So much for snowmelt. At Levi Ski Resort, Finland’s largest ski area located 93 miles north of the Arctic Circle, operators are currently “saving snow” for next season. By piling up the snow into massive heaps at the base of its mountain and covering them with a thermal-resistant fabric, the mounds will barely melt over the course of the summer. When resort reopens (hopefully in the fall), the safeguarded snow will be redistributed with snowcats and skied upon once again. Quite the concept.
“We have saved [snow before] but not at this scale,” explained Marko Mustonen, commericial director at Levi Ski Resort via email. “Since we had to close down all operations [on March 22], it was decided to save more snow. This season was excellent with snowmaking conditions and natural snow—what is now stored is nice mixture of [both]. Real recycled snow… it should keep 90- to 95=percent of the stored snow over the summer.”
Other ski areas use the process of snow saving, but high summer temperatures in different locations make it difficult to retain enough final product after the warm weather months. At Levi Ski Area, one of the region’s largest employers, the task has allowed employees to retain jobs during the early shutdown.
“COVID stopped all our our operations and, since we are one of the key businesses in the area, it has dramatically affected all the businesses. All the work [right now] increases belief for the future, which is important. Proper preparation for next winter is important in that sense, too. We are preparing for summer activities and if [the] situation allows, people can [will be able to] come back and enjoy fresh nordic air in biking, hiking and other outdoor activities.”