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Cooled Track and Ski Tunnel Skiing
By:  Craig Storey   (2004/11/23)

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Looking for somewhere to ski? Sometimes it feels like snow will never come. Especially true when you have already had 4 days of near perfect mid-winter skiing and then returned to roller skiing only to have the roads ice up and be forced to run day in and day out. In a few more days the anticipation will get to me and I'll go a little crazy and start searching out small patches of snow in remote locations. Then I get to thinking we build arenas to play hockey in during the summer, why not ski facilities? They do it in other places! In some parts of Scandinavia good quality snow is now such a rarity and the skiers so fanatic that a few solutions have been constructed.

  • Ski tunnels: Underground cooled tunnels with man-made snow for year round skiing.
  • Cooled ski tracks: Outdoor ski trails with refrigerated ground to allow real and man-made snow to last year-round.

Vuokatti, Finland was first in the place in the world to build a ski tunnel, the DNA Ski Tunnel. For $250 euro membership you get year-round cross country skiing. The tunnel was a big hit and has served as a summer training destination for many national teams as well as a large selection of Scandinavian skiers. It was so sucessful that Finland now has several ski tunnels like the newer Kymppi Arena.

The Finns are also leading the race in a new category of cross-country ski facility. They have just opened the first cooled ski track this month: Cooled Ski Track. Pretty impressive to look at the pictures of skiers on a snow with green vegetation all around.

Not to be outdone other countries are getting into the artificial skiing craze. Sweden will get its first in two years in the town of Torsby: Torsby Ski Tunnel. Germany’s first tunnel will be built in Oberhof and is projected to cost roughly 20 million Euros.

Summer skiing in Norway isn't limited either, althought it's mostly all-natural skiing on glaciers: Folgefonn summer ski centre, Fagrestryn, Stryn Summer skiing, Sognefjellet.

A few years ago there was a commitee in the Minneapolis area devoted to creating a ski tunnel. The website www.xcskitunnel.com is no longer active and currently redirects traffic to the Finnish ski tunnel.

There has also been talk of a ski tunnel in the Sudbury area. Land was offered free of charge if it was used to build a ski tunnel, but no definitive plans or construction yet.

Looks like North America isn't yet ready for such extreme solutions yet. Stay tuned for the "Great North American ski tunnel building race".

 
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