Aspen, Vail, and Breckenridge are well-and-good winter vacations, but the Finnish really know how to ski resort. (Yes, it’s a verb.) In the upper tundra of Lapland, the northernmost region of Finland, a futuristic resort with ski slopes on its rooftops is under construction
The plan for Koutalaki Ski Village — conceptualized by BIG Architects of Levi, Finland — is to build approximately 500 different sized “accommodation units,” from one-bedroom apartments to luxury villas. A string of unrivaled amenities, including a spa and a market square, will create a mountaintop village for international visitors. Every service will be at your fingertips — including ski runs.
Blending architecture with landscape and erasing the divide between your room and the runs, Koutalaki will feature four arched ski “slopes” that spiral together into one whirl, promoting a meetup in the center of the “Ski Village.” Additional ski excursions will lead to the outlying forest and winding pathways down the mountain.
“The four buildings wrap around the central square to form a public pocket sheltered from the wind, yet open and inviting to the surrounding landscape,” says the firm. “The gentle curves of the undulating roofs create a careful continuity of the natural landscape while lending the whole village the unique character of an architecture of ski slopes — an inhabited mountaintop.”
Indeed, the latest renderings of Koutalaki provoke the sensation of living like the Norse gods. The rooftop runs will also brilliantly take advantage of and embrace the snowy landscape as opposed to finding ways to shovel it out. After all, snow is at the heart of Koutalaki — its design and allure for visiting.
“We want to create a village that utilizes the full potential of snow,” says BIG Architects. “When it is caught on the façade, the window frames become a living part of the landscape, adapting to changes in weather.”
In the summer months, the snow will melt and give way to green rooftop knolls for hikers and pedestrians. However, for the rest of the year, expect snow to be aplenty. Once Koutalaki is completed, “it will become an international destination inspired by the local nature, changing seasons. and cultural values of the area,” says the team. “The new resort will be a true landmark for tourism increasing the international and national appeal of Levi and the whole Lapland region.”
In fact, Levi is the largest ski resort town in the entire country and well-known for its access to some of the best snow in the world — a front-row seat to the Northern Lights. The Koutalaki Ski Village is being built on top of a Levi mountain, overlooking the Sirkka Village. Currently, Hotel Levi Panorama and Congress Center Levi Summit are already in operation in the area — but do they have ski runs on their roofs? Didn’t think so.
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