Ranua’s ski tracks invite you to enjoy the nature
Winter is approaching and now is the right time to start planning for the upcoming cross-country skiing season, among other things. Ranua, which often enjoys early first snow, is a great alternative for ski enthusiasts who are looking for a varied trail map for the beginning of winter. In this blog post, we go through the ski trails close to the center of the village of Ranua, both maintained by the municipality and managed by the help of the team.
Oravi cross-country ski tracks
The Oravi ski trails in the center of the village of Ranua are probably the best known of the Ranua ski tracks. As the complex forming a rather diverse ski tracks network is maintained by the municipality of Ranua, the tracks are maintained even daily, if required.
The Oravi ski tracks are usually also the first of the Ranua trails to be maintained. The trail network is located on the Ranua jogging path, which in general means that on a fairly flat and well-trampled trail base, not much snow is necessarily needed to create the trails. Trails of various lengths are available from one kilometer to the iconic ten kilometer round, which, however, due to its location, opens up a little later than other options. The same applies to the approximately 3 km long connecting track between Ranua Zoo and Oravi. Both the ten kilometer loop and the connecting trail between Oravi and the Wildlife Park pass largely through the forest and the swampy terrain, which poses its own challenges to the maintenance of the trails in the form of both the freezing of the ground and the amount of snow needed.
The longest route open from early winter is Oravi’s five kilometer, which is already quite good one in terms of challenge. Steep and long ascents and descents can be found along the loop and there are relatively few flat terrain sections. This requires the skier to be both in reasonable basic condition and also have the patience to find the right pace for her/himself.
Today, Oravi’s ski trails are fully illuminated, with the exception of the ten trails, which deviate from the rest of the route. The maintaining side works great from the municipality part and our cross-country trails are often described as railways by our local skiers.
Ranua Zoo illuminated ski tracks and Kotaoja lap
The illuminated ski trail of Ranua Zoo is located, as the name implies, in the immediate vicinity of the wildlife park, more specifically on the nature trail “behind” the zoo. In practice, this route can be reached in three different ways: the starting point can be a direct route to the ski trail next to the zoo’s caravan park, a spread on Heinisuo road, which usually has space for 1-2 cars, or passing through Oravi, which takes about three kilometers.
The zoo’s ski trail is about 3.5 kilometers long and includes a few steeper down and uphills. It is also worth noting that there are some foreign tourists during the winter, who may not be fully aware of the direction of the trail or that the route is intended specifically for cross-country skiing. Everyone is of course welcome on the trails, but on this route it is still worth paying special attention to the different levels of skiers on the trail.
The zoo’s ski trail is also a good option for cross-country skiing trips. On the route you will find both Repolampi lean-on and hut, both of which have the possibility for fire making. However, it is a good idea to carry your own firewood, as there is usually little if any logs supplied by the municipality in the sheds. It is also possible to buy firewood at the reception of the holiday village Gulo Gulo, which can be found in the zoo.
There is also an additional cross-country ski track called the Kotaoja lap, which is about 3.2 kilometers long. On this rather varied section you will find one very fast downhill as well as a very steep and long wall ascent, which already requires a relatively large amount of technical know-how as well as physical fitness. The Kotaoja lap is not as actively maintained as other routes by the municipality, and in some winters this extra lap has not been opened at all.
Lake Ranua classic ski tracks
Ranuanjärvi is circled by a classic style cross-country ski trail maintained by volunteers during winter. This cross-country ski track is very easily accessible, for example, from the center of the village. Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos beach, Ikonen Park on the opposite shore and Multilahti, better known as a public swimming beach.
The trail, which runs along the shorelines of the lake, is about 15 km long in total. Due to the terrain, the trail on the lake is easy for skiers of all levels, as the terrain is flat and therefore easy to navigate. It should be noted, however, that open terrain is very susceptible to various weather phenomena. For example, wind gusts and snowstorms are felt in the lake in a completely different way than on the ski slopes maintained mainly by the municipality of Ranua, which run mainly in the middle of the forest. Another noteworthy thing is that because the maintenance and upkeep of the track is done with the help of support forces, the trail may not be run at certain intervals or every time new snow has fallen.
Skiing is at its best at Lake Ranuanjärvi in spring time, when it is nice to enjoy the already warming rays of the sun on the lake while skiing in a relaxing tempo. Along the way on the lake, it is possible to stop for ice fishing or make a fire at the lean-on which is located along the route.
Stay and exercise next to the beautiful nature
Although Ranua is strongly known as a tourist destination, nature is close and present in the daily life of the place. When staying at Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos, the ski slopes of Ranua are always within a very short distance. If you wish, you can even practice winter activities directly from the shore of our accommodation, as the classic ski trail around Ranuanjärvi runs right next to our shore. If you are looking for accommodation for the duration of your skiing holiday, you can explore our options from this link.
Nature is also present other than for distances, because during the ski run you can very well see e.g. animals that are an integral part of Lapland’s nature, such as reindeer, elk, foxes and hares. A skier with very good luck can spot even a lynx along the ski trails in the middle of untouched nature. In the evening, accompanied by a skier, magnificent northern lights can shine in the sky, which can be seen throughout the village of Ranua. Unlike many large ski resorts, Ranua practically always offers a completely different and more authentic nature experience in your own peace.
Maintenance of the ski tracks
The ski trails maintained by the municipality of Ranua are serviced on weekdays if there is more than 3 cm of snow on the trail. The maintenance work on the trails starts as a rule by 9 am during the week and the trails have been renovated as a rule by 13.00. However, due to weather conditions, changes in schedules are possible. On weekends, the ski trails are opened once during the weekend if there has been more than 3 cm of snow. Weekend on-call time ends at the end of March.
The ski season can start in Ranua even at the end of October and possibly end only in the first half of May. However, the variation between years is clear and it is impossible to give precise time limits for the duration of the ski season.
Check the ski track maps of Ranua
Text: Tuomas Haapala
Images: Tuomas Haapala & Jari Romppainen
Source: Ranua Municipality website & Ladulle.fi