Ski center Ruka october

Rukakeskus Introduction

Rukakeskus - the market leader in Finland 

The Rukakeskus Group is one of Finland's leading tourism companies and the market leader in the ski resort industry. We operate in continuously developing year-round tourist centers in Ruka and Pyhä.

Our core competencies include slope operations, accommodation services, and the construction of holiday homes. In addition to the Ruka and Pyhä ski resorts, the Rukakeskus Group also includes the hotel and apartment chain Ski-Inn Hotels & Apartments Oy, which operates in both mountain areas.

We have been responsible for the slope operations in Ruka since 1973 and in Pyhä since 1987. Together with Pyhätunturi, Rukakeskus holds a market-leading position in the ski resort industry, accounting for over 20% of ski lift ticket sales.

Ruka's story as a ski resort dates back to 1954, when the first slope opened. The first big step in Ruka's development was in 1971 when Juhani “Jussi” Aho, a doctor from Espoo known as a great man of Ruka and entrepreneurial legend, became the main owner of Rukakeskus Oy. After the generation change in 1999, Jussi's children Kari-Jussi Aho, Miia Porkkala, Annakaija Lappalainen, Antti Aho, and Ville Aho are the company owners. 

Rukakeskus has a turnover of approximately EUR 35 million and employs about 170 people. In 2019, Ruka was chosen as the Ski Resort of the Year, and Rukakeskus was awarded the National Entrepreneur Award. 

At the heart of everything our company does is skiing. We are passionate about skiing, the owners included, and it can be noticed that we have excellent skiing conditions in Ruka. Our core competence is slope business, but we also operate accommodation, rental, and store operations in Ruka and Pyhä. In addition to the ski resort, our services at Ruka include the rental shops of Piste, Vuosselinportti, and Valley, as well as the RukaStore and Ruka Brand Village sports equipment stores. We are also responsible for the rental of Ski-Inn apartments and hotels.

Pioneer in sustainable ski resort operations 

Responsible and long-term operations are the core values of our family business, that have guided Ruka's development since the time of Jussi Aho in the 1970s. We have been pioneers in responsible ski resort operations and tourism since 2008, when we introduced our environmental program. Today, Ruka and Pyhä ski resorts and Ski-Inn accommodations are carbon-neutral, and in addition to environmental issues, our responsibility program also covers social responsibility and financial responsibility. The official domicile of Rukakeskus is Kuusamo, and we pay our taxes to Finland.

read more on our responsibility program  

Rukakeskus is part of the Aho Group 

Aho Group is a Finnish family business operating in the tourism and healthcare industries. In addition to the Ruka and Pyhä ski resorts, the companies owned by Aho Group include Aava, Pikkujätti, and the associated company Docrates, which all provide health services. Ville Aho is the Chairman of the Board of Aho Group. The management and administration of the companies operate in Espoo.

Rukakeskus Oy and Pyhätunturi Oy form the ski resort corporation, whose managing director is Antti Kärävä. Aho Group also includes Ski-Inn Hotels & Apartments Oy, responsible for renting privately owned Ski-Inn apartments in Ruka and Pyhä, the central booking office Pyhä Booking Oy, acting as a central booking office for holiday homes in the Pyhä area, and Hotelli Pyhätunturi Oy, responsible for hotel business in Pyhä ski resort.

The family's goal is to continue the significant development of the companies on the path indicated by their father and to take the corporation to the third generation in the future, yet remain a family business.

Read more on the aho group


Sustainable development of the tourist area in accordance with Ruka MasterPlan

We are proud of our long-term development work, which ensures that customers arriving in Ruka have a more diverse range of services to choose from than ever before, and our facilities on the slopes are excellent due to large investments.

2000 we launched the Ruka MasterPlan, created by Ecosign Mountain Planners. We aim to develop Ruka as a year-round, international ski resort while considering the surrounding nature and sustainable development. At the heart of the plan were comfortable pedestrian villages, easy access to services without a car, and so-called hot ski-in / ski-out beds, which aimed to maximize the use of accommodation services instead of having empty holiday homes for most of the year. 

