, sometimes the temperature goes down to -40C.
Some things changed after Satu and Jari took over the Kota. The kitchen was extended as was the menu with the addition of several new snacks. The local entrepreneurs association, Kolarin Yrittäjät, gave an award for Satu and Jari in 2017. They have also done a great job to keep the atmosphere and succes of Velhon Kota; an atmosphere that customers are still coming to experience.
It was autumn 2018, these were excting times; Kuukkeli
newspaper wrote an article about the old and new owners after all the paper
work was done to confirm the sales. Since then Satu and Anne have been busy but
are still find time to think about which skiing tracks they will ski during the