Finland: Reindeer Sleighs, Santa Claus, Arctic Circle Skiing -
Ski resorts in Finland are known for their spacious pistes and breathtaking scenery. Some of the most popular include Iso-Syote, Levi, Pyha, Ruka, Salla, and Yllas.
The self-contained village of Iso-Syote is particularly well-suited to beginners and intermediates with 11 green runs, two blue, five red, and two black. You will find it 150 kilometres from the Arctic Circle. Iso-Syote boasts Finland’s highest snowfall, with an average of three metres of snow a year. Snowboarders can enjoy two snowboard parks with rails, boxes, and half pipes. There are also some good free ride opportunities off-piste. Accommodation here is largely made up of cosy log cabins.
Levi offers ski slopes for all levels with 45 runs linked by 26 lifts. The resort is particularly popular with families; Kid’s Land in the centre of the village offers a fun-filled weekly programme of events. The town centre is lined with shops selling jewellery, handicrafts, and gifts. There is also a good choice of hotels and restaurants.
On the edge of the Arctic Circle sits the pretty ski village of Pyha. It is dotted with traditional apartments and log cabins. Pyha is known locally in Finland for its pretty tree-lined ski slopes suitable for all levels, including four beginner slopes, two intermediate, and four advanced. Beginners will enjoy the uncrowded pistes and English-speaking ski instructors while intermediates practice on the well-groomed wide pistes and advanced skiers tackle the challenging off-piste.
Pyha is surrounded by a dramatic landscape of frozen lakes and forests. There is also plenty of cross-country skiing. Freestyle snowboarders and skiers will enjoy the half pipe, high walls and powder of the off-piste areas. The ski area features a lively après ski scene with live music and ice bars.
Ruka is set in an area of outstanding natural beauty close to the Russian border. It is one of the county’s leading ski resorts boasting reliable snow cover, a pedestrianised village centre, and reindeer, husky and snowmobile safaris. Skiers and snowboarders will enjoy 20 kilometres of pistes divided into 29 runs, two snowboard parks, and 200 kilometres of cross-country trails.
The idyllic resort of Salla has 10 ski slopes connected by five lifts. The resort also has 80 kilometres of two-way ski trails, which are maintained with track vehicles and 35 kilometres of these trails are illuminated. The ski season spans from November to the time of early summer in the south. Non-skiing activities include reindeer, husky, and snowmobile safaris.
Yllas is home to Finland’s longest ski slopes, plenty of cross-country trails, and a wide choice of accommodation, from large modern hotels to luxury log cabins. The 40 kilometres of pistes are divided into 60 runs and linked by 30 lifts. There are also two snowboard parks and 330 kilometres of cross-country trails. Non-skiing activities include reindeer, husky and snowmobile safaris.
Finnair has non-stop, usually daily connections from cities across Europe. Once in Finland, fast, comfortable trains and buses run throughout the country. For motorists, the road network extends to the most remote wilderness areas, while several airlines, including Finnair and Blue 1, serve more than 20 domestic airports across the country.