Looking for some great ski this winter? Something completely different from the Alps? Well then, book yourself some cosy accommodation in Levi, in the north of Lapland. Because apart from a couple of days of pleasant skiing, there are reindeer and husky safaris, saunas, frozen lakes, magic winter landscapes and as a cherry on the pie, the magnificent northern lights.
#1 Slopes & lifts
Levi is Lapland’s most popular ski resort. For a reason. It not only yearly hosts the Levi World Cup, it has a pleasant 38 km of slopes with 27 lifts, mostly for beginner or average skiers. So don’t expect a lot of steep black slopes, it’s all easy going here. There are a lot of blue and red slopes. The red slopes are in general easier then the ones in the Alps, the blue ones – mainly at the south slope – offer broad, pleasant ski experiences. There are freeski and children ski areas. There’s also a ski school.
There are some scenic lifts, such as the Levi Express and the Gondola2000 cabins but most of the lifts are T-bar or pome lifts. The latter sometimes can be a bit of a hassle, in particular since they can be very long, up to 1200 meters. But it’s just a matter of getting used to. Currently, there are construction works going on for a brandnew glacier express chairlift near the Front Slope, the opening of which is expected somewhere in September – October 2023. All slopes and lifts are very well maintained.
A big plus is the lack of long queues at most of the lifts. Even in the peak season we didn’t have to wait a lot, just a bit at the south slopes, a starting point for ski schools, and at the Gondola2000, which is the main scenic lift ‘halfway’ taking you further up.
We had excellent ski conditions during our stay: fresh snow and mostly clear skies.
We started our day always at the front slopes, giving access to the full ski area and ideal to combine all types of pistes.
You need about a day, a day and a half to do all slopes, if they are all open. Even on pleasant days, the weather can change rapidly. Some mornings, the Gondola2000 was closed because of the windy weather. There is an information board at the entrance of the Levi Express indicating which slopes are open but it’s better to check the up-to-date slope and lift information online. Depending on where you want to go, you can then take a ski bus to other starting points or stick to the front slopes.
The Ski Resort is pretty small. As such, teenagers also find their way around very quickly.
And as a side note, Levi is one of Finland’s best spots for cross-country skiing with a wide and well-maintained network of ski tracks. We didn’t do this, but if you want some more information on this, check it out here.
#2 The view
Skiing in Levi is skiing in winter wonderland. Instead of high peaks around you, you are part of this completely different landscape, offering a whole other atmosphere then the Alps. For me, everything was more relaxed. The views are stunning, in particular when the sun sets and you are returning over the fell via the the route indicated ‘by the green dashed line’, connecting various slopes. This route takes you back to Levi center (or the South slopes) in an very easy way (and in particular if the weather turns bad suddenly) offering you a sublime view over the landscape: snowy forests and frosted lakes for miles and miles bathed in a golden red glow. Magnificent.
#3 Ski passes and rental
Rental material and service are excellent. There are a couple of rental shops. We went for the most practical and easiest solution: we rented at Zero Point at the front slopes. We took the standard rental package (skis, boots and poles) and one superior one. Prices range between 39,5 euro a day up to 141,5 euro for a week for a standard set. We booked upfront online but that does not seem necessary, they have a lot of stock, even in the high season.
Just check with your accommodation whether there is an option to stock your material overnight. There are some lockers at Zero Point but these are pretty costly. Our accommodation offered a ski storage in a building in front of the slopes, which was perfect. If your accommodation is a few miles from the slopes and you don’t have a car, it’s a big hassle to always take your gear along.
Ski passes do not come cheap. The price depends upon the number of days you want to ski. You can check the prices for the season online. All passes are loaded onto electric Skidata KeyCard with personal photo and you need to have your own personal card. If you already have one (from other ski areas), you can bring it along. If not, you pay one extra (7 euro per card). A pass for one day costs 49 euro, you pay 236 euro for 7 days (normal season, as of 12 years).
Be careful with what you choose. A ski pass for 5 days if for 5 consecutive days, the 5/7 one means you can choose 5 out of 7 days which gives you a bit more flexibility in case of for example weather changes.
We took a ski pass for our full stay, because the children wanted to go skiing daily. But we had the impression most people don’t do that. They ski some days and book the husky or reindeer safaris on alternative days. We mostly combined both. The safaris only take a couple of hours, mostly in the morning or the afternoon, offering still plenty of time to go for a ski trip on the same day.
During our trip (end of February), we used the same ski outfit as we take along for skiing in the Alps. But it can be really cold up there, up to -11 degrees. If it’s also windy then … we were lucky to bring some warm buffs (merino wool) and decent gloves to protect our faces against the cold. So just make sure you have sufficient layers and warm clothing.
#5 Further information