The Christmas animation enlivens the streets of Helsinki, decorations sparkle in the windows, the shops are crowded with customers looking for gifts this year but it lacks something to celebrate: the snow!
The absence of the usual white coat covering Finland this season does not only laments the citizens who dream of a traditional Christmas Eve in the snow.
Its strikes a series of activities that generate the white gold: ski resorts, sporting goods stores or the snow removal companies.
Helsinki crosses indeed a month of unusually mild December, only covered with thin films of ephemeral snow.
“In early December there were six degrees higher than usual at this season,” said meteorologist Pauli Jokinen.
It confirms that haunts many Finns in particular warmer southern regions: “Our forecast is that of a Christmas without snow in much of southern and western Finland.”
The balmy autumn resulted in the cancellation of two major events in Levi ski, a ski area for competition and recreation in the north.
“Tests of the World Cup and European Cup had to be canceled because of snow. These are very big events in this region,” said Tarja Nikkanen, sales manager of the ski resort of Levi.
“We have the most important equipment for producing artificial snow but we can not just use it as the temperatures are not low enough to keep it,” laments she said.
During the short days of the northern winter when the sun sets in mid-afternoon, snow heightens the brightness and reduces the melancholy that usually takes people in this season.
Some people suffer from emotional problems that result in episodes of depression linked by researchers to a lack of sunlight.
The lack of snow, replaced this year by heavy rains also affected traders, according Jaana Kurjenoja of the Finnish Association of Commerce.
In a recent survey, 42% of sales of the association admitted that their business was impacted by weather.
“Usually warm clothes sell well at Christmas. But this year we do not sell,” notes Ms. Kurjenoja.
“The ski equipment are also concerned and sporting goods dealers say they could not sell their winter,” she adds.
In contrast, sales of electronic equipment have increased over the two previous winters when the car buried under snow were inaccessible to cars, which complicated the withdrawal of equipment from customers, notes Ms. Kurjenoja.
While lovers of snow and some traders anxiously scanning the sky, the municipal authorities are preparing to Helsinki … in case!
“There may be tons of snow in January and February,” joked the meteorologist Jokinen, who said that “all hope is not lost.”