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On Kontiolahti's first-snow slope, shifts are also reserved for dog skiing. Photo: Heikki Sulander.


The operation of Kontiolahti's first snow slope will continue in the 2024–25 season with new arrangements

The municipality of Kontiolahti and Kontiolahti Outdoor agreed on a new division of responsibilities, which will secure the operation of Kontiolahti's first snow slope not only for the opening of the World Cup, but also for fitness enthusiasts.

The municipality of Kontiolahti and Kontiolahti Outdoor are redistributing their responsibilities in the arrangements for the opening event of the 2024–25 first snow race and the World Cup season.

"In the future, the municipality will be responsible for making snow and spreading it. For this purpose, the municipality buys the snowmaking equipment in use from Kontiolahti Outdoor", says municipal manager Jari Tuononen.

The World Cup in focus

The finances of Kontiolahti Outdoor, which until now was responsible for making Kontiolahti's first snow slope, have been significantly affected by whether the snow has been able to be sold for World Cup events.

With the unexpected changes caused by the Corona period, it has also happened that the costs of making snow have been scheduled for one year, but the income brought by the event has not been paid until the following year. The timing of income and expenses for different financial periods has shaken the railway company's coffers.

The change being made now will bring stability to the first snow slope.

"We have strived for operations where the costs of snowmaking are covered by fees collected from events and skiing and biathlon enthusiasts. The income from the snowing of the World Cup events has supported the operation, and the World Cup Euros have made it possible for the first snow slope to be used by enthusiasts as well," says Kontiolahti Outdoor CEO Kimmo Turunen.

Regional competition has also had an effect.

"25 kilometers away, Pärnävaara's first snow slope now operates, the funding of which has been collected through donations, and the enthusiast has not had to pay for skiing. The possibility of free skiing clearly eats into our customer flow, and making snow only as a business for the current number of paying customers is not realistic," says Turunen.

Part of the municipality's economic policy

The matter was discussed in the Kontiolahti municipal council on Monday, October 30, in connection with the second interim report of 2023.

"Biathlon and first snow slopes have been Kontiolahti's business policy for years, in the same way that tourism services are the business policy of municipalities in Lapland. With the changes we're making now, we want to ensure an important local exercise venue and snowmaking services for users of the track other than World Cup events," says Jari Tuononen.

When does the ski season open in the fall and will the trail fees stay the same as they are now? These will be evaluated in connection with the municipality's normal budget process, says Tuononen.

"Determining the opening date of the ski season in advance would serve season ticket buyers, who benefit from knowing the opening date well in advance. On the other hand, opening the track according to the weather and not the calendar would be more profitable in terms of track maintenance."

Year-round operation

Kontiolahti Outdoor is the marketing name of Joensuu Seudun Jäähdytetty Latu Oy. The company's operations started in 2004. At that time, the company's operations were focused only on making tracks for cross-country skiing and biathlon.

In the 2020s, the company has developed its operations to year-round and reduced the emphasis on the snow business. The company produces exercise-oriented program services for, for example, tyhy groups, rents exercise and outdoor equipment and, as the latest opening, serves tourists at the Kiviniemi farm next to Koli National Park.

"We offered program services first in Kontiolahti and then in the entire Joensuu region. Now we have expanded the production of program services to, for example, Koli and Nurme. When the municipality is responsible for the first snowfall in the future, Kontiolahti Outdoor will focus on developing program services and rental activities at the biathlon stadium, Kiviniemi and around the province," says Kimmo Turunen.


  • Ensilumenlatu in connection with the Kontiolahti Biathlon Stadium.
  • In the years 2004-2023, Joensuun Seudun Jäähdytetty Latu Oy (marketing name Kontiolahti Outdoor) has been responsible for snowing the track, which is owned by Kontiolahti Urheilijat ry with 86 percent and Kontiolahti municipality with 14 percent.
  • Opened in early October in recent years. In autumn 2023, the opening date was 21 October 2023.
  • Collected income from World Cup events and single tickets sold to skiers as well as business and season passes. In autumn 2023, the price of a day ticket for adults is 15 euros and for senior citizens and students 10 euros. There is no charge for children 12 years old and younger.