Crystal Ski’s Overseas Director Nikki Hooper has seen more ski resorts than most. So when you spend your working life on the slopes, where do you go for a well-derserved break?
Well, this New Year, Nikki decided to travel with her relatives to Ruka in Finland, brand new for Crystal this season.
Away from the traditional resorts of the Alps, what can be expected from a ‘winter wonderland’ experience in Lapland? Will there be enough skiing to keep a die-hard skier occupied for a week? With skidooing, ice fishing, sleigh rides, and of course, the possibility of spotting the northern lights, there is a big list of experiences to get through before you even clip into your bindings. Nikki gives her view of a week in Ruka:
“My skiing and activity holiday to Finland at New Year was fantastic and, for me, a more pleasurable experience than taking to the crowded slopes elsewhere in Europe at this time of the year.
Skiing in Lapland
Over the New Year, Finland was experiencing something of a heatwave – with temperatures only down to a frosty minus 10 degrees Celsius. For most of us, that’s still super cold, but if you wear the right gear (and for most activities arctic suits are provided) then you hardly notice it.
It also means that the snow is in tip top condition – no slush, no ice and given that the ski slopes are flood lit no flat light. So, Ruka was already ticking the right boxes as my three pet hates were non existent and the skiing conditions were superb every day.
The skiing experience in Finland is also a bit different – but this is what really enhances the whole holiday experience. Instead of queuing for fast food at lunchtime in large impersonal school canteen style restaurants, we took our own sausages and rolls onto the slopes and cooked them on open fires that are dotted around the slopes. Great fun and an excellent way to warm up too!!!
As the slopes are open to 7pm (well after dark in the Artic), we were able to do a lot of skiing and also do most of the activities on offer too as the ski day was so much longer than if you’re relying solely on daylight hours.
Our favourite activity was skidoo rides but I think that’s because we had teenagers with us who had the need for speed! For me, it was more a question of really getting out into the wilderness and seeing the most amazing snow filled scenery.
This was definitely one of my best ski holidays, just because it’s that little bit different from your traditional holiday on the slopes.”
Ruka ski resort by numbers
- Total km of runs – 20
- Number of lifts – 18
- Longest run – 1300m
- Mountain restaurants – 10
- Number of snow cannons – 50
- Transfer time to resort – 25 minutes
- Average hours of daylight in winter – 5
- Average temperature in January – minus 14˚C
- Distance from Arctic circle – 37 miles
- Average days snow on ground per year – 200
Lapland activity weeks and experiences
Lapland activity weeks are available in Crystal’s featured resorts of Ruka and Iso Syote. Activities available include husky farm visits, skidooing, trips to meet Santa, reindeer sleigh rides and ice fishing.
The ski season in Lapland runs from mid December to mid February. For more details on Lapland ski holidays, see the Crystal Ski website.