Although most ski areas posted big loses during the past season, due to enforced closure or enforced limited operations by their governments, some managed to actually improve their business.
One of those is Pyhä Ski resort in Lapland, Finland which has posted an increase in ski days of 25% compared to the previous full season (2018-2019) and almost 50% compared to last season (2019-2020) which ended early with the first lockdown.
This good news has created a need for additional accommodation capacity at the resort are Pyhä has announced it is embarking on the €10m “Kultakero project” to add accommodation and spending around €5m more on a new chairlift, the new PohjoisExpress.
Described by resort manager Ville Aho as, “the most awaited chairlift in Finland” the new lift will transport 2,400 skiers per hour to the top of the fell in under five minutes. That’s twice the number of skiers in half the time that it took the current T-bar lift. In the spirit of Pyhä’s environmental sustainability programme, the lift will be bought second-hand from Austria and will undergo basic renovation before being brought into use. Construction of the new lift will begin this month as soon as the snow melts.
“This must be the most eagerly awaited ski lift in the country. We have had so many requests for a fast chairlift to the north slopes, which is why it is so fantastic to be able to reveal that Pyhä’s visitors’ wishes have been heard, and the first skiers will be able to enjoy the new Express lift at Christmas 2021,” Ville Aho said.
The first phase of the Kultakero project will see the construction of Kultakero 1, which will bring an additional 200 beds to Pyhä. The hotel is planned to open for Christmas 2022 and will offer 28 luxury hotel rooms and 14 apartments with scenic views and private outdoor jacuzzis. The apartments will be sold to private owners in line with the Ski-Inn ownership model.
“The demand for apartments has exceeded all our expectations, as all of them have already been reserved. Pyhä is currently in high demand and is attracting new visitors to the resort,” adds Ville Aho.
Kultakero 1 will also house 400 square meters of brand-new equipment rental and retail space.
Despite the new development, the company which owns the resort, as well as nearby Ruka, insists they plan to maintain what’s special about Pyhä, by ensuring there is, “…the right number of new projects, but not too many.”
“Preserving the old is equally important as building the new when it comes to construction projects at the resort. The area’s accommodation capacity will remain moderate in relation to lift capacity despite these new developments. Avoiding congestion is a genuine competitive advantage for us,” Mr Aho explained.
The development of the Pyhä resort village is set to continue in summer of 2022 with the construction 40 hotel rooms on a new floor of the hotel. The second phase of the Kultakero project, which will extend construction to the north of the village next to the ski slopes, will begin once the new hotel floor has been built.
The third phase of the popular Pyhälinna Ski-Inn Chalet will begin in summer of 2021. An investment of over 2 million euros will bring four first-class log cabins and 40 new beds to the heart of the resort.
The objective is for the construction of Pyhä resort village to be fully completed by the year 2024.