You might have heard that Finns love all types of skiing; downhill, cross country, slalom, whatever… Still the cross-country version is probably the most popular form of sport and excersise. Finnish skiers have enjoyed quite a bit of success in international competitions and skiing is gaining popularity as a recreational activity and a form of staying in shape.
However, contrary to some stereotypes, at least southern Finland does not get that much snow. A bit like Forrest Gump says in the movie: it´s like a box of chocolates, you never know what you´re gonna get. I mean the Finnish winter. It might be snowing or raining or just freezing. Usually all three options take turns throughout the winter, so when you get natural snow, it might be gone in a week. And come back. And be gone.
So, if it was for the natural snow, there wouldn´t be much skiing going on in the southern Finland. Where most of the people live. So creating artificial snow is a way to go for cities that want to offer these skiing tracks and ski centers (for downhill version of the sport) that rely on commercial success.
For example here, in this picture, is a skiing track in Espoo, about 30 min drive from downtown Helsinki. In Espoo the city officials have chosen to pump taxpayers money into this field and surrounding forrest in form of artificial snow. They have created many kilometers of ski track, only a small piece being visible in this picture. This place is super popular; on a nice and sunny winter day these tracks resemble a highway on tuesday morning rather than a place for relaxing exsercise.
But if you think about it, these Finnish ski tracks are maybe a step above the central European dryslopes in realness of the sport, and almost like an outdoor version of those Middle Eastern indoor snow slopes.
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This is the Oittaa ski track location in Espoo, Finland