Levi Front Slope opened on October 2nd with snow preserved from last winter. Photo courtesy of Levi Ski Resort

With snow from last winter, Lapland sees record early ski season-opening

Snow is soft as air temperature is still above freezing, but downhill skiers seem happy with a nearly two months earlier season-opening than normal.
October 05, 2020

Levi ski resort in Finnish Lapland had to shut down all operations last March due to the COVID-19 outbreak. But instead of waiting for the sun to melt the snow by spring, the snow was collected in huge piles, each containing 10,000 to 30,000 cubic meters.

The snow piles were covered by a 3 layer, vapor resistant, special protection foam. 

The snow under protective cover survived the summer. This photo is from July. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

 

It worked perfectly well. Most of the snow survived the summer and after snow groomers last week shuffled the piles out again, the ski lifts could bring the first visitors to the top of the slope this weekend.

“We preserved approximately 150,000 cubic meters snow, and of that, we had 90,000 cubic meters left at the opening this weekend,” says Marko Mustonen, Commercial Director with Levi Ski Resort.

“We made from the snow full length of slope for skiing and snowpark for snowboarders and skiers,” he tells and says the skiers are happy.

“Feedback from the customers been very positive. Especially snowpark what we could make, been very positive. Still with the warm temperature, the base of the slope been good and quite a good to ski.”

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Marko Mustonen now hopes for colder weather. 

“Of course if the weather remains extremely warm next coming weeks, it creates challenges. But we are positive to get minus temperatures and we are able to start snowmaking,” he says.

Marko Mustonen tested the downhill skiing and says the conditions in the slope is good. Photo: Private

 

Last season’s early closure had a dramatic economic effect for multiple businesses, everything from hotels, restaurants, activity providers around the Levi mountain as for most other winter tourism destinations in the north.

Although early season-opening, there are dark skies on the horizon for this winter. Finland’s borders are currently closed for most foreigners, and visitors need to quarantine.

If travel restrictions are softened later in the winter, Lapland’s ski resorts assure that safety will not be compromised. Distancing in the lift queues will be enforced, windows of the gondola will stay open and bars and restaurants follow the requirements set by Finland’s health authorities.  

Marko Mustonen is optimistic and says outdoor skiing is some of the safer activities people can engage in during the pandemic. 

“Skiing is safe. We do have a lot of space for skiing and lift capacity is high to offer skiing experiences in safe conditions to everyone. During the COVID-time people loved to spend time in outdoor activities. Skiing in wintertime is a nice way to spend time outdoor. It is a combination of sports and outdoor life in a positive and safe way,” Mustonen says. 

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