Skiing in Ylläs, where it all started...
The first tourists made their way to Ylläs in the 1930’s, as skiing became an increasingly ‘fashionable’ hobby amongst the wealthy. Once Ylläs had been discovered, it was clear that Ylläs’ seven fells and their beauty wouldn’t remain a secret for long.
For the first decade of tourists coming to Ylläs, locals opened their homes offering the best hospitality. The high level of hospitality in Ylläs that the first tourists to the area experienced is something that has been continued throughout the history. As the number of visitors grew, the idea of rental accommodation was introduced in 1936.
Before there were any ski lifts, the determined set off on a 5km trip up the slopes on cross country skis, literally meaning if they wanted to ski down the slopes they had ski up first! However that was set to change in 1957 when the first ‘lift’ came to Ylläs, a drag lift was fashioned from a rope and was powered by VW engines. Traces of the first lift can still be seen today, next to the ‘Kuru’ lift which now connects the two sides of the fell.
In 1967 things started to advance quicker as technology was evolving, around the same time ‘Yllästunturi ltd’ started up business and the first electronic lift was installed.
A significant development of the 70’s was the arrival of what is now known as the Äkäs Hotel, which has provided many guests with comfy accommodation over the years.
The 80’s is marked in Ylläs’ history as a time of fast development. The south side of the fell, now known as Sport Resort Ylläs, started taking steps in development. New ski areas and lifts were being constructed at a speedy rate.
The big changes and developments didn’t go unnoticed; Ylläs was seeing a dramatic increase in the number of tourists it was attracting. The number of tourists visiting Ylläs was also helped by the improvement of transport links to the area. Finnair started operating Kittilä airport and VR started the first passenger train to Kolari, making Ylläs a lot more accessible.
The 90’s saw the recession and it hit Ylläs hard, but as always the small villages kept their fighting spirits and survived it.
As the new millennium approached so did large scale investment. The two previously un-connected villages of Äkäslompolo and Ylläsjärvi were connected by a new road, aptly named ‘The Scenic Route’ enabling moving around the area much easier. The connection of the two villages saw business opportunities increase hugely, encouraging further investment in 2006, this was on a much larger scale than ever before of around 20 million Euros . As a result of investment, Ylläs welcomed more accommodation opportunities, more slopes and more lifts, Including Ylläs’ first gondola lift which was opened in 2008.
Over the years Ylläs has developed into an international tourist centre, attracting tourists from all around the world throughout the year.
Despite its success, Ylläs has remained true to its routes, the beauty and tranquility of the traditional Lappish villages remain but there is also the added extra of a very successful, unpretentious ski resort.
Ylläs moto – Ylläs number 1