Skiing Tours

Ski Tourism in CIS Countries

Ski Resorts - Dreamland for Fun Seekers

Skiing is one of the widely popular adventure sports and a major event in Winter Olympics. A travel on snow in full motion on a board, Skiing looks beautiful. Experiencing is way more wonderful. Skiing attract lot of tourism in the country wherever it is more organised with modern infrastructures. Many of the CIS countries have vast stretches of wilderness and mountains stretching throughout their territories with some of the oldest cities in Europe. Such wild aesthetics make many of the CIS countries ideal winter vacation locations with many of the most popular ski resorts in the world being located in the region. As a business, ski resorts within the CIS have reliably grown over the years to cater to an ever increasing market.

Analytical agency TurStat has frequently released a list of the best ski resorts in CIS in form of Top 10. The list as of 2017 in no particular order was - Chimbulak (Kazakhstan), Shahdag (Azerbaijan), Silichi (Belarus), Tsakhkadzor (Armenia), Chimgan (Uzbekistan), Karakol (Kyrgyzstan), Logoisk (Belarus), Tufandag (Azerbaijan), Altaic Alps (Kazakhstan) and the Yakut mountains (Belarus). We did explore Gudauri Ski resort in Armenia, Sunkar International Ski Jumping complex and Chimbulak Ski resort in Almaty in the past.

Of these Chimbulak or Shymbulak is particularly well known. The ski resort is the largest of its kind in the CIS and is located in the Medeu valley around 25 kilometres south of Almaty in Kazakhstan. The resort is popular for its mild temperature variations, sunny summer and thick winter snow. It is also the most expensive one with per day rates going above 100 USD. On the other hand, Shahdag ski resort in Azerbaijan, is comparatively cheaper, getting greater footfall with its 2013 figures peaking at 310,000 visitors, majority being from the UAE followed closely by Russian visitors.

Belarus, which frequently features on the list, has only come up recently as