Record early opening in Ruka, as ski season gets underway

Two runs are open already, with the snowboard park set to open with artificially-made snow as soon as the weather drops below zero.

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File picture of snowboarder jumping / Credit: iStock Photo

Have you already taken your skis, snowboard and winter clothes out of storage?

You’d better do it quickly if you want to hit the slopes on the first weekend of the season!

Ruka ski resort in north east Finland is open for business – and setting a new record for the early opening date.

From today, two out of 30 runs are already open, and they’re using last year’s snow to make it happen.

“With a stockpile of snow stored after last year’s season we’re now able to open the slopes earlier than we used to, already at the beginning of October” says Matti Parviainen, Ruka’s Operations Director.

Snow stockpiles reduce the risk from temperature changes

This is the third season that Ruka has started ski activities with stockpiled snow.

It has the advantage not only of being able to open runs early, but to give consistent snow coverage. That makes it more reliable than waiting for natural snowfall, or changes in temperature.

“Last May we set the snow up into piles and covered it with heat-repellent material, and now we’ve spread it over two slopes” Parviainen tells News Now Finland.

“Before we used to be so dependent on cold weather, we weren’t able to open the slopes before the end of October, at best” he adds.

While there’s enough snow to open two runs today, the resort is depending on falling temperatures to open up the rest of the slopes. They’ll be covered by spraying water mist into the cold air and letting it fall as snow.

That operation takes place as soon as the weather drops below zero.

New for 2018/2019 season

Ruka’s management team are expecting quite a rush of skiers this weekend, and more when they use artificially-made snow to cover the snowboard park with its jumps and halfpipes in the coming days.

There’s going to be two new lift cabins, and more snow-making equipment will enable them to paint the hillsides white more effectively, and in a more environmentally-friendly way by using less electricity.