5 Best Destinations for Ski Travelers

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Probably one of the first images that anyone can have of Finland is that of a snowed landscape. With a snow season that can start as early as October and last until as late as May depending of the location, Finland is a paradise for the enthusiasts of winter sports. 

While Finland is mostly flat country, making it a perfect destination for  cross-country ski, there are still options for the lovers of downhill skiing and snowboarding. The country offers hundreds of acres of maintained cross-country ski tracks besides 389 kilometres of slopes spread across 75 ski resorts, mainly located in Lapland.  

Here you can find some of the best ski resorts of the country, not only for skiing but also for family holidays and other winter activities such as sledding, ice skating and Northern Lights spotting safaris. 

Levi

Alpine World Cup level slopes await for you in Levi

Located 170 km north of Rovaniemi, Levi is the largest ski and recreational resort of the country. It offers 43 varied of slopes and ski lifts for the downhill enthusiasts: from kids’ runs to black slopes and snow parks, as well as 230 km of cross-country skiing tracks.

Levi is the only resort of the country where you can find alpine world cup level slopes. In November, alpine world cup races for both men and women are held at Levi.

The season usually starts in late October and lasts until early May, depending of the year.

Levi offers a wide variety of hotels, cabins and apartments of all categories and prices. You can choose from staying at an Alpine style apartment in the middle of the village, a log-cabin surrounded by nature or a glass igloo where to watch the Northen Lights from the comfort of your own bed.

Ruka

Ruka ski resort aerial view at sunset
Ruka is considered one of the best ski resorts in the Nordics

Ruka is one of the most popular ski and holiday resorts in Finland and often considered one of the best ski resorts in the Nordics. Located in Kuusamo, Eastern Lapland, the resort is one of the most snow secure places in Europe, offering 200 days of snow between October and May.

The resort offers the visitors 21 ski lifts and 34 slopes for downhill skiers and snowboarders as well as a network of cross-country ski tracks that surround the ski resort.

Every November Ruka hosts the first event of the World Cup season with 8 contests that include ski jumping, cross-country skiing and nordic combined competitions. In Ruka it is also possible to find World Cup level training and competition facilities for alpine skiing, freestyle skiing and snowboarding athletes.

Besides the outstanding facilities, Ruka offers its guests pristine surroundings of magnificent hills and breathtaking natural scenery with a plenty of things to do. One of the highlights of the season is the legendary Spring festival Wappulounas, a snowboarding jam session with live music at the slopes.

Ylläs

Cross-country skier in Ylläs ski resort
Cross-country skiing is a very popular winter spot all across Finland

With 63 slopes and 29 ski lifts, Ylläs is the largest ski resort in Lapland. Located at 719m above sea level, it offers a comprehensive arrange of snowpark areas, “super-G slope”, many off-piste slopes…as well as the longest slope in Finland, Jättipitkä, with 3km length.

Ylläs slopes are specially suited for children, beginners and intermediated, but there is also an extensive offer of off-piste options for highly skilled skiers who love untouched snow. Cross-country skiers will also find 330km of trails to enjoy.

Ylläs is one of the best places to spot the Northern Lights between August and April. The resort also offers ice fishing, snowmobile rides, reindeer spotting and dog sledding activities to complete its offer.

Pyhä

Pure snow on a sunny day
Nothing beats pure snow on a sunny day

Just a short drive away from the Rovaniemi airport you can find Pyhä Ski Resort’s 9 lifts and 14 slopes that serve both beginners and experienced adventurers.

Pyhä boasts a back-to-nature vibe, thanks to its proximity to the Pyhä-Luosto National Park to which it is connected through 150km of cross-country ski tracks. The National Park comprises Finland’s most southern fell chain and it is is a superb destination for day trips and hikes throughout the year.

Pyhä is only a short drive away from Santa’s official home town, Rovaniemi, and in the area you can also find an amethyst mine, the only one in the world open to visitors, as well as several restaurants which offer traditional Lappish food.

Saariselkä

Snow-bow, a rare phenomenon, spotted at the Urho Kekkonen National Park
Snow-bow, a rare phenomenon, spotted at the Urho Kekkonen National Park

Saariselkä is the northernmost ski resort in Finland, but still just a short flight from Helsinki. There, visitors can find around 200km of well-maintained cross-country skiing tracks, 15 slopes spanning across two fells, and a wide selection of other winter activities like ice fishing, snowmobile safaris and Northern Lights spotting.

The resort is generally less crowded than many other Lapland resorts, which makes it a perfect location for those looking for peace and tranquility, but it also still offers a superb selection of amenities and entertainment, including jazz and blues music festivals.

Considered the gateway to the Urho Kekkonen National Park, in summer time, visitors flow to follow the well-marked routes of the National Park for hikes that range from a few hours to a few weeks. The easily traversable fell terrain makes Saariselkä is a remarkably popular hiking, which is privileged with a virgin natural environmental and a good network of wilderness refuges and cabins that can be easily booked.

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