Amazing, fantastic holiday for the whole family if you enjoy skiing but are a beginner/intermediate skier with a little something for advanced skiers. Lovely kids area for the absolute beginner and a very well-staffed ski-school and rental facility on either side of the mountain. We will be definitely be going back!
Went with the family to Ruka over the Finnish winter holidays from 19 Feb 2021 to 26 Feb 2021. The best is to fly into Kuusamo, where an airport bus is waiting to take you to Ruka. Bus ticket prices start at €8 p/p. No stress, very easy. We arrived the Friday morning and had the mountains nearly to ourselves till Monday afternoon. Not sure if it is because the Finns chose to drive up or what, but it got jam-packed from Monday onwards. Not surprising, though, during this Covid time, it probably was not as busy as it can get. I would recommend, if possible, try and visit outside of the silly season. (Better accommodation prices too)
Apart from that, a very nicely sorted out little ski resort. It is quite small (when compared to the French Alps) but big for Finland. Word of warning, it can get freezing, so pack super warm! We enjoyed an average temperature of minus 20 degrees celsius for the week. That said, we also enjoyed 4 blue sky days out of 7, skied with lovely views of Lapland as far as the eyes can see. A lovely feature is that all the pistes have nighttime floodlighting which light the runs as if it were a blue sky day. Very Cool! Skiing enthusiasts can enjoy a full 10 hour ski day plus 1 hour for lunch (8:00 to 19:00 over winter holiday but otherwise 9:30 to 19:00).
A couple of nicely groomed black runs keep the advanced skiers happy for the week with lots of rest and bar areas (even with the Covid restrictions) at the bottom of every major slope.
Hotel accommodation is aplenty. We stayed at the Scandic Hotel, situated on the piste and a stone's throw from the gondola. Nice hotel and exactly what one has come to expect from Scandic for those who regularly frequent. The break buffet is a bonus to carbo-load yourself and the kids before the long day ski. However, there are many apartments available that are more luxurious if you prefer the self-catering route or have deep pockets to eat out breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Regular after-ski activities are a bit limited. There are snowmobiles, river swimming, and many other things I was frankly not interested in doing, but that's me. I would say, though, that there is not much to do at Ruka apart from ski, eat out and shop ski-souvenirs if you are on a budget. But we came to ski so all good. Covid did put a damper on things, with the restaurants basically empty at night. I will say the Ruka community really took Covid seriously. There was social distancing everywhere, ski lifts (one seat space between strangers), restaurants. Even the hotel staggered the breakfast times so that there was no overcrowding.
In conclusion, if you live in Finland/Europe and want to try something different to the Alps, give Ruka a try. The guaranteed snow is always a plus. Also, for a family of 5, you would probably save 1 000 to 2 000 € compared to a ski holiday in the Alps.