We’re officially into fall, snowmaking has begun, and we’ve had dustings of snow at ski resorts across North America, whetting our appetite for winter. The days are getting shorter and colder, and the countdown to opening day is now on.
In Finland, they don’t have as long to wait. Levi, the nation’s largest ski area, and Ruka, another one of the largest both plan to open tomorrow, October 7th, 2022, the first non-glacial resorts in the northern hemisphere to do so.
In order to open early, the “two resorts use snow farming – saving piles of snow collected last spring under insulating covers.” This process protects the snow from the summer heat and slows the melting. Once October hits, the resorts spread what is left back onto the slopes as temperatures start to drop. Cooler temperatures, combined with snow farming and an earlier start to winter, given Finland’s position in the Northern reaches of the globe.
As resorts are affected by climate change, dryer seasons, and earlier closing dates, nations and their ski areas will need to become more creative. Whistler and other European resorts have begun to use snow farming or covering of glaciers to prolong, or in this case, provide an early start. Courchevel uses the same technique in France and Kitzbühel in the Austrian Tirol, which is usually the first location without a glacier in the Alps to open.
So get ready. Do your snow dances and keep an eye on the skies. North America won’t be far behind…