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Levi Finland - advice for beginners

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all. The TL;DR version is that the Seagraves have booked (self-catering) for December 2022 already.

We returned intact from Levi to Gatwick on Boxing Day. Day 2 PCRs dropped off at Toddington Services on the way home (c.2am on Monday morning) and negative results obtained almost exactly 24hrs (1.56am yesterday).

Levi as a resort has got some serious plusses, and probably the chief benefit is its proximity to the airport. A 20-minute transfer (with kids) is very manageable.

We were very close to Zero Point, which has very accessible nursery slopes with free-to-use pome lifts and a magic carpet. So inviting and gentle were these, that Lady Seagrave bought three hours of ski hire and had a go herself!

Others have mentioned the fire huts, which are great fun for families with sausages and marshmallows - we’ve got a great picture of “Christmas Day Lunch” Very Happy There are a couple of these by the nursery slopes, and others scattered throughout the resort.

Seagrave Jnr had three days in ski school. 90 minutes at 2pm each day. I was surprised it was so short (having had full days in the alps), but the temperature is so low that really 90 minutes is about as long as is bearable at a time.

I suffer with cold fingers and toes at the best of times, so, even caning it down the longest reds, I found it very difficult to stay warm. The coldest day was down to -23, and, with no sun, there is really no relief. Even with mittens and handwarmers, it’s perishing.

The skiing is good. Being a strong intermediate piste man, my favourites were a an enjoyable red W.3 (aka 11.3 to 10.2), a cheeky red-to-black 13.2, and a longish red 6.2.

The Levi Black G.2 is great, but there are truly stomach-dropping changes in gradient, including the main steep section which falls away very abruptly (too abruptly for your correspondent: who caught some significant air and then did 100ft or more sliding down on his face, much to the amusement of anyone in the gondoli 2000, which runs over the top).

The floodlighting is super - and helps give you a real sense of direction as you look down from the top of the resort. It’s less good for anticipating the lay of the piste, as the areas of light and shade do create a slightly false sense of gradient. Fine if you’re cautious, but unsettling if your are charging down something for the first time (guess which kind of skier I am…! rolling eyes

I’ve already mentioned the cost of living, which is high.

I definitely recommend the Levi Spa (entrance through Burger King!), with its bracing range of indoor and outdoor pools. It was a great experience to sit in a hot tub in -15 with thick ice on the steps and railings!

We did the Elves Hideaway visit, and the hug-a-husky add-on, which was great fun (and only a ten-minute taxi ride away).

The Christmas festivities were a good alternative to days on the slopes. We enjoyed the big buffet dinners, and the food at our hotel and the Levi Spa Hotel (Ahku restaurant) was very good. We probably weren’t there long enough to search out all the budget alternatives, but hang on for next year and i’ll post an update!

Overall, I found it to be a great family ski experience. Next year we will pack some serious arctic gear. The cold was a problem for my alpine kit.

In my view there wasn’t quite enough skiing for good/intermediate piste skiers. Experts might get a thrill from really conquering the Levi Black, but that’s really it in terms of Big Skiing.

Hope that helps. I don’t have many pictures, because it was always too cold to get my phone out!

LS
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Just adding a couple more points; Yes you can go jogging in Levi in winter, but mostly not in the forests since the paths will be made into xc tracks, or it´s armpit deep in snow. I always just jog along the pedestrian sidewalks, they go on forever so you do get variety. And the sidewalks are regularly maintained so you won´t get snow into your running shoes.

Zero point piste can be terrifying for beginners at the end of the day, and since that´s where the village and most accommodation is, that´s where most people end up at the end of the day. Avoid it by taking a shuttle bus from South point (costs a few euros). Another way to avoid it could be to take the cabin lift from Panorama hotel, which is high up on the Zero point slopes, but I´m not 100% sure how it works.

Cover up your face when the temperatures drop; you´ll only notice a part of your face has frozen when your friends start shrieking with horror at seeing a white blotch on your otherwise red face.
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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?
That was a good read, thanks for sharing @lord_seagrave!
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Well, so far so good for out Levi trip. Got here on the 31st, a bit later than planned due to a cancelled finnair flight from Helsinki to Kittila. The upside of that was that we arrived in Levi just before midnight on the 31st and followed the crowds to the front pistes where there was a massive fireworks display, which was just people letting off fireworks all over the place. A brilliant start to the trip.

Eventually made our way to our cabin, which was booked on air bnb and is very reasonable at about €140 a night. Full kitchen, roasting hot, massive fireplace and sauna. Sleeping loft for the kids up a stairs/ladder and one bedroom downstairs. 2km from levi centre.

