Ruka is by far one the best places I have ever skied. It has beautifully wide slopes, lined with Dali-esque trees weighted down by the snow, and it is so quiet.
It is not unusual to have just one or two other people on the slope at the same time, or even to have it completely to yourself and I’ve never queued more than 2 or 3 minutes for a ski lift.
Having said that, when I first arrived in Ruka, in 2004, I wasn’t very impressed. It wasn’t until I arrived here that I realised there weren’t actually any mountains in Finland. After having spent several months working in the Alps and having just got back from a very mountainous region of South America I was rather underwhelmed.
Yes, the slopes are shorter than I was used to, and I was spending more time on ski lifts getting back up to the top, but the fact that I wasn’t queueing for the lifts when it would have been anywhere from a 10 to 30 minute wait in the Alps, meant I was back up and ready to ski down again very quickly.
And they aren’t short on slopes either.
There are 29 groomed slopes, 5 designated children’s ski areas, 13 blue runs, 14 red runs and even a couple of blacks and a mogul field. For the brave there is also a half pipe and ski/boarder cross park and street that takes my breath away just standing at the bottom and looking up at all the jumps.
Another huge plus for Ruka, in my books, are the illuminated slopes. In the dark winter months, Dec – Feb, we have few daylight hours but as the slopes are floodlit you can keep skiing and on Fridays you can even ski until 11pm. There is something incredibly magical about skiing in the dark under flood lights.
Ruka is the purportedly the most popular ski resort in Finland, and that’s a well deserved title in my opinion.
Watch this video to see for yourself why I love it so much (article continues after the video)
More information about Ruka Skiing
Skiing for Children
Ruka has excellent children’s skiing facilities with designated safe children’s skiing areas, sledging areas, free lift passes and ski hire, a superb children’s ski school and an adventure ski route with real live reindeer!
Compared to many other ski resorts I’ve been to, Ruka excels in this area.
Cross Country Skiing
When you talk about skiing to most Finns they tend to assume you are talking about cross country skiing, such is the popularity of the sport here. It is taught at a young age and many children will ski to school and have cross country ski lesson in PE.
Cross country ski tracks run around the whole area, in Ruka, the city centre, the local villages and everywhere in between. It is the best way to get out into the forests and really experience Kuusamo, one of those wonderfully simple pleasures in life that leave you feeling glowing inside.
There are over 500kms of cross country ski tracks, 40kms of which are illuminated and all are dotted with cafes and rest points with fire places and lean to shelters. Ruka and Kuusamo are truly magical places to disappear into the forest on cross country skis
Cross Country Ski Maps:
Kuusamo Town centre
Cross country trail information and cafe and opening times
So go ahead and book your family holiday to Ruka! Here’s some help with some great skii holiday packages.