For those unfamiliar with the joys of a Finnish winter holiday: the range of activities on offer is unmatched anywhere in the world, the skiing’s gorgeous, the snow is near-constant and the scenery is truly staggering. We tend to recommend Scandinavia primarily to families, but the truth is that with all of its charm and potential for adventure, Finland is suited to anyone looking for more than your average ski holiday.
Both Levi and Ylläs sit comfortably within the Arctic Circle. While they might occupy the same country as Finland’s other resorts – Salla, Iso-Syöte and Ruka – they are some of the northernmost ski resorts in the world, and reap the benefits. First off: they’re cold, with average winter temperatures at below -10oC. While this makes layering absolutely essential, it also means that snow is frequent, and once it arrives, it’s not going anywhere.
As well as ensuring fantastic ski conditions, Levi and Ylläs’ outrageous latitudes also mean a vastly elevated chance to witness one of the world’s most sought-after phenomena – the Northern Lights – something which both resorts are proud of to say the least.
On to the nuts and bolts: both resorts offer everything you might expect from a Scandinavian resort; short transfers and a full range of accommodation including classic, cosy log cabins. Levi’s not big on the après scene (though it can facilitate dancing into the early hours, if that’s your thing) but it does have 15 (fifteen!) floodlit pistes, so there’s plenty of scope to spend the evening on the slopes rather than the tiles. The resort centre is conveniently located right at the foot of the main ski lift and on the mountain you’ll find uncrowded slopes, a world away from well-populated pistes of central Europe. As one of Finland’s most famous resorts, Levi also hosts World Cup ski events every year – a measure of the quality of some of the skiing here.
Ylläs is a little different, even by Finnish standards. Comprised of two villages – Ylläsjärvi and Akäslompolo (yeah, try pronouncing them) – the Ylläs resort boasts one of the largest ski areas in Finland, as well as a significant range of local bars and restaurants on top of all the usual delightful Finnishness.
What all of this amounts to then is more than just a ski holiday; calling it that would be reducing these wondrous destinations to just one (really cool) activity. A Finnish holiday is a real adventure, and an experience likely to stay with you for the rest of your life.