Established in 1964, Levi is Finland's fastest growing ski area with the only two gondola lifts in the country. The 530m/1740ft Levitunturi ('tunturi' is Finnish for fell - a kind of mountain) is situated 170km/106miles north of the Arctic Circle in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Around midsummer the sun does not set and you can experience the nightless night, while in midwinter the sun does not rise for 2 months and there is a period of "kaamos" or polar night. Popular as a family resort, Levi is situated in the district of Kittilä which has a bigger surface area than Belgium and populated by around 6,000 people and 30,000 reindeer. Kittilä, a 15 minute drive from Levi, is a traditional Lapp village which has managed to combine modern with historic. Its worth visiting the museums here to learn more about the indigenous Sami culture. Geographically, Kittilä is in the centre of the fells district of Western Lapland and has 3 other major skiing centres nearby - Ylläs, Pallas and Olos. The capital of Rovaniemi 170km/106 miles, the nearest large town is famous for being Santa Claus's official home with Santa Claus Land a year round visitor destination. Autumn is known as the "Ruska", or rainbow season and as early as October the summits of Levitunturi are clad with snow blown in from the Atlantic, this is when the blue twilight of the polar night closes in, the midday dark of winter when daylight hours shorten. January is the coldest month with an average daytime temperature of -15C in the north but the climate is very dry so it usually feels warmer than it actually is. Even during mild winters Finland usually has a plentiful supply of snow because of east wind currents from Russia. The Finns are a very adaptable people and even in a winter rich with snow everything works as it should. The transport system functions in all weather conditions. The roads are always cleared and gritted, even in the middle of the night if need be. Railways operate to schedule, as does their national airline, Finnair, which serves one of the densest domestic networks in the world. The skiing season is a long one in Northern Finland beginning in October and lasting until at least mid-May while East and Central Finland's first snow usually arrives in December. High season commences in early February and during March and April the long days allow 16 hours of skiing under brilliant sun - night skiing is possible at this time without any artificial light. Snow conditions and hours of sunshine make it most favourable to ski in South Finland in February, Central Finland in March and North Finland in April. However, even in the pre-season when the days are shortest it is still possible to ski for at least five hours by daylight. Cross-country skiing originated in Finland and is one of the country's favourite sports. Levi has 230km of cross-country trails, 28km of which are illuminated. Lengths of trails vary and on the longer ones you can make your own meals on an open fire or stay overnight in log cabins or wilderness huts. By far the fastest means of transportation in the fells is the snowmobile and Levi has over 886km of Finland's best snowmobile tracks including a track to the top of Levi fell. Between 6 and 8m wide, tracks include warning/information signs and resting huts. There are approximately 1,000 snowmobiles in the area, 300 of which are available for rental and 700 privately owned. Kittilä has 3 snowmobile shops and repair garages. Many people visit for another reason - the hills of northern Lapland attract professional gold prospectors and this area is well known as gold country. Precious and semi-precious stones can also be found in the mountain streams.
One of the lagest ski area in Finland, complete with two gondola lifts, with all hotels and slopes linked by a free bus service. The resort has a sports centre and a spa with jacuzzi, pool saunas and steam room. 28km of the cross-country trails are illuminated. Lifts operate from 10am to 8pm and include the only gondola in Finland. There are 886km of snowmobiling trails in the area. Visits are arranged to Santa Land in Rovaniemi and there are trips to see the Northern Lights.