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Ruka eventually

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Left yesterday for Ruka in Finland. All was well Manchester to Frankfurt then to Kuusamo all with Lufthansa. Got to Frankfurt, complete chaos at security. Queue so long as missed connecting flight. So 3 and half hour queue for Lufthansa service centre. (Lots of missed flights to all over!) Eventually were sent to get a rebook. So 6.50 flight this morning Frankfurt to Warsaw. We are now in Warsaw airport waiting to flight to Helsinki then a connection into Kuusamo. Should arrive by 9.30 tonight instead of 4.30 yesterday! Lufthansa staff were very good given the security issues aren't their responsibility. However we had to have a hotel and that will be something for me to chase with airport operator when we get back. Anyway fingers crossed for rest of day!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@lpsmc1, oh no. How frustrating. Was it Frankfurt terminal 1? There are often long queues for no aparent reason. So much for German efficiency.

Normally at the service centre you’d get flight re-booked, food voucher, and hotel arrangements. The hotel piece didn’t happen?

Hope the new journey goes well!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Yes terminal 1. Because it wasn't Lufthansa it was airport issue no, no hotel part, but I enjoy a challenge so I will go through what it takes to get compensation from Frankfurt airport! We were rebooked with no charge. Yes I thought that about German efficiency. I won't say a thing about Heathrow again!
Thanks will post tomorrow if/when we get there!
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Sounds, well, testing.... Evil or Very Mad Hope the rest of your trip makes up for it. Let the forum know about conditions, please. Merry Xmas snowHead
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Sorry only just got some wifi! None in the cabin. Conditions are variable. Little snow compared to normal but slopes all open. Some are rather chill factoresque by end of day! Basically they need a bit more natural snow. We have had a great holiday though, that is despite managing to lock ourselves out of the cabin on Christmas night and having to stay in a hotel (all Mr lpsmc's fault obviously!) Junior really loved ski school and they worked all week on carving. This is undergoing a lot of development and my only concern is that it will become overcrowded. The slopes aren't massive and decidedly busier than we have seen before.
Well let's see if we get back without incident tomorrow
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@lpsmc1, hope the journey home was less stressful than the outbound - been ogling the Ruka webcams for ages watching the numbers of skiers increase daily. Been looking forward to reading your trip report snowHead
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In Kuusamo airport and plans to Frankfurt has just arrived. It was snowing a bit when we left Ruka this morning. I will do a trip report once i am back in rainy Manchester.
ski holidays     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Back from Ruka. Quick trip report. Debacle getting there described above! However having spoken to cabin rental company no problem picking up keys at 1030pm on Sunday night. Got taxi from airport. 62 euros which was ok. Got i to cabin and unpacked and into bed by midnight.
Monday morning (Xmas eve) got taxi to ski school meeting point just to save us time but used ski link and ski bus rest of week. Son into ski school, 1hr 45mins. He was in a group of 3 who got all over the slopes and really focused on carving skills. He skis weekly but thoroughly enjoyed ski school, both the instructor and the other two lads. Husband and I skied round route 24 and 25. Not as much snow as before but slopes in good condition.
Collected son from ski school and took gondola back into ruka village as slopes close at 2 on Xmas eve and we had to get to supermarket having arrived late. Went to supermarket then to Colorado for some lunch. Husband and won had burgers, I had tortilla. Prices similar to UK. Ski bus stopped at 2.15 on Xmas eve so decided we would walk back to cabin. Bad idea! We ended up in totally wrong area (next to school) where we asked some hockey p!ayers for directions. One kindly drive us back to our cabin (there are kind people everywhere!) Husband and son piled into back of old vw golf with the hockey sticks and me up front to help with directions! I Will always remember that act of kindness. It was a good 15 min drive! Will continue in a moment Christmas night is even better
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Tuesday (Xmas day) lessons started at 12 so got ski bus into ruka then skied across to Vuosseli ski point. Husband and I had lesson which was good. Worked in our carving skills giving us p!entry to work with. 2cm of new snow had fallen so lovely in the morning. Slopes were quite busy. Queue at Vuoselli express lift which I have never seen before. Collected son from ski schoo! And lunch in ski bistro restaurant. Skied Saarua slopes in afternoon but they were starting to get icy patches, but like chill factor!icy patches and snow scraped off! Skied til around 5pm and headed back in ski bus to cabin. Got to cabin and husband announced we are locked out. He is in charge of keys ( me everything else!)and cabin key inside door shut with us outside. Couldn't get hold of management company so ended up in Scandic hotel in ruka village that night.
Got hold of management company on boxing day and picked up spare key.
Thursday husband and I had another lesson with Ivan. His English was patchy but his teaching was excellent. Really felt like I improved confidence after that lesson. Son snowboarder Thursday afternoon so around Saarua again.
Friday morning son i ski school then he boarded in the afternoon.
Sat was leaving. Taxi back to airport.
All in all we had a lovely week but ruka definitely busier than before and it really needed more snow. Cabin was lovely and temp not that cold. Only around -8. Third time to ruka but not sure about going back. Lots of development going on so more people but same slopes. Def was more kids snowploughing straight down red slopes and more skiers who were out of their depth on some slopes. I
Now trying to decide where to go next Xmas! Yes I am open to suggestions just not France!
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I had a flashback to our trip to ruka about 5 years ago when I saw this thread. We had a great time but were delayed 11 hours coming back - 9 hours in the Subway restaurant with 2 young kids. The resort was lovely and quiet so it’s a shame it’s gotten so busy. We subsequently went to Trysil in Norway and loved it. Trying France for the first time this year!!
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@bambionskis we are going to kvitfjell in Norway at Easter and are really considering either hafjell or trysil for Xmas 2019. Trysil does look good.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I did a week with the kids in Trysil 3 or 4 years ago. It was really good skiing and not too busy considering it was UK half term. Food and beer was damned expensive, which was the only downside, but you can take wine in with you and or buying at airport duty free on arrival.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Yes we have skied in Finland and Norway before and are well aware of the prices! Trysil looks like it is quite large by scandi standards. Going to look again at accommodation there.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I would say don’t go self-catering to Trysil. We went to the radisson twice on half board. Being stingy, we took a box of wine for the evenings (4 x tins of cider there = £24!), raided the breakfast buffet for lunch (took sandwich bags lol) and had tap water at the table for dinner. Whilst it was initially expensive, we hardly spent any money there so actually wasn’t too bad. The third time we went self catering to the other radisson (Park Inn) which wasn’t as good and ended up seriously expensive. The bus from the airport (approx 2 hours) was about £100 return for us 4 I think.

