Murmansk Oblast

A song of snow and ice: why travel to the Snow Village in Kirovsk

The Snow Village is the largest snow construction project in Russia

06.10.21// The Khibiny Mountains are more than just a ski destination in winter. There is another unique site in the region. As soon as snow covers the mountains, a massive snow-building campaign begins at the foot of Mount Vudjavrchorr. The best sculptors flock to Kirovsk to create the Snow Village here. This year it will officially open on 25 December, and discounted tickets can be bought until then.

Just like a fairy tale

Twenty five tonnes of snow on 2 thousand square metres — the Snow Village in Kirovsk is in The Russian Book of Records as the largest structure built using snow. Spacious halls with showpieces made of snow and ice, colourful lighting and incredible patterns — that's what the Snow Village is all about. As some of the tourists describe the exhibition, 'it's like being in a fairy tale.' 'Creative. Charming. Fully equipped. There is a souvenir shop,' shares another visitor.

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The project has been around for 13 years. The first Snow Village was built in 2008 by an enthusiast Vladimir Komyagin together with a group of like-minded people, and since then every year a snow structure is erected near the Tirvas Hotel&Spa soon after the snow covers the area. Every year, more than 30 sculptors work on the creation of the Snow Village.

They always create unique displays. For example, the Snow Village 2014 was dedicated to the Olympic Games. In other years, the topics included animals in the Arctic, life in the North, Russian fairy tales, cartoons, famous generals and their feats...

In different seasons, there was an ice Marriage Registry Office where couples could tie the knot, as well as a Ded Moroz Post Office.
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What awaits visitors this year is still a mystery. The theme of the ice exhibit for the 2021/2022 season is being kept secret. One thing is clear — it will not be like any of the previous ones. You can keep up to date with the latest news on the Snow Village's social media channels.

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'The Snow Village is one of the major man-made winter attractions in the Murmansk Region. The snow craftsmen's artwork makes a lasting impression on visitors to the region, and it never seizes to amaze even the local residents. Every year, the number of tourists who want to see the snow fairy tale keeps growing.

Between 2008 and 2019, the flow of tourists to the sightseeing and tourism centre increased more than tenfold from 3,500 in 2009 to 42,500 in 2019. This year we are again looking forward to the opening of the Village, which will be extraodinary as always,' Alexander Eliseev, chairman of the Tourism Committee of the Murmansk Region, told Arctic Russia in an interview.

Note that the Snow Village operates for a long time, until the spring rains start to fall. In 2021, it only closed on May Holidays.

Photo tour on the Snowbus

Last season, the Snow Village creators launched the new Snowbus. This unique snow bus travelled over the snow and made stops at three tourists spots in the Khibiny, where marvellous photo sessions could be arranged — Poachvumchorr, Takhtarvumchorr, Vudjavrchorr. It started running in 2021.

'Anyone, regardless of the age, could admire the beauty and majesty of the Khibiny Mountains in a comfortable and warm environment,' describe the Snowbus creators their idea.

The journey takes about 1.5 hours. The ride starts from the Snow Village; it is best to book in advance by phone. Snowbus will continue its work in the coming season.

Snegoled: Celebration of Ice and Snow above the Arctic Circle

In the second half of January, Kirovsk usually hosts the Snegoled Festival, founded and organised by the Snow Village. This one week long event ranks among the top 200 in Russia.

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The first stage of the festival takes place at the Snow Village, where sculptors spend a week creating genuine masterpieces from huge cubes of snow.

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The Festival concludes with the 'Beshenaya Pila' (Russian for 'Mad Saw') show competition. This is a speed ice sculpting competition. The artists are given 90 minutes to turn a shapeless block of ice into a work of art. The competitions usually take place in Apatity city limits.

Not even the 30-degree frost — which is not uncommon here in the middle of winter — can stop the craftsmen. In past seasons, the competition welcomed artists from Norway, Finland and other countries.

Many visitors, and not only from Murmansk Region, arrive especially for this unique event. It's quite a unique sight.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Snegoled festival was cancelled in 2020. The organisers plan to hold it in 2021 — if the epidemiological situation does not worsen. So stay up-to-date with the news on the Snow Village website..

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