It’s pretty much a given that the best time to hit the slopes is between December and April.
Anything beyond that, and it’s a roulette wheel of uncertainty as to whether there’ll be enough snow for you to take advantage of… unless you visit a Nordic skiing resort that is.
From high-tech underground skiing tunnels to artificial slopes, there are a number of ways to make the most of skiing off-season.
Here, we take a look at some of the best Nordic locations where you can hit the slopes.
1. Go underground to escape summer
Nordic resorts are unarguably the best when it comes to cross-country skiing. This gives you a real taste for the most peaceful side of the winter wonderland around you, while also offering a cardio workout and adrenaline rushes aplenty.
But how do you get your fix when summer comes? The answer is to go underground. Finland leads the way here, with six refrigerated ski tunnels or halls, where you can glide over freshly groomed snow all year round. The first was Vuokatti, in central Finland, but you can also go cross-country skiing from 7am to 8pm daily in Helsinki at the Kivikko ski hall.
Skiing year-round at Vuokatti and until May 2 at Kivikko.
2. Ski on snow stored over summer
Many Nordic ski areas make use of their latitude to offer a longer season – and none more so than Ruka. The Finnish resort stores 150,000 cubic metres of snow from May to September under sawdust and insulating geotextiles, losing only 15 per cent to melting. As well as reducing the need for snowmaking, this helps guarantee snow on Ruka’s 20km of runs, served by 22 lifts.
Beginners will favour the east side, with gentle undulations that blend into the rolling snow-covered fells. More advanced skiers will seek out the challenges on the steeper west side, offering easy access to an off-piste adventure.
Skiing to May 7 at Ruka.
3. Hit Denmark’s highest ‘mountain’
Denmark is not known for its mountains, so, to create a ski resort, an artificial slope has been built on the roof of a new waste-to-power plant, with great views of Copenhagen and the capital’s surrounding islands.
Copenhill has 440m of slopes, including an 180m black run, which is a heart-stopping 45 degrees at its steepest. If that sounds scary, there’s a beginners’ run with access to a gentle ‘magic carpet’ ski lift, and an intermediate run. A lift inside the plant takes you to the top of the ‘mountain’. An hour, including gear rental, costs 200DKK (£24).
Skiing year-round at Copenhill.
4. Joined-up thinking
Popular with a more urbanite crowd is Voss, a lively Norwegian town and ski resort. Adding to its appeal is its new gondola, which rises directly from the railway station to 45km of nicely varied pistes.
Cable cars are usually more stable in high winds but this gondola’s new design ensures that, whatever the weather, it can carry 1,544 skiers anhour each way (the old one managed just 350).
It’s part of the ‘green line’ concept that takes you direct from Bergen airport, served by Widerøe and Norwegian, to the top of the mountain with renewable energy,as there is now a light rail service from the airport.
Skiing to April 23 at Voss.
5. Remote-controlled landing
When you arrive at the new Scandinavian Mountains Airport in Sweden, you’ll notice something missing – a control tower. The air traffic controllers are in a shared hub 300km away, where they use cameras and sensors on the former airstrip to guide planes in.
The technology, developed by Saab, means the Nordic countries are having smaller, less environmentally intrusive airports springing up.
From this one, which has direct flights with SAS from London, you can be on Sälen’s treelined pistes in minutes (you can even do the transfer by husky sled). You’re also close to Trysil, Norway’s biggest ski resort.
Skiing to April 23 at Ski Star.
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