According to the plan, Ruka has completed the Ruka pedestrian village, large investments in the lifts, major development projects on the slopes (Freestyle training center, FIS slope, Rosa & Rudolf Family Park, new Superpipe, and numerous other slope renovations), and most recently the RukaValley pedestrian village and construction of the Village-2-Valley scenic gondola. In addition, we have already realized more than 2,000 beds in Ruka with the Ski-Inn concept.

Winter will always be our most important season and will bring the most profit. In addition, we will put a stronger emphasis on our year-round activities and develop our summer experiences. Summer season offers us great opportunities, and its growth is particularly important to create all-year-round jobs. Our biggest renovation, is the development of Ruka Bike Park, a summer center for downhill and mountain biking. We have offered our rental companies a wide range of bikes and equipment suitable for downhill and mountain biking to suit the needs of the whole family.

Our goal is to be the best ski resort for families

Our company's good economy ensures that we can boldly develop our services and offer jobs also in the future. Our most challenging goal is to be the world's best ski resort in the world for families. We also want to be the best place to try downhill skiing for the first time.

We want to be the most snow-safe resort in Europe. In Ruka, we can ski more than 200 days a year, more than any other ski resort outside the glacier areas in the world. We want to maintain this position - our strong snow-making expertise ensures that Ruka will be the place for Coordinates of Snow in the future, too.

Finland will always be our most important market, and Finnish families will be our most important customers. We want to be Finland's strongest ski resort brand, which always comes to mind when customers think of a ski resort holiday in Finland.

Ruka strategy plan

Ruka's strategy is in the form of a mountain map in 2015, and it has directed our development towards Finland's most popular ski resort. The strategy map was last updated in the summer of 2020.

Rukan strategiakartta


History in brief

The idea of ​​utilizing Ruka for winter tourism had already arisen in the 1930s when a new hobby called “downhill curve skiing” was brought to Finland from Canada. Despite the name of the sport, the only curves on the unexcavated forest slopes were the natural obstacles that fell ahead when the skier tried to avoid them. After opening the first slope in 1954 and specifically after constructing the first lift in 1957, downhill skiing was already becoming a hobby on a larger scale. Gradually, as some cottages were built, a second lift saw daylight, the first guesthouse was built on the slopes, the development of Ruka really started. See the list below for the most important years in Ruka's development.

1950–1969 – the story of the ski resort begins

1954 the first slope, the current front slope is built

1957 the first ski lift is built 

1962 establishment of Rukatunturi Oy and building of ”Kaltiomaja” to serve as the first place of accommodation and restaurant

1970–1989 – big steps conducted by Juhani Aho

1970 Building of chair lift to the Front Slopes 

1971 Juhani Aho becomes the main owner of Rukatunturi Oy 

1974 Ruka Development plan published, building of cottages to Kelokaltiokylä, flights to Kuusamo begin 

1977 Lifts and slopes to Pessari. Rantasipi Oy buys Rukahovi 

1979 new lifts to Vuosseli and Saarua

1980 Lifts Kulmahissi, Ahonlaita and Children's lifts 

1982 Slopes Kururinne and “East Express Train” platter lift, Keloruka cottages completed in 81-82 

1983 Common marketing of Ruka started, Ruka! logo is created, and the summer sled trail is completed

1984 Completion of lifts and slopes Kelo and Café Kelo 

1987 Chair lifts for 4 persons at Ski Bistro and Vuosseli, establishment of Rukapalvelu 

1988 Lifts and slopes of Masto. Rukaklubi opens in spring -89 

1990–2009 – MasterPlan and Ruka for a new millennium

1990 Chair lifts of Saarua and Kuru 

1996 Rental Shop Vuosselinportti I 

1998 Opening of Royal Ruka 

2000 Ecosign MasterPlan of Ruka: the overall planning of the area begins with the aim of developing Ruka into a year-round, international tourist center 

Ruka for a new millennium: 

Central building Piste: ticket service facilities, Restaurant Piste, Ruka ProShop and RukaRental

- Rukahovi (105 new rooms, Restaurant Kaltiokivi)

