Riksgränsen in the Swedish Arctic Circle, the only ski area in the world to have kept operating through the global pandemic, has confirmed it will re-open at the end of June for its traditional ‘midsummer’ long-weekend skiing and snowboarding festival.
The resort, which has an unusual ski season running from early March to late May each winter (this year its closes on Sunday 24th May), decided to keep operating when most other Swedish ski areas closed in April. It decided that as I already had an on-site medical team and clinic, and a big drop in visitor numbers, it could continue to operate with pandemic-prevention measures in place.
However it did have to make its biggest event of the season, the Scandinavian Big Mountain Championships which were due to have taken place this weekend, an online video submission competition instead of a live event.
It also cancelled one of its world-famous attractions, skiing under the midnight sun between midnight and 1am in May, as part of the measures to minimise risk from the virus.
However the itinerary for the Midsummer Opening from Tuesday 18th to Sunday 21st June will see skiing and boarding under the midnight sun on the Thursday and Friday evenings.
Riksgränsen’s midsummer opening has not happened on some occasions in recent years due to inadequate snow cover, but that seems to be unlikely to be issue this year. The resort reported its deepest base for more than 20 years when it opened in early March and spring snowstorms have only increased the depth over the past three months, now standing at 5.4 metres (18 feet) with more fresh snowfall at the weekend.
The event normally sells out well in advance but this year the resort is offering a discount for anyone able to book to come this year. It is usually an international affair but with the pandemic it is looking like predominantly Swedes only for 2020.