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Summer surprise: Snow in Lapland prompts ski resort to reopen

The skiing season ended in Northern Lapland in mid-May, but the weather there is still so cold and snowfall so frequent that the Saariselkä resort will temporarily reopen its slopes, which are currently up to a metre deep in snow.

Hiihtäjä lumisessa maastossa.
Summer skiing is unusual in Finland. Image: Kimmo Brandt / AOP

May 2017 will go down as one of the coldest spring months on record in Finland, and in Lapland the beginning of summer has been the second-snowiest in the Meteorological Institute's recorded history.

The situation has lead the Saariselkä ski resort in Inari to reopen its skiing slopes for three days, weeks after the official season ended.

"We're all set in terms of snow, more will even fall this week," says ski centre manager Jarmo Katajamaa. "We are glad to offer our customers this unique post-season possibility."

Early June has been unusually snowy even for Lapland, and at Saariselkä the drifts are 50-100 cm deep.

Skiing in the midnight sun

In earlier years organisers have fretted over the fact that the ski season has ended even though slopes have still been decked with ideal amounts of snow. This is the first year that the Saariselkä resort will invite people to ski in June.

The slopes will be open during the daytime from Thursday to Saturday, June 8th-10th, and again on Thursday and Friday from 10 pm to midnight – when enthusiasts can experience skiing during nighttime sunlight.

Local hotels have also taken the reopening into consideration by offering bargain packages in June. Saariselkä resort management is considering making the summertime slopes an annual tradition.

"This will be the best start to the summer vacation season ever!" Katajamaa rejoices.

The winter skiing season officially ended on May 14th at Saariselkä this year.

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