Ski Tunnel Adds New Thrill at Ski Vacation Center in Sweden

September 4, 2006 by  
Filed under features

A skiing vacation in Sweden now has an exciting new feature at the recreational area of Valberget, located 1.5 km outside of the town of Torsby in northern Varmland. Fortum Ski Tunnel Torsby, Sweden’s first, and the worlds longest, ski tunnel opened this summer. The tunnel will be open for skiing from May to December which means there will be all year round skiing available at Valberget with the help of artificial snow machines being used in the tunnel. The tunnel is open for biathletes and cross country skiers. During winter training facilities will be available outdoors.

Fortum Ski Tunnel houses the only indoor biathlon arena in the world. It is 1.3km long and then continues outside with a further 700 m of ‘cool track’ with an outdoor cooling system suitable for outdoor snow making. The tunnel is built with cast concrete arches and is 16 meters wide at the start and finish area. It is eight meters wide and four meters high with two tracks for classical skiing and two for skating. The tunnel follows the natural topography as it is partly embedded in the ground, which was excavated to a depth of 3meters and earth masses refilled forming a natural ridge. The tunnel now projects halfway above the ground surface.

Snowmaking will operate at a temperature of 0 to -3 degrees Celcius. The constant cold inside the tunnel will create a permafrost-like condition in the tunnel floor. The temperature can be regulated with the installation of heating coils or by a thermal transfer process. Cold can be produced via air, via ground or a combination of the two. Great effort is taken to maintain humidity control and ventilation.

Fortum Ski Tunnel Torsby also has an arena facility with the world’s only indoor biathlon shooting range created parallel to the start/finish area. Surveillance cameras which also function as web cameras are positioned at various places, two in the south-loop and one in the center part, overlooking the start/finish area and shooting range. There are speakers placed with regular intervals throughout the facility, for music, information and announcements. All surveillance and control is centrally monitored. Lighting is very important for the overall experience of skiing in the tunnel and great effort has been taken to meet these requirements.