Hardly any lift queues. I loved the skiing but there are a lot of drag lifts. This is handy though on the windy days as it means they can still stay open. A good number of blues and reds and some of the blacks looked very challenging. The Park Inn side has some gorgeous greens - absolutely perfect for beginners.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@bambionskis thanks for that Trysil info. Husband and I happy on blues and reds. Junior will ski/board anything hence he gets packed off with an instructor! You are persuading me about Trysil as I had considered it!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
lpsmc1 wrote:
@bambionskis we are going to kvitfjell in Norway at Easter and are really considering either hafjell or trysil for Xmas 2019. Trysil does look good.


I’m all booked for Hafjell in February holidays. I’d be interested to know your thoughts if you do go.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I have taken the plunge and booked flights to Oslo for Xmas week 2019 and am still looking at Hafjell. Would love to hear your thoughts @lee985 after you have been.
Looking at Hafjell Hotel full board package.

We aren't looking for miles and miles of piste just easy cruisy stuff and being out in the winter environment. Hence the massive alps ski areas just don't appeal.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Ipsmc1, Will let you know.
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lpsmc1 wrote:
I have taken the plunge and booked flights to Oslo for Xmas week 2019 and am still looking at Hafjell. Would love to hear your thoughts @lee985 after you have been.
Looking at Hafjell Hotel full board package.

We aren't looking for miles and miles of piste just easy cruisy stuff and being out in the winter environment. Hence the massive alps ski areas just don't appeal.


Very sensible to go full board!
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
We were going to Kvitfjell 7 -14 April. Were going self catering but decided last night to go to Hafjell instead. Full board and easier to get to via bus from Lillehammer. Thanks @bambionskis as we were weighing up half board. It's along time since I have been to Norway but I do remember it was expensive!
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@lpsmc1, when you were out in Ruka, what was the snow like, and what's your guess as to what it's like now? (Off there soon, trying to decide which skis to take, piste or twin tip wider AMs.)
I was out about this time 2 years ago and it was pretty hard crusty to mildly soft groomed at best, hard frozen courderoy at first and nothing really soft to any depth. Compared that to Pyha, where it was all lovely soft, deep and only semi groomed. Ruka doesn't seem to have much side of piste or trees to play in, iirc.
My AMs were struggling last time (or at least not at their best), really wish I'd had the piste skis. Will Sod's Law this year say if I take the piste ones, them I should have taken the AMs?
Cheers.
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lpsmc1 wrote:
We were going to Kvitfjell 7 -14 April. Were going self catering but decided last night to go to Hafjell instead. Full board and easier to get to via bus from Lillehammer. Thanks @bambionskis as we were weighing up half board. It's along time since I have been to Norway but I do remember it was expensive!