Kids did 3 days of lessons in Zero point and i spent the time getting used to snowboarding again after a 14 year break. Used the free lifts for the first two days which was great. Got a 2 day pass for myself than and spend the day on the front slopes and then later on teh south slopes. Front are hard work, icy in patches and sloping away from the main chair lift. South point was brilliant, really nice and mellow blue runs that were fast (for me) in parts but not too challenging.

Second day of was spent with the kids, starting at south point and riding the lower easy blues off the button lift and then one spin in the chair to the top. The seven year old freaked out and we had a long slow slide down. To be fair, it was a big ask after three days of lessons and a punishing wind and -16. Made it to the bottom and she did a few more runs off the button lift. We were getting cold then and headed home for lunch. After lunch we went to zero point and rode the gondola up the easy blue in front of the hotel and we did that a few times, followed by the blue off the T bar at the lower left of the front slopes, all of which the kids loved.

Headed back to southpoint for the last hour in the evening with the older two kids to ride the blues again. Also used the drag lift number 8 which is a very long T bar but avoids the steep icy bit off the chair lift, and then joins the same piste.

All in, a great first skiing experience for the kids, but the cold really limits you to about 2, maybe three hours at a push.

Added bonus of the aurora on the second night here, right outside the cabin.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Booked a trip out on the 5th Feb. Flying into HEL and spending night with family before catching flight up next morning. Expecting to spend more time in Yllas as well as spending some time on Telemarks. Will let you know how we get on.
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Have a good trip @brovert. In Helsinki airport waiting for the flight home and already thinking about coming back next year, around march/April when all of the lifts and slipped are open.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Just coming back with an update, and to relive some memories now that we are back to work.

Levi in January was a brilliant trip, and for us a winter holiday with some skiing, rather than a skiing holiday. It was too cold to consider skiing every day and to be honest I'm not sure I would have wanted to board every day as it was most fun with the kids, messing on the chairlifts etc. It got a bit boring riding the chairs by myself with nobody to talk to after a while.

The kids and wife attended a three day course of lessons at zero point. This was 1.5 hours a day for the three days. 7 & 11 in one group with 2 Finnish kids and 12 and wife in another group with 3 other adults. Tuition was great and the three kids were competent on skis by the end of the second day. Wife had done a week in the distant past but really enjoyed the beginner lessons as she was not confident at all to begin with. The difference between the approach to teaching the kids and the adults was massive, but all ended up in the same place after the three days.

We used the free lifts in Kiddi-land at zero point after the lessons for the first two days to practice and for me to get my snowboarding legs working again after a 14 year break. There were two buttons on green slopes that were perfect for practicing. Note there is also a free to use magic carpet at zero point, a longer free button on an easy green at Draivi and two longer magic carpets at South Point, all free to use on easy green slopes.

We also used the Kota Hut at Kids land every day for a hot chocolate break and to warm up by the fire. It was never too busy and felt a lot less risky than the coffee shop over at zero point which was rammed with people every day. We had brought a couple of thermos flasks with us so just made some hot chocolate every day before heading out. At €30 a round of hot chocolates in the cafe we probably saved half the cost of the flights for next year too! There's two Kota huts at south point too.

South point had the best runs for our level of skiing / boarding. Nice blues, long and cruisy with a few faster sections. The older kids loved the bubble chair and the subsequent run back down to the start. Given the lack of daylight at that time of year only the floodlit slopes were open, which is plenty of slopes.

We will definitely go back to try out the full mountain in March / April - maybe next year.

Aside from the skiing we drove to Yllas to visit an Ice Hotel - awesome craftmanship in the sculptures. Visited a reindeer farm and fed some reindeers, really interesting and educational. Saw the Aurora on two nights from outside our cabin which was just magic. Walked across the frozen lake beside the town and also did a forest walk which was beautiful in the falling snow. Lots of time messing on snow mounds on toboggans, relaxing in the cabin and sampling Finnish Pale Ale and Long drinks.

I did a few jogs in the evening to keep the legs ticking over and i have to say that running in -27 is at best unpleasant but an experience I am glad to have had!

Food primarily came from the supermarket with prices similar to home. Didn't go to any restaurants as they all closed at 5pm due to covid restrictions and also they weren't cheap. Take away pizza from koti pizza was delicious.

We hired a car and the trip from the airport to Levi was 15 minutes or so. We covered about 500km driving around in the ten days. I would recommend having a car but if you didn't want to rent one there is a ski bus that covers the route between all the slope start points.
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