The leading Finnish resort of Ruka was among the first in Europe to open again this year.

Ruka opened its first slope Monday, Oct. 18, the 13 Saarua run (550m), which is graded red and is one of its most popular ski areas in the resort.

Ville Aho, a representative from Ruka Tourism, told OnTheSnow, "Opening the first slope as soon as possible is a priority for us as skiers know for the past 20 years we've opened in October. Our official grand opening weekend is Nov. 12, by which time we hope to have 15 ski slopes open - 50 percent of the resort. Normally all slopes are open from mid-December."

Ruka has undergone significant improvements this year, both on and off the slopes, including the completion of the pedestrian village and the FIS slope.

The pedestrian village features a safe car-free area where cars are parked in a heated underground car park for 320 vehicles. The new village area features a wide selection of restaurants and shops, including a traditional Swiss restaurant serving raclette and fondue dishes and an Italian pizza restaurant. The final part in the construction of the pedestrian village was the extension of the RukaVillage Hotel, which now offers a complex of 40 luxury rooms, each with its own sauna and kitchenette, and 60 large apartments.

The new FIS slope is 630 metres in length with a vertical of 191 metres. The FIS slope can function as the venue of men's World Cup Slalom competitions and Junior World Championships. Further improvements for Ruka this year include a renewed snow making system, a skier/boarder cross course designed by the Finnish Snowboard Association, and new rails for the BatteryPark.

A day's ski pass in Ruka costs €29.5 to €32.5 for adults, dependant on time of year.

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