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The mascot of the Biathlon World Cup, Nelly, invites you to end the cross-country skiing season at the Kontiolahti biathlon stadium, even in May Day outfits.


The long cross-country season ends on May Day - the record skier has 12,500 kilometers on the meter

The specialty of the ski season was the working communities spending their recreation days on the slopes. New family-friendly pricing and equipment development for the first ski season brought new skiers to the slopes.

The cross-country ski trails of the Kontiolahti municipality in North Karelia will be renovated until May Day. The season, which started in mid-October, will be remembered by track custodians as excellent.

“We have received a lot of positive feedback from skiers about the maintenance of the slopes. After all, this is a bit of a matter of honor, where the conditions have been in good condition for the longest time," says Kontiolahti municipality's sports venue master Harri Lehikoinen.

The long season drove many enthusiasts to set records. The wildest reading is collected by 73-year-old Joensuu native Pertti Jalkanen. He has 12,500 kilometers.

More skiers than before

Kimmo Turunen, CEO of Kontiolahti Outdoor, which is responsible for snowing the slopes of the Kontiolahti biathlon stadium, says that the number of skiers continued to grow.

"In October-November, the weather was not favorable, but despite that, there were more skiers per day than before. After the frost period in December, the conditions became excellent, severe frosts were avoided and spring was favorable for the preservation of snow", Turunen sums up the 6.5-month long season.

The number of skiers was also affected by the pricing of the first snow season. Simpler and more family-friendly pricing was tried in Kontiolahti.

"The experiences were good. We will continue with the same model next fall", says Turunen.  

The specialty of the season was the tyhy groups of work communities.

“You could see groups of up to 10-15 people on the slopes having a day of recreation. The background of the phenomenon was the general growing interest in cross-country skiing and easier-to-use skiing equipment."

On the May Day weekend, mead and donuts at the farm cafe

In Kontiolahti, the sale of season tickets for next autumn's first snow slope has already opened. The growing popularity of cross-country skiing is also indicated by the fact that more season tickets were sold for the last season than ever before.

"About a third buys a season ticket right in May, when the price is at its cheapest. During the summer, the prices rise step by step until the end of the month until the turn of September and October," says Turunen.

This season, Kontiolahti's slopes will be serviced for the last time on May Day. In honor of May Day, the stadium's cafeteria will move to the side of the track for the weekend.

"With night frosts, the tracks can be maintained in good condition. Donuts, mead and grilled sausage are available from the pop-up street cafe from nine in the morning."