29.09.2021 // The Arctic is a great place for winter sports fans. In most regions, snow falls early and stays on until the calendar summer. Many ski resorts are already gearing up for the opening, and they won't be closing the season until June.
There's hardly a skier in Russia who doesn't know about the Khibiny Mountains. This winter resort is a popular destination for a number of reasons.
First, the ski season here is long. According to weather forecasts, this year it will start at the end of October and last until about mid-May.
This is why outdoor enthusiasts have the chance to plan a trip to the Khibiny Mountains during both November and May holidays. Second, skiing in Kirovsk is suitable for athletes of all levels. Beginners prefer the BigWood Resort located on the southern and northern slopes of Mount Aikuaivenchorr.
However, the so-called 'black' pistes are also available for real experts. Seasoned and extreme skiers are also fond of the slopes of another nearby popular resort, Kukisvumchorr. Skiers compare the difficulty of its pistes to those of Mount Cheget in Elbrus.
Another advantage of skiing in the Khibiny is that this holiday option is budget-friendly. The ski pass prices compare quite favourably with the offers at, for example, Krasnaya Polyana or Elbrus. A full day at the BigWood Resort will cost between RUB 1,000 and RUB 1,500 per day, depending on whether it's high or low season.
And getting here is not difficult — there is a plane to Murmansk from central Russia, and a train to Apatity. There is also an airport in Kirovsk itself, and the resorts are not far from the city.
Renting accommodation in Kirovsk will not be a problem either. There are hotels for all budgets, plenty of flats for rent located right next to the slopes, and trendy hostels have appeared.
Lately, there have also been more and more trendy cafés and coffee shops, as well as rental offices opening in the city.
The skiers don't get bored after finishing their day at the slope either, heading to the swimming pool or saunas. There is a playroom for children at the BigWood Resort. 'We have a lot of premieres to look forward to this year. With the support of Rostourism, an artificial snowmaking system has been installed in the Khibiny, which will extend the ski season. It begins as early as possible — this year's start is planned for October — and ends in May. It will be the longest ski season in Russia. We are also looking forward to the opening of a unique restaurant on Mount Aikuaivenchorr, which has panoramic glazing and a distinctive design of the building. As for the logistics, we're we are expecting the launch of direct flights to Khibiny from St. Petersburg in December 2021,' Alexander Eliseev, the Chairman of the tourism committee of Murmansk Region, told Arctic Russia about the new season's prospects for skiers.
The Khibiny is not the only place with skiing resorts in the Arctic. Skiing is also done at the Sob Resort in the circumpolar Urals in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area. This is where winter sports enthusiasts from Vorkuta, Salekhard and Labytnangi flock to. The skiing season starts in December and continues until mid-June.
Unlike other resorts, accommodation here is modest, even Spartan (heated caravans), but the surroundings are incredibly exotic. Tundra, a frozen waterfall, four pistes ready for skiing, no queues, and snowmobile rental — that's what Sob is all about. One of the attractions of the resort is the suspension bridge over the Sob River, which leads to the ski base. In the past, reaching the slopes was only possible when the river was frozen.
The resort doesn't have a website or webcams; you'll have to check the situation on the spot or on snowboarding forums. Getting here is not hard. The resort is 30 km away from Labytnangi. The most convenient way is by train, the journey from Labytnangi to the Sob station takes about 1 hour.
Skiers like to combine skiing at the base with a visit to Salekhard. Many take home local delicacies as souvenirs from their trip. These include venison, smoked and dried fish, and local jewellery.
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