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December 3, 2007

Why Not Skiing in Finland? – Five Best Ski Resorts in Finland

finland

I have a question for you. Have you ever considered skiing in Finland? Let me guess, you haven’t. That would not be surprising because skiing in Finland cannot much compete with skiing in Norway and in the Alps. Anyhow, there is some good skiing in Finland, even though our “mountains” are tiny and choices are limited. There are good resorts for family skiing in Finland and there are even backcountries for those looking for powder snow.

This article introduces you the five best ski resorts in Finland. Even though those resorts are tiny compared to ski resorts in France and Austria, many skiing and snowboarding stars come from Finland. So, there must be something good in those resorts. Let’s find it out. I have rated the resorts for families, freeskiers, party-animals and Lapland-fans. Rating is from 1 to 5, 1 being as “not good at all” and 5 being as “excellent”.

Finland Ski Resort #1: Levi

As the biggest ski resort in Finland, Levi provides an arctic skiing experience for families, freeskiers and professionals. Being located above the Arctic Circle, Levi provides a number of slopes suitable for beginners, children and more advanced skiers. For freeskiers Levi provides interesting forests and backcountries in the Finnish wilderness, and for new school skiers it provides a good park and pipes. The town around the ski resort is actually an own “little city” which has grown much during the years. Levi’s nightlife is pretty good and restaurants serve high-quality meals. Notice that FIS Alpine World Cup race is ran in Levi, but unfortunately it was cancelled this year. Additionally in Levi you might see some spectacular northern lights. Read more about Levi in their website.

Families : 5
Freeskiers: 3
Party-Animals: 4
Lapland-fans: 5
New-School dudes: 4

Finland Ski Resort #2: Ruka

Ruka is a Finnish ski resort that opens as the first one year after year. Ruka is located near the Russian border, deep in Finnish wilderness and close to a well-known Oulanka National Park. In Ruka you can experience the true Finnish Polar Night, so called “Kaamos”. Just like Levi, Ruka is a family ski resort, but it provides a bit steeper slopes for more advanced. For freeskiers Ruka provides few good runs in forests and a couple of couloirs. For new-school skiers Ruka is pretty good, but not as good as Levi. Ruka provides an arctic experience as well, but is not located as high in north as Levi. Ruka is known from its wild nightlife, so if you are looking for some good afterski, Ruka is for you.

Families: 4
Freeskiers: 3
Party-Animals: 5
Lapland-Fans: 4
New-school dudes: 3

Finland Ski Resort #3: Pyha

In the middle of Lapland is a ski resort that I call the best one in Finland. I grew up in there and I spent my first 15 years of skiing in there and only in there. I know every single corner and a stone in that range of small mountains. Anyhow, Pyha ski resort provides good skiing for pros and powder hunters, but not that good for families and new-school dudes. Pyha is a legendary meeting place for all Finnish freeskiers and riders. Year after year all Finnish pro-skiers have met in Pyha before heading to the Alps. If you are a freeskier and you are looking for a ski resort in Finland, there are no choices. You should go to Pyha. Oh, and the nightlife. You can just guess what it is when all the powder hunters and skibums get together. It’s simply awesome!

Families: 2
Freeskiers: 5
Party-Animals: 5
Lapland-Fans: 4
New-school dudes: 3

Finland Ski Resort #4: Yllas

Being located up in northern Finland, Yllas provides a great arctic skiing experience for families and Lapland-freaks. Beautiful northern lights, cold and dark nights, lots of candles and open fires, a warm cottage and your own sauna.. As one of the best ski resorts in Finland, Yllas ski resort gives you a fantastic family-skiing experience high above the Arctic Circle. Yllas has a number of long and easy slopes, a few good runs for freeskiers and a park for new-school skiers/riders. Just like Levi, Yllas ski resort is easy accessible by airplane because there is a small airport close to both resorts. Many tourists fly from UK to spend a weekend in these resorts. Some folks fly there just for one day. Nightlife in Yllas is pretty quiet, so don’t go there if you are looking for some action.

