RUKA AIMS TO BE THE WORLD'S BEST FOR FAMILIES - WE INVEST IN A NEW 8-SEAT EXPRESS CHAIRLIFT AND NEW FAMILY-FRIENDLY SLOPES TO MASTO SKI AREA
Great news: Ruka ski resort is growing again - this time on the east side of the fell in Masto ski area! We will start massive investments on Masto slopes in May. Finland's first eight-person high-speed Masto Express chair lift and four new ski slopes will be built in the area. The area's snowmaking capacity will also be significantly strengthened with the purchase of 40 new snow cannons. The new lift and the new slopes can be experienced at the beginning of the next winter season - the opening goal for Masto's slope area is December 2023. Investments will be made on the ski area for a total of 14 million euros.
REACH THE MASTO PEAK IN JUST 2 MINUTES
The most visible part of the investments is Finland's first eight-person high-speed Masto Express chairlift with a bubble. The lift is the fastest in Finland with a speed of 6 m/s and by far the most efficient, lifting no less than 4,000 skiers per hour to the top of Masto.
Four new slopes will be built next to Masto's current slopes. The new slopes will improve connections to the slopes of Vuosseli and Kelo, and in addition, the experiential Snow Valley (Tykkylaakso in Finnish) will be built in the area.
- The Masto area has favorable conditions for the formation of cannon snow that accumulates on the trees, and we wanted to highlight this feature by creating a snow-crowned trees -themed adventure slope. The slope reformations, together with the fast and effortless chairlift, will bring Masto's appeal to a whole new level, Rukakeskus Ltd operational director Matti Parviainen says.
See new investments from the visualisation
The visualisation above shows the location of the new 8-seat Masto Express, with lower station located in the place of the current Masto II anchor lift. The upper station of the new chairlift will be located slightly higher and to the right side when viewed from the upper station of the current Masto anchor lifts. Masto I anchor lift will stay in use with Masto Express and Masto II lift will be removed to a new location.
The new Tykkylaakso – Snow Valley adventure slope on the left side of the picture will run from the upper station along Juhannuskallio road, next to the MastonAitio Ski-Inn cabins, down to the lower station of the Masto lifts. Among the slope novelties is also a completely new transition route from the top of Masto to the slope of Kelo and the slope branching from there to Vuosseli. There will also be a new slope from the upper station of the Vuosseli Express to the lower station in Masto, which will make the transition from Vuosseli to Masto smoother than it is now.
AIMING FOR THE WORLD'S BEST SKI RESORT FOR FAMILIES
For several years the cornerstone of Ruka's strategy has been the goal of developing the resort into the world's best ski resort for families. This has meant several investments in slopes, lifts and accommodation operations, which have made vacationing with children easier.
- With the Village2Valley gondola completed in 2017-2018, RukaValley's new Ski-Inn hotel and extensive children's slopes, car-free vacationing with children in the ski resort is already very effortless. Investments in the Masto area are an important step on the way towards our goal, says Parviainen.
In the summer of 2022, two new slopes and lifts designed for children and families, Mini Ruka and Ruka Park Junior, were built in Ruka's popular Vuosseli and Bistro area. In addition to this, the area already has a slope area for small children, Family Park, and an indoor play area, Kids' Club.
For more than 20 years, Ruka's development has been based on the Ruka Masterplan created by the Canadian Ecosign planning office. According to the masterplan the area has been developed into a year-round, internationally attractive mountain resort. Two pleasant pedestrian villages and a network of Express chairlifts have already been implemented in Ruka, as well as a comprehensive service offering around the resort. Thanks to those developments it is easy to spend a holiday in Ruka without the need of car.
- Long-term development is Ruka's trademark and we are proud of it. The Masto area was a clear choice as the next development target, as families are Ruka's most important target group. The popularity of Vuosseli's slopes among families creates congestion there from time to time, and with the help of new investments we want to direct our guests to enjoy the slopes in the direction of Masto, says Rukakeskus ltd CEO Ville Aho.
Ruka's competitive advantage is also snow reliability, and to strengthen it, a fully automatic snowmaking system with 40 snow cannons will be built on the slopes of Masto and Pessari. The Ruka ski center already has snowmaking equipment the size of about 100 snow cannons, so the snowmaking capacity will increase by almost one and a half times due to the investment.
The family company wants to pave the way for Ruka's development
Rukakeskus Oy is the locomotive company of the Ruka-Kuusamo Tourism Area and Ruka Ski Resort is the biggest attraction factor in the area. The company owned by the Aho family has been boldly investing in growth for 50 years.
- The early season of Ruka has been challenging due to the high price of electricity, the uncertainty of domestic demand and also the snow situation. However, spring looks good and the European union co-funding we received ensured the realization of the investments despite the world situation, says Ville Aho.
Rukakeskus Oy has received European union co-funding for the "World's best for families and the environment" project, which includes Masto's new slopes and lift, the implementation of an energy-efficient automatic snowmaking system, LED lighting of the new slopes and the expansion of the caravan area to 40 places.
International demand for Ruka and Kuusamo is growing strongly, and the growth bottleneck is now the amount of hotel-level accommodation in Ruka's core area.
- I believe that our investments also create faith for other Ruka entrepreneurs to boldly develop their services. We especially warmly welcome new hotel projects in the area, concludes Aho.
Title of the project: Ruka – best in the world for families and the environment
Project description: The "World's Best for Families and the Environment" project is a continuation of Ruka's previous strategic project units. The development of Ruka is also part of the Ecosign Masterplan created in 2003, which this project implements. The project will implement Finland's first 8-person Express chairlift, create new memorable slope areas, especially with international customers in mind, and increase Ruka's snowmaking capacity by approx. 50% with environmentally friendly technology. The MastoExpress lift will be Finland's most efficient lift, with an hourly capacity of 4,000 skiers. The project increases Ruka's ski lift capacity by 15 percent and the number of slopes by 10 percent.
Information about the support funding authority: Co-funded by the European Union
Project duration: 31 October 2022–1 April 2024