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Creating a powder-fresh online customer experience for a skier’s paradise


Ylläs is Finland’s largest ski resort, welcoming customers from both Finland and abroad all year round. Located in the Kolari area in Lapland, the resort also offers a wide range of activities during the summer months.


Ylläs Ski Resort wanted to unify its online approach by bringing all the content under one site. Located in the west of Finnish Lapland, Ylläs has services in two separate locations. Although the companies that operate them work cooperatively, with customers only needing to buy one ticket for all slopes, they still had separate websites. This created some technical challenges and confused customers.

Key objectives

Ylläs was looking for a fresh new look and feel and a layout that would be easier for customers to navigate and encourage them to make purchases. The resort also wanted to boost online visibility by improving its SEO performance, optimising the path to the website, and streamlining the presentation of content.

Another topic to be addressed was that the existing content management system was making it challenging to sync information between the two locations of the resort. For instance, changes to prices or other global information had to be updated separately for each language version of each site rather than being universally updated. Recognising the need to improve its online presence, Ylläs approached Columbia Road to help create an attractive and informative website that would help the resort take a big leap forward in terms of both customer experience and ease of maintenance and content management.

Our main objective was to increase the appeal of Ylläs by bringing the customer experience and website under a joint and distinct brand. With Columbia Road, we were able to create a website that merges the former three websites together, increases our customer experience and is both informative and visually appealing. Columbia Road worked flexibly with us throughout the process to achieve a result that all of our stakeholders are delighted with.

Milla Haapanen, Head of Marketing, Ylläs Ski Resort, Äkäslompolo

Our approach

In workshops, Ylläs and Columbia Road worked together to define customer personas and map the content structure and customer journey for the new site, after which we developed some visual concepts to get things started. We followed an agile, modular approach to build up the design piece by piece, with gradual improvements being made iteratively based on regular discussions and commenting rounds on the structure, visuals, and customer journey. Representatives from Ylläs were heavily involved in the service design and graphic design, which were key aspects of this project. The process took a few months, with the site being launched in early November 2021.

Communication played a hugely important role throughout the process. As Ylläs had multiple stakeholders involved, including both companies and the regional tourist information board, there was a need to take the interests of all parties into account.

One key outcome of this project was to enable Ylläs to own and manage their content on WordPress self-sufficiently. We helped them to gain the technical skills and knowledge needed to run the new site. Another goal was to support the client in adopting WordPress, which was new to them. To achieve this, we held several workshops until they were comfortable with how the platform works – as well as answering all their questions, it was important for us to ensure that they felt supported throughout the process.

It was essential that the website experience would engage and excite customers at every stage of their journey – from the point that they start considering a ski holiday, through planning and booking, anticipating, and eventually arriving at the resort, when they would still need information such as temperature, snow depth, and which lifts and slopes are open.

Because some of the information on the site can be lifesaving, we ensured that modifying the content and synchronising it across different translations would be easy in the backend system. We also implemented some custom integrations in the weather system to ensure that important details would be automatically updated in real-time, with a lot of work put into optimising the performance of those pages so that customers accessing them using mobile connections while at the slope would not suffer from long load times.

Our work included

  • Unifying the vision and scope with the project’s multiple stakeholders
  • Facilitating workshops on customer personas, site content, and mapping the customer journey, including encouraging purchases
  • Service design and graphic design together with the client
  • Building the website with an agile, modular approach
  • Support in adopting WordPress to manage the site content
  • Custom backend integration for real-time updates of important information, including weather and syncing between different language versions
  • Optimisation for mobile devices


Having an active and motivated client involved at every stage of the process resulted in a successful outcome. Ylläs has received very positive feedback from its customers about the website renewal. Of course, feedback only tells part of the story, and while it’s too soon to assess the website’s performance fully, an early assessment of the numbers paints an encouraging picture. This was made possible by both the sound technical and content design, but also the fact that the new website was built as a sub-directory under that already was indexed in Google. The new Ylläs Ski Resort website can be viewed at


Photography copyrights: Lapland Hotels and @Rinnemies

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