Number one for freeriding
Ylläs is the number one for skiing and snowboarding on the slopes, but it also offers excellent off-piste trails.
Freeriding at the ski resort
Ylläs is a great place to experiment with freeriding, because the diverse and extensive selection of the fell includes many off-piste slopes that are not groomed after snowfall. Skiers and snowboarders can also enjoy the powder snow on several unmanaged areas between or in the immediate vicinity of the marked slopes at their own risk. In this case, no special equipment is needed because you can go uphill with the lifts. Of course, skinning is also allowed at Ylläs, as long as you follow the safety instructions. The recommended routes are marked on the slope map. The off-piste routes between the groomed slopes have a very low likelihood of avalanches. The only place where caution and discretion is required is on the steep walls that border the Varkaankuru base.
Ski Patrol Ylläs surveils the conditions of the off-piste slopes that are marked on the slope map. They are opened to freeriders when the snow situation and weather permit. However, the off-piste slopes are always in their natural state, which means that the users must be constantly aware of the changing circumstances, based on their own skills level.
When the snow situation is good, the off-piste slopes between the managed slopes and near the ski resort may also be used. However, these areas are not controlled, and skiers and snowboarders use them at their own risk. The fell is almost entirely covered with blockfield, and the thickness and strength of the snow layer can vary greatly at different times and in different parts of the terrain. For this reason, it is crucial to check the conditions before setting off.
The ski resort’s first aid services help in the case of an accidents, but bear in mind that normal accident insurance does not cover off-piste skiing and snowboarding, because freeriding is classified as a high-risk activity.
Freeriding on natural fells
For more experienced freeriders, the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park offers an endless selection of routes that are in their natural state, from gentle fell sides to extreme cliffs that make the hearts of even the most seasoned freeriders beat faster. However, please remember that if you intend to leave the ski resort area and ski in the park area, you must have sufficient skills and knowledge of avalanche safety matters.
Good advance preparation is of the utmost importance, including checking the day’s weather forecast and avalanche forecast. Freeriding becomes significantly less risky when one chooses the route carefully, taking into account the prevailing conditions. Avalanche rescue equipment that everyone should pack in their freeriding backpack include at least an avalanche beacon, probe and shovel. You should also know how to use this equipment.
Mastering these skills takes training, continuous practice and practical experience that can only be gained in the wild – all of which you can achieve at Ylläs!
The safest way to become familiar with the best off-piste areas is to participate in a guided off-piste tour. The guided tours are also an excellent opportunity to gain more experience and learn about ski touring in the guidance of an avalanche safety expert. Ylläs ski schools and Ski Patrol Ylläs arrange guided ski tours on the off-piste slopes near the Yllästunturi fell and on the natural fells of the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park. The professional guides know where to find the best powder snow and ensure that there is no avalanche hazard in the area where the group is touring.
More experienced backcountry skiers can plan several different route combinations in the extensive Ylläs area that covers seven fells. The furthest slopes are at a considerable distance from the villages of Äkäslompolo and Ylläsjärvi, which means that thorough advance planning and preparations are key. Click on the link below to see what you should at least take into account before your ski touring trip.
Premium off-piste equipment
Our ski rental shops have the best equipment for freeriding:
- Touring skis with rando bindings, shoes and ski poles
- Split snowboards
- Avalanche safety equipment and rescue kits
In addition to renting, you can also buy your own equipment at the ski shops. The shops have tested avalanche safety and backcountry equipment from leading manufacturers.
Ylläs uses the Recco avalanche location device. If the skier has Recco reflectors on their clothes or equipment, they can be found under the snow with the Recco device.
The first ski tourers climbed Ylläs decades before the first ski lifts were built, and we welcome everyone to continue this tradition of skiing at the fell. However, skinning differs from standard alpine skiing, and it is important that skinners take the following safety rules into account for their safety and the safety of others:
- Skinning is allowed outside of the slope area at all times when the natural snow conditions permit. Please note that it is prohibited to use the slope area outside of the opening hours because of maintenance operations. For example, it is almost impossible to see the wire of the snow cat in the dark
- The recommended skinning routes are marked on the slope map with a yellow dotted arrow line
- Remember that you skin at your own risk. Use a headtorch, if needed, and do not stop in poorly visible areas where someone coming from above might not see you
- We follow the safety instructions given by Tukes and SHKY and it is not allowed to skin on the slope area.
If necessary, you get more instructions and tips from our ski schools or Ski Patrol!