by Heikki Salo, degree student in Media
So you’re in Finland and it is winter! You might want to try skiing or snowboarding? Skiing is fun – but of course snowboarding is much cooler. Those can be fun trips with good people – skiing few hours, drinking tea, grilling in those small grilling shelters (what ever they are called, some places have those).
But like in everything, at first you don’t know how to do it. If you don’t have money to book a teacher, I would recommend to ask some friend (who has long nerves) to teach you because it’s going to be hard. Here are some practical things to know.
Probably the closest ski center for many of you is in Hervanta. The problem is that there’s not so many tracks and it can feel boring after few hours. For others Mustavuori can be the closest one but there happens to be the same problem. And also Mustavuori’s hill is steeper so it’s not so friendly for a beginner.
For beginner’s quick day trip I would recommend Ellivuori, it’s just 40 minutes away from Tampere and most of the tracks are more gently sloping so it’s friendlier for beginners. And there are also few more tracks there so it doesn’t get so boring after few hours.
If you want more action and you are willing to sit longer in a car, you could go to Sappee or Himos. They both have longer tracks, suitable for many skill levels so you could basically go with a bigger group with beginners and more advanced skiers and snowboarders. It takes an hour to go to Sappee and 1,5 hours to Himos.
Ski centers in southern Finland open normally in the end of December or in January. In Lapland they are open for skiers earlier and they offer longer tracks and more beautiful views. But because of a long distance you should take more time like a week for that trip.
Popular ski centers in Lapland:
You could buy a snowboard or skis (and straps and boots) but you probably go there only once or twice so I would recommend you to rent them. Every ski center offers rental skis/snowboards and boots (and helmets!). You should still get appropriate clothing as you’re going to get wet and cold during the day. If you want to, you could also try to find goggles to protect your eyes. Not necessary at first day because hopefully you’re not going too fast but those are good shield for your eyes when you get some speed.
Here’s Ellivuori’s price list – http://www.ellivuori.fi/ski/en/page.tmpl?sivu_id=85
And Himos’ price list http://www.himos.fi/en/prices
Ellivuori has an offer for much cheaper weekday evenings. That comes with a cost that there’s no sunlight. It’s fun but I would recommend that your first time would be in daylight.
If you haven’t done anything physical in past few years, 3 hours could be enough but if you don’t look every euro you spend, a full day ticket gives some freedom. When you don’t have that time limit, you have all the time to go eat or drink that tea. That’s good especially in Himos, as it is so huge place where some people might want to just wander around.
Don’t plan to do anything physical the next day. Your abs and bum is going to hurt after the first day. If not, you probably didn’t even try.
Don’t even try to do any fancy tricks at the first time, you’re just going to break yourself.