Families: 5
Freeskiers: 3
Party-Animals: 3
Lapland-Fans: 5
New-school dudes: 3

Finland Ski Resort #5: Talma

Talma is a totally different Finnish ski resort. First of all, it is located 1000 kilometers to south from all those above. It is located 35 kilometers to north from Helsinki and it is one of the smallest ski resorts in Finland. Why am I recommending it? Because it is a legendary ski resort for new-school skiers/riders from which many snowboarding stars have started, including names such as Joni Malmi and Eero Ettala. Talma is 55 metes high. Yes, exactly. Talma is 55 meters or 5500 centimeters high, as is said in a Talmaski T-shirt. Talma is not good for families, because there is nothing but the small hill. There is not even a hotel, so you should stay in Helsinki or in Vantaa. It is not a good resort for freeskiers and definitely not good for Lapland-fans. For party-animals there is nothing. So what is good in it? If you come to Helsinki for a business trip or just for fun, take your skis or snowboard with you and spend a couple of days skiing or riding the rails and boxes of Talma.

Families: 1
Freeskiers: 1
Party-Animals: 1
Lapland-Fans: 1
New-school dudes:3

Forget skiing in the Alps, Norway or United States. Experience a different skiing vacation in northern Finland.

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About the Author

Marko Pyhajarvi
I am an old-school alpine skier, snowboarder and telemarker, and I love writing. Therefore I founded Homeboy. I (too) enjoy powder, mountaineering and backcountry skiing as well as photographing. Nowadays, as an old fart, I mostly ski with my kids and focus on financing their hobbies.




 
 

 
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11 Comments


  1. I’m from the UK and I totally agree about skiing in Finland. I go there every opportunity I get (6 times in 8 years). I find the Finnish winter so much more satisfying than the European ones. Proper cold and proper snow.
    I have been to the Alps and the Rockies too to ski, and although the mountains are HUGE there is not necessarily so much of them available to the mainstream holiday skier.
    The real advantage of Finland is the magic of Lapland, and there is so much more to do than skiing. Go to an Alpine resort and ask them if you can take a dog sledge or skidoo out for the day. No chance.
    If you are in the south of Finland there are several other resorts too. I’ve been to Messila near Lahti, about an Hours drive north east of Helsinki, and Himos near Jamsa, about 3 hours drive from Helsinki if you fancy a weekend away from the city. Neither of them are large but they have nicely kept slopes and as with most Finnish slopes they are floodlit, so you don’t have to worry about the short winter nights!


  2. Thanks for your nice comment (GsyMoo).

    We pretty much agree with you (although it is nice to hit the “real” mountains in the Alps etc. once in a while…:))

    Himos is, as you mentioned, the first resort up north from Helsinki where you can have some (longer) turns without the feeling that the slope ends up way too early…

    In Norway or Sweden there are several possibilities to off-piste/big mountain skiing too. In comparison, Finnish Lapland has some nice offerings too (when the snow is good) but it lacks really long runs and/or consistent steeps. But as you said, Lapland is all about the unique feeling, peaceful nature and real winter!(and,oh, I forgot – I guess some people go there to drink/party too…:))


  3. Since this article was written, Levi has grown and expanded. Levin Tori, the new town centre opened in November 2008, and has taken Levi to new heights.
    A snow making machine has been purchased which ensures the Alpine FIS World Cup for future years, irrelevant of snow conditions. The 2008 world Cup was a great success.
    Investment is Levi has been immense and is ongoing, Levi is gaining in popularity all the time and tourists conitnue to flock all year round. The new shopping centre in Levi is remaining open all year round, thus providing additional facilities.
    Levi has facilities for all skiers and snowboarders; beautiful cross country skiing routes through Lapland’s unspoilt landscapes, Kidsland where there is tuition for all ages, and sledging for the children (and adults seem to enjoy it too!!!)
    Levi is also a fantastic place to invest in property, with increasing numbers of tourists the demand for quality accommodation is more now than ever before.


  4. Ray York UK

    I have skied most of the top resorts in France and Canada, and have also visited Italy and Austria, in each case I more or less got what I expected, but a few years ago went further North to Norway and was disappointed, apart from the high cost of living, the slopes were icy and mostly under floodlight. I must admit that I went in January and the sun never rose over the slopes – hence the need for floodlights.
    My point in making the above statement is that I have been considering going to Finland for a complete change – I am now 65 and past the stage of deep blacks and moguls – can someone give me some advice as to what to expect in Finland – i.e. is the skiing under floodlights, do you see the sun in the winter months, what about the snow conditions (icy, slushy, or powder), I am not solely going for the skiing my wife wants to see the Northern Lights if possible, which is the best resort to visit and what month of the year.
    Any comments would be appreciated.


  5. There was skiing in Yllas Finland even before there was a proper road and Yllas has some of the best skiing in Finland. There have been lots of improvements over the last couple of years, making Yllas one of the best places to go for skiing.



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