- OmenaHotel (100 new apartments)

2002-03 Freestyle training center and Battery Run are built, Ruka-Kuusamo Tourist Association is established, Inghams starts British charters to Ruka

2003-04 Super Pipe to be built in Vuosseli, Rantasipi Ruka Conference Center to be built next to Rukahovi

2004-05 Shopping center Kumpare, RukaSuites apartments, Vuosselinportti II rental company and Hillside are completed

2005 Ruka hosts the first Freestyle World Championships

2005-06 VuosseliExpress (originally called RukaExpress) 6-persons chairlift is completed, Saarua and Front slopes 4-persons chairlifts are built, Phase II of RukaSuites begins

2006-07 Construction of MastonAitio and Aurinkorinne apartments, RukaTonttu apartments, Masto children's slope

2007-08 Construction of the pedestrian village started, parking hall completed in March 2008, Rudolf's adventure route to Vuosseli completed

2009 Hotel RukaVillage pahase A completed, opening of restaurant Colorado 

2010–2022 –new RukaValley and the Village-2-Valley scenic gondola

2010 The new FIS slope is completed. RukaVillage B&C stage (RukaStore, Classic Pizza, Alphut, Twin Peak)

2011 New SuperPipe to Vuosseli, widening and renovation of the Talvijärvi slope. RukaTonttu is the newest Ski-Inn destination. The Ski Bistro was destroyed in a fire in February 2011

2012 Restaurant Kuksa, SkiChalets, and Tykky Tower in the village of Ruka. A new easy route from the top to the village and Rosa & Rudolf Kid’s Club to Vuosseli

2013 Ville Aho started as CEO in October, a new organization to the company. Ruka Dayspa and Intersport start operations in the village. Frisbee golf and mini golf in the village of Ruka

2014 Ruka is chosen as the Ski Resort of the Year 2014! Tunturimax Oy becomes a restaurant company: Piste is being renovated, Ski Bistro and Stefans Steakhouse open

2015 Ruka is chosen as the ski resort of the year in Finland for the third time at the World Ski Awards gala in Kitzbühel, Austria

2016 Ruka's MasterPlan development plan 2017–2027 is announced: the goal is a new eastern village Ruka, a gondola connecting the two villages, and new lifts and slopes to Saarua and Front Slopes

2017 The SaaruaExpress chair lift and Ruka Park Club, the renovated Rosa & Rudolf Family Park with tubing areas are completed. Direct flights start from Frankfurt and Zurich

2018 Village-2-Valley Scenic Gondola and VillageExpress are completed. Construction of the Ski-Inn Hotel RukaValley begins. A new ski charter will start from Birmingham

2019 Ski-Inn Hotel RukaValley, Camp Kitchen & Bar, and Valley rental shop are completed. The realization of the new Ruka Valley area begins. New caravan park for Masto. The number of scenic gondolas doubled, and the VillageExpress capacity increased to 3,000 people per hour. Ruka is chosen as the Ski Resort of the Year

2020 Ruka becomes the market leader after Levi. Due to Korona, the season ends on March 23, but the summer season will be a record. Construction of Ruka Bike Park begins

2021 Ruka's record season depends on domestic customers. The summer is also record-breaking, with new products such as Zipline, water park and downhill trails in Ruka Bike Park

2022 Ruka launches a customer loyalty program. Ruka Bike Park is expanding, and new downhill trails are opening on Masto. The Vuosseli area is being renovated; Mini Ruka, Ruka Park Junior, and a new anchor lift will open in December. Ruka is awarding the first junior scholarships

2023 – Renovation of the Masto slope area

2023 Ville Aho takes over as the Chairman of the Board and Antti Kärävä steps into the CEO role. The Harmaa Rinne Festival is held for the first time in March. The Midsummer Solstice Festival gains international attention. Ruka Bike Park wins the Bike Park of the Year award, and new trails are being built in the Mini Ruka area. A login service targeted at loyal customers is launched. A massive renovation of the Masto slope area is underway; a new slope area and the MastoExpress chairlift will open in December

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