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Skiing in Russia's North
July 6, 2006 18:18


The city of Kirovsk lies on the shore of the Bolshoi Vudyavr Lake and is almost enclosed by the mountains. To the west across the lake dominate massive steep rocks; to the east stands the Aikuaivenchorr Mountain (for those who struggle to articulate the name just Sleeping Beauty). This is the very mountain that hosts the best ski trails of Russia’s North-West. Look north and you will definitely spot the Khibini – drawing you as a magneto.

The north slope of Aikuaivenchorr is open for skiing. The mountain is good both for experts and beginners.

The landscape is rather depressive. Trees are rare. This is an industrial region famous for apatite mining so judge for yourself if you like it or not. Some say it all looks like the aftermath of a nuclear war. Others adore the austere beauty of the North.

Nonetheless, the houses are ugly and sad, which is very typical of a Russian city above the Arctic Circle. But go up there to have another perspective. The snow is quite good unlike the ski infrastructure. Some lifts are in a state of decay and often break. No, you won’t be compensated for the ski pass if it happens. To top it all they operate till six p.m. As soon as the clock strikes six the ski lift operators cut off the power.

The advantage of the region is heavy snowfalls in winter accompanied by north winds. They blow in much snow which heaps in numerous hollows to form a snow layer several meters thick. It takes months for the northern sun to melt it down. So the snow is there throughout almost the whole summer attracting ski-addicts even in July. But the best time to go to Kirovsk and the Khibini is March or April.

Romantics will definitely love it there in December – the polar lights are fascinating!

The Kirovsk region offers 4 skiing zones.

The first one is the Aikuaivenchorr Mountain proper with the Kolasportland ski lodge on it. It boasts 30 kilometers of trails with the longest one of 1.300 meters. It also operates 6 rope tows and a chair lift, a mogul piste and freestyle ramps.

The second option is the modern Aikuai resort on the other side of the mountain. The elevation change is 550 meters. The trails are up to 3 kilometers long. The resort is equipped with 2 new lifts.

To enjoy Kukisvumchorr Mountain drive some 25 kilometers away from the city. The highest point there is 890 meters above sea level. The elevation change is 520 meters. The average length of trails is about 2.5 kilometers. And there are 4 ski lifts. This mountain seems to have the steepest trails.

The Vorobyinaya Mountain (or the Sparrow Mountain) in the village of Apatity is the fourth option. The snow of the 2 ski-lift resort is protected from the nasty Kirovsk winds by a thin wood. There is a ski school. The total length of the trails is 550 meters. The elevation change is 80 meters. The slope is lighted.

Right opposite the Aikuaivenchorr across the lake rise the steep Vudyavrchorr rocks. Their dangerous couloirs keep the snow till late in May. Experts longing for adrenaline will like the couloir trails but be afraid of avalanches which are frequent there. The best thing to avoid them is to hire an experienced ski-guide.

Rent a chopper for heli-skiing.

Accommodation prices are reasonable. The area has several hotels including modern ones and apartments for rent.

How to get there? A 3-hour flight from Moscow to Murmansk. Then a 3-hour drive to the city of Kirovsk. Alternatively, get on a Moscow plane bound for Apatity.

More info on Russia's skiing opportunities in:
 

Read about other Russian Ski Resorts in Russia

Booking.com

Artiom Ganin

 

 


Tags: Ski resorts Murmansk Region Arctic   

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