At the end of August, the first indoor skiing facility opened in Helsinki, the capital of Finland. With 7,000 cubic meters of snow covering 18,500 square meters, Ylläs-Halli offers conditions for a wide range of different winter sports activities such as biathlon, curling, ice skating and ice climbing. The main attraction, however, is the 1.2 km long cross-country skiing loop which follows variable terrain in winter surroundings.
The goal of Ylläs-Halli is not only to provide top athletes with excellent training and competition conditions but also to offer families and tourists a touch of the Finnish arctic regions another 1,000 km further north. To create a more genuine atmosphere and to make the experience more appealing, natural trees have been planted in the snow cover and walls are covered with big images of Finnish Lapland. There is also a special area where children can learn to ski.
Even in Finland, which has been a forerunner in the development of indoor facilities for cross-country skiing, this facility is unique as it is the first cross-country indoor arena in a metropolitan area easily accessible to a larger community. The population of Helsinki is 579,000 and The Greater Helsinki area contains 12 municipalities and has a population of over 1,300,000 – 25% of the total population of the country.
Yet another feature of this new attraction is the environmentally friendly profile. Ylläs-Halli uses both solar panels and wind power in order to minimize energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. In a year, a third of the consumed energy will be produced on-site.
Additional information can be found at http://www.yllas-halli.fi.