News from the snow
Pronounced 'U-las', this is the largest downhill and cross-country ski centre in Finland with the greatest uplift per hour. The resort also boasts the country's greatest vertical, most runs and the longest run at three kilometres (two miles). Many of the higher slopes are above the tree-line, unusual for Finnish skiing, because at 718m Ylläs is one of the highest fells in Lapland. The slopes are four kilometres (two and a half miles) from the resort, although you can nearly ski all the way back and in any case there is a free ski bus link. Beyond these impressive statistics are the stunning natural beauty and magical atmosphere of the surroundings in Finnish Lapland. The area is famous for its 'blue light' in the daytime and northern lights at night. Ylläs consists of seven fells and two original Sámi villages. Äkäslompolo village is located on the northern side of the the Ylläs fell and Ylläsjärvi village on the southern side. Äkäslompolo has a skiing tradition dating back to 1930's. The first ski fans were making their way there even before the area was served by a road. In Ylläs you can feel the original Lappish atmosphere: in most hotels and cafés you are served by a second or third generation of families. The ski season begins in October and lasts until May. The sun does not rise in winter until late January, when temperatures can be as low as -40ºC although there is adequate daylight. However when cold, it's normally a dry cold which is comfortable for periods so long as adequate thermal skiwear is worn. By March the days are longer than in the Alps and in May the slopes are still open when most northern hemisphere ski areas are closed and daylight is approaching 24 hours.
Pronounced 'U-las', this is the largest downhill and cross-country ski centre in Finland with the greatest uplift per hour. The resort also boasts the country's greatest vertical, most runs and longest run ( 3km ). Many of the higher slopes are above the tree-line, which is unusual for Finnish skiing. The slopes are 4km from the resort, although you can nearly ski all the way back and in any case there is a free ski bus link. The sun does not rise in winter until late January, when temperatures can be as low as -15ºC although there is adequate daylight, Children get free rental equipment and lift tickets so long as they wear a helmet when skiing.
Beginners are especially well catered for with ideal terrain, good teachers and reasonable prices to cushion the shock of the cost of the expensive activity of skiing.
Intermediates have the whole fell to themselves, for experts the terrain is more limited but off piste powder can be good, especially as the temperature tends to remain at a constant below zero for longer period so the thaw-freeze-thaw action common in the Alps is lessened and powder stays powder longer here..
Floodlighting on twelve slopes provides night skiing and illumination in the daytime when natural light is short.
Ylläs has two ski schools, one in both villages. The ski schools teach slalom, telemark skiing and provide off piste guiding.
Other ski resorts are located quite nearby so that day trips from Ylläs to Olos, Pallas and Levi can be made easily.
Ylläs is a cross country skier's oasis. A total of 320km of mechanically prepared trails are available and 38km of these are illuminated. The trails are arranged so that the route can be changed as desired half-way through, giving countless alternatives in the beautiful scenery. Trails include are so-called warm tracks where it might be as much as 15 degrees warmer than down in the village.
There is a kindergarten for children aged from birth to eleven years old. On the slopes 'Kids Land' a snow play area with its own lift is free for children with their parents or provided supervised at the same rate as the kindergarten.
Children aged under seven get free rental equipment and lift tickets so long as they wear a helmet when skiing. Children's ski school classes are available from age five to twelve.
Ylläs ticket pricing options include a parent ticket (one day validity only) which can be inter-changed between parents during the day.
Lappish Nights offered in a traditional Kota are well worth a try, with reindeer meat and traditional Finnish folk music.
For more contemporary themes on traditional ingredients Restaurant Yllaken Kaivohuone in Akaslompolo village serves everything from meat and game such as willow ptarmigan and arctic char to vegetarian specialities. Likewise the Poro restaurant in the Lapp Village is proud to serve unusual cuisine created, for example, from reindeer blood and liver. The restaurant has been stylishly decorated to create a stunning effect and has excellent service.
For more international food including pizza and gourmet burgers try Julli's Restaurant.
On the slopes make sure you visit Finland's highest restaurant, Yllaskammi 718, at the top of the highest fell.
The largest venue in the resort is the Akäs Hotel which has a large dance floor, bar and night club.
A unique attraction is a winter swim in an ice hole cut in a frozen river, hopefully under the northern lights. Take a snowmobile safari trip to a warm sauna, before you take your dip.
The ski school teaches snowboarding and can guide you to the best powder stashes and natural hits.