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Winter hope: Southern Finland ski resorts yearn for colder weather

The recent cold snap in southern Finland has raised the hopes of ski resort operators and skiers alike, but it may not be cold enough.

Nuoret miehet lumilaudoilla.
File photo of snowboarders at Talma ski centre in Sipoo, February 2017. Image: Saija Nironen / Yle

This winter's mild weather has delayed the opening of ski centres in southern Finland, but a few slopes are opening this week.

The Vihti Ski Centre, located some 50 km northwest of Helsinki, only has one trail open so far. But the centre's manager Sami Uotila says that more slopes have been covered in snow and plans to open more trails on Wednesday.

Uotila said that this is only the second season in the ski centre's history that it opened after the New Year.

Not cold enough in Porvoo

The Kokonniemi ski resort in Porvoo, about 50 km to the east of the Finnish capital, is still waiting for the right conditions. Kokonniemi has been closed during Christmas, like it was last month, only four times in the past 18 years.

According to Kokonniemi's CEO Niklas Blomander the winter has been difficult for those working at the ski area.

"There's always an anxious feeling. You wonder if winter will come or not and you're waiting for it to get cold, they're quite stressful times," he said.

"We hope that it will be cold enough in the next few weeks so that we can spray snow on the slopes and that there will be between 20-30 cm of natural snow throughout the winter. That would save this winter," Blomander said.

The sweet spot for making artificial snow with snow cannons is -8 degrees Celsius, when snow is produced most plentifully and energy-efficiently.

Better in Sipoo

Just a half-hour car ride from Porvoo — at the Talma ski centre in Sipoo — skiers and snowboarders have already hit the slopes, according to the centre's chief Esa Pihlajaniemi.

Two downhill trails are open at Talma already, but the cross country tracks are still not ready for skiers.

"Every time it gets below freezing we've turned on the snow cannons," Pihlajaniemi said.

Last season the ski areas in Vihti and Sipoo had already opened by early November.

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