The skiing season 2019 isn’t over just yet - there’s still great snow to be shredded in the far North of Finland, as I experienced last weekend in Ruka.
Disclosure: This journey was supported by the local tourism bureau and partners, but I did not get paid to write about this trip. As you know: I’m keepin’ it real and tell you how it is - I maintain full editorial control of the content published on Hiking in Finland. Read the Transparency Disclaimer for more information on blogger transparency and affiliate links.
As part of me trying to minimize my environmental footprint but unwilling to not ski I travelled last weekend by train and bus to Ruka-Kuusamo, some 500 kilometres from Vaasa away. Even with short stop-overs between switching from the train to the Bus it’s almost a 10 hour journey to get to Ruka, though as you can walk around in the train, there’s good internet and you can work there’s nothing to worry about. Though I was happy that I was able to get out on the hills once I arrived in Ruka, and with the lifts being open till 19 o’clock I got in a few hours of skiing on the slopes after a full day of travelling - not a bad start! And to make it even better, it had been snowing the whole Thursday and would continue throughout the night.
After the skiing I went to have Dinner at RUOK Burger which is just next door from my apartment in the Ruka Village Ski-Inn. Their Portobello Burger was the only vegetarian option and super-tasty, and I accompanied it with a local Craft Beer from Rovaniemi, a nice Amber Lager. After that I retired to my cozy apartment, heated up the Sauna and watched how it was snowing outside. Being on ski holidays it is always great to watch it snow ❄️ as that means fresh powder the next day when you’re outside on the hills!
The next morning a bright blue sky woke me up, and all signs were on an amazing day on and off the slopes. There’s just something great about hitting the slopes and being one of the first ones there. I love painting my curves into the still un-shredded corduroy, and then Veera and me went into the side-country to look for some powder. And powder we found.
It really feels amazing to surf through the fluffy snow and throw up big swoops of the white gold. Veera and me both had big smiles on our faces after cruising through the powder-filled forests, so once it was noon we went to Hanki Baari for lunch, where I ate a tasty vegan Mie Goreng. Hanki Baari is either way an amazing place to chill after a day on the slopes, listening to music and drinking some fancy beers, though right now we just needed some good nutrition before hitting the slopes again.
So, after a coffee ☕️ it was time to go ride some more. After all, the sun was shining, the slopes were in prime condition and the lifts would be running till 23 o’clock (Fridays the Ruka Ski Resort’s lifts run so late because those who journey after work to Ruka still can hit the illuminated slopes!). However, we wouldn’t ski that long, as we had another plan.
We went on a little powder hunt with friends of Veera, which resulted in a short but exhausting climb through hip-deep snow back to the slopes from the lake 🤣 After that I went for a few more laps on the slopes before calling it a day. A quick shower later I was sitting in the Pizzeria Ruka which is probably the best Pizza you can get in Ruka. It’s a five minute stroll from the centre of the village to the Pizzeria, and their wood-fired oven served me in no time a delicious Tartufo Pizza. That’s exactly what I needed after almost six hours of skiing, and gave me enough energy for the hike we had planned for the evening.
As a photographer I hate it to spend a gorgeous sunset inside, so I was happy that Veera and her dog were up for a sunset mission to Konttainen, a hill some 10 minutes away from Ruka. A steep 11 minute climb later we were on the top of Konttainen, and strolled towards the best spot in the house while the show was just starting. It’s soooooo much better to be outside in nature when the sun sets than sitting inside, and this definitely was an evening well spent. After the sun disappeared from view we gazed for a while onto the illuminated slopes of Ruka, and for a moment I was tempted to jump back into my ski boots and go for some night skiing. But then I remembered my warm Sauna and the cold beer which were waiting for me, so I skipped the night skiing and relaxed in my apartment before calling it a night.
The next morning white clouds hung over the mountain and gave the slopes and village a sci-fi feel. I’s the kind of weather where you ponder if you should just stay inside and chill-lax, but as I wanted to get my skis on that didn’t happen and early on Saturday morning Veera and me where again on the slopes, searching for some untracked pockets of powder.
And slowly but surely the sun was burning through the clouds and as the day progressed the views came out again, and we also were lucky by finding some fine lines of untouched powder not far from the hustle and bustle of the slopes.
After all that off-piste skiing it was time to join the Ruka Ski Pride Parade. I really ❤️ that Ruka has this event which celebrates equal rites and diversity on the slopes, and the vibe was so positive and fun - I really enjoyed to be part of it 🌈 Besides this parade there were inclusive events the whole weekend, with concerts and DJs, and of course some good skiing!
And then the day was almost over again. But not before I skied one final time from the East to the West, and from the North to the South across the whole resort. I love to ski fast and go from one end of a resort to the other one, shredding down the slopes and throwing up clouds of slushy spring snow, and at the end of this Saturday my trusty Suunto Spartan Ultra told me I had skied almost 50 km of distance this day, and I could tell by how my legs felt.
After some relaxing I met Mats for Dinner at Villisika from where you have the best view over the slopes, so while we were eating we could see how the snow groomers got the hill ready for the next day. Sadly, the next sunny day I wouldn’t be shredding the groomers, as I was sitting in the train and bus back south. But I have a feeling that I will travel North once more for more skiing before the winter truly ends ❄️
As always, there’s more photos in the Photo Album.
Spring Skiing in Ruka
As you can see above, winter isn’t over just yet in Finnish Lapland, even if it may feel like it here in the south where most of the snow is already gone. Until early May there’s plenty of great skiing to be had in Northern Finland, and if you’re like me and can not get enough of skiing and winter then you too should steal away for a weekend to Ruka for some spring skiing. The slopes in Ruka are open till early May, and between now and the closing of the slopes there’s every weekend a weekend of fun to be had: Next weekend, from the 11.4. - 14.4.2019 is the legendary Ruka Spring Break which will enlighten those who like to Party between hitting the groomers. The Easter Weekend has winter activities for the whole family on offer, and the first of May is the traditional Wappulounas, a get-together of the international snowboard community on the slopes of Ruka. So don’t ponder longer - go and get some of that spring snow!
Where to Stay
I stayed at the Ski Inn and liked my apartment in the centre of the village. It was a two minute stroll to the Gondola and lift, a one minute walk to the supermarket, and Hanki Baari was even in the same building so I didn’t had to go far for a beer! There’s plenty more places to stay in Ruka for any budget, and if you’re pondering where to eat: Just follow my recommendations above or try any of the other restaurants in the village and it’s surroundings.
Getting to Ruka
The most convenient way is to take the train and bus to Ruka, or if you come from abroad you can fly to the Kuusamo Airport and take the Ski Bus to Ruka. On the train you can sleep, work and walk around, and during the bus trip you can enjoy the beautiful Finnish landscape while listening to your favourite tunes.
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