Levi Ski Resort in northern Finland is a leader in innovation and environmentally friendly development. That trend continues as they are building a man-made glacier and a new high-speed chair lift to service it.
So far Levi says they have moved around 20,000 cubic meters of soil to create a smooth base for the slope to get it ready to house the artificial glacier. This is equivalent to around 2,000 truckloads of land. The location of the glacier is on the resort’s Front Slope.
How do you make a glacier?
The technology behind making a glacier is rooted in the increasingly popular snow farming technique. This is the practice of stockpiling snow from the season and insulating it with a cover to protect and preserve it from melting in the summer. Then, once the weather turns cold again, it can be revealed or spread out for skiing.
Levi plans to permanently farm the snow in the location of the glacier. This will allow them to open in the Fall (as early as September) with the farmed snow and could even add to it with snowmaking capabilities. Levi already typically operates a long season from October to May due to being located north of the Arctic Circle and receiving generous snowfall with sub-freezing temperatures.
The construction of the glacier and appropriately named Glacier Express chair is weeks ahead of the production schedule. This is in part due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since many projects in Europe were put on hold, the factory was able to accelerate its schedule. The cost of the lift and glacier is around €7 million. This is equivalent to $7 million as the two currencies are currently trading nearly equal to each other.
The glacier will be big enough for five slalom lanes. It will be another option for skiers and riders who want to extend their season without having to head to the southern hemisphere.
Europe recently shut down many glaciers due to this summer’s extreme heat, so the news of a new glacier opening, even if man-made, is encouraging. It makes you wonder if this could be replicated in other parts of the world as well.
Levi is set to open the 2022-23 season on October 7th. The new chairlift will open this November and the glacier should open in early Fall 2023.