We went to Lillehammer a few Christmas’ ago and skied at Hafjell and Kvitfjell. Stayed in a hotel in Lillehammer as I had points to use, but forgot that means eating out every meal (at Norwegian prices...). At that time the snow was better at Kvitfjell, but it was early season. It also feels a bit bigger, as you can ski down both sides of the mountain. We hired a car from Oslo. Car hire from Oslo has always been one of the things I’ve found to be surprisingly reasonable.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Snow at Ruka @Grizzler is what you said. Not much depth at all. Less this year than most years as well. Snow was hard packed then bashed and groomed, corduroy in morning. I would probably take the piste skis. Can't see there being much call for wider skis. Big park area if that's your thing. Lots of little park rats around at Xmas!
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@themasterpiece. Thanks for that. Considered carbide but will use train then bus. I agree Kvitfjell seems bigger but honestly we don t need miles of piste to keep us happy. We see it as a holiday where we ski rather than a full on ski trip. I do like ski I g in Scandinavia so will get to kvitfjell and Sweden is get to be explored! Done with Finland for a bit I think
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Sorry car hire not carbide! Predictive text just came up with dad hire for car hire.
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Thanks @lpsmc1. half negates the point of going to Lapland (especially given what's in Austria at the mo). Still, there were other valid reasons for choosing to go there again.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
To update, after 6 lovely, and extremely cold, days in Ruka... We were lucky with 6 days of partial cloud to mostly 'bluebird' (as much as you get that at this time of year), a load of beautiful sunsets, some cloudy mornings (darn, late start again!) and temps of somewhere between -18 and -27C in the valley. That was the only issue as, despite all the thermal gear we have, sometimes you just couldn't keep hands and feet warm enough for safe skiing/boarding, and your muscles were just too cold to want to work (or froze up again on the lifts, along with boots stiffening up). So we didn't stay out as long as we wanted, sadly. Fortunately, the wind wasn't an issue, as that would have been intolerable.
Snow underfoot was quite adequate, but a lot is artificial, I think (though plenty of natural stuff on the trees and walking trails etc): snow cannons going madly the first 4 days, though they were fighting to get some club race type ski cross, slalom and freestyle stuff prepped. The main half pipe is still nowhere near finished: last time I was there in the same week it was already in use. Some runs are only just being fully opened. They don't seem to have had any snow for ages, though some is forecast next week, maybe. But Finnish artificial snow is lovely fluffy stuff, unlike what I've encountered in Austria often (I guess because of the temperatures) so it felt just like natural groomed stuff, if generally running a tad slow. Wasn't icy or hard courderoy, as it was last time, though a few runs are quite hard packed. All in all no complaints. Little to use off the groomers though, lots of rocks and little trees poking through.

My observation is that it has got much, much busier in the last couple of years, and a lot of building expansion is going on, so it's going to get busier still. A lot more cafes and bars on the slopes (but also a lot more useful heated WCs). A lot more light pollution too: not so good for Northern Light spotting.
The new Gondola is a great boon and the new 4 seater chairlift will be useful, once it finally gets working. I think it might kill the charm of the place at this time of the year though, once it gets busier; already much noisier of an evening. But for now it's still nice and the slopes are quiet enough. Beautiful this time of year when it's all lit up with coloured lights, too.
Also a great ski/board school: and I very, very rarely say that!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Have to say it was much busier at Xmas than previously and yes lots more expansion going on. Not sure how well the slopes will cope with lots more peopke. Shame if it goes too commercial
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You know it makes sense.
If it gets much busier they will HAVE to expand Kuusamo airport as it’s tiny. Shame about the expansion and particularly light pollution, especially if that kills off Northern Lights-watching. We only managed to see about 15 minutes of green coloured lights but it was a taste of what it must look like proper - just magical. It was -16 when we were there and provided you were in ski gear you were fine. I remember getting off the bus in jeans though and have ever felt so cold. It’s a great place.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
This is where I’ll be in a few weeks! I can’t wait! We went 3 years ago at the same time and it was so quiet and peaceful. I hope we have the same experience
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Yes kuusamo is tiny. Two flights waiting to go when we were there, one delayed, and it was packed! Infrastructure would be my concern but yes it is a lovely place. Keen to compare experience in Norway and Sweden is on my list. Again dealt with hotel in Norway on the phone with lady with perfect English. 10 weeks and counting!
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According to the free Lapland magazine knocking around the Ruka Suites, supermarket, etc, they're pumping lots of investment into winter and other tourism generally; also into several airports, although I'm not sure if Kuusamo is on the list, more the several other ones further north. But I agree that Kuusamo needs a bit more space - though it still ranks as the quickest baggage reclaim and easiest and most pleasant security experience I know. When I came home there were 3 TUI flights all checking in at once on 3 desks. Annoying, but actually nowhere near as stressful and frustrating as either coming out or coming back via Manchester Evil or Very Mad
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I grant you that about Manchester but raise you Frankfurt! See why this post was started!
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@lpsmc1, fair point, don't envy your 'mare.
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lpsmc1 wrote:
I have taken the plunge and booked flights to Oslo for Xmas week 2019 and am still looking at Hafjell. Would love to hear your thoughts @lee985 after you have been.
Looking at Hafjell Hotel full board package.

We aren't looking for miles and miles of piste just easy cruisy stuff and being out in the winter environment. Hence the massive alps ski areas just don't appeal.


Hi, lpsmc1 here is a very short roundup of our trip to Hafjell.
Train from Oslo airport to Lillehammer was really easy and a return ticket was for 1 adult and a student was £79 (you can cheaper if you book in advance). We stayed at the Clarion, Lillehammer which was 5 minutes walk from the train station. The package was half-board and was definitely worth it, as mentioned many times Norway is expensive. There was lots of choice for both breakfast and dinner, and cake is served between 3 and 5:30. Getting from the hotel to Hafjell was really easy the bus stop is outside the train station and the journey takes around 20 minutes. Tickets can be purchased on the bus using contactless/card payments or you can download the app 'Opplandstrafikk billett'. You can only buy single tickets, one adult and a student was £7.04 each way using the App, its £8 if you pay on the bus.

We hired our skies from Skibua which is opposite the bus stop but there are other shops at the foot of the slopes that you can use. The guys here were very helpful and friendly, we pre-booked and our skies were waiting for us as we walked in. If you are particular about your skies you may be a little disappointed here as there isn't much choice, there is Nordica or Head alpine skies and that's it. The other shops didn't seem to have much more choice either. At the ski pass office, you can hire a locker (around £2.80 per day) which I highly recommend as it really does save having to carry a lot of kit around. Your ski pass includes KVITFJELLVEGEN which is another 40(ish) minutes north but we didn't make that journey.

The slopes in Hafjell are probably what you are looking for, easy, wide with one or two steep slopes. The few reds were more like a French difficult blue and the two blacks a difficult French Red. There were no narrow slopes and were well groomed.

There are several restaurants around the various lift areas but also lots of picnic areas too. At the top of the gondola and off to the right as you look up the slopes with your back to the gondola there is a circular hut. This is for picnics only and we saw lots of people leaving there bags before going off for the morning. There is also a small electric bbq outside where we saw lots of people cooking hotdogs. Food is about the same as the Alps - £12-14 per meal (£3.50 for a tray of chips) but alcohol and anything with sugar is expensive.

We had a great time, 5 days was enough as the slopes became a little repetitive. People were really nice and no language issues or rudeness. I would recommend Hafjell to anyone who wanted an easy few days skiing or had small children.
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@lee985 thanks for that round up. It does sound what we want. We are staying in Hafjell but did think about getting the locker. We have our own kit so always happy to have it in a handy place. We will have plenty to keep us happy and may even manage all the runs!
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@lpsmc1, if you have a car, definitely try to get to Kvitfjell for at least one day. It feels distinctly more alpine than Hafjell. Although it's got runs on both sides of the mountain, you only get the full vertical if you go down the Olympic downhill run (which wouldn't be trivial in difficult snow). It's easier to get longer runs at Hafjell. The combination of the two locations makes for decent variety though.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@mrgolf. Really enjoyed your trip report. We won 't have a car but I do fancy a day in kvitfjell so might look at other options to get there. I wouldn't touch the olympic run but junior would love it. I can see Norway being a place we return to do may do kvitfjell another year. Already booked flights to Oslo for Xmas so resort choice still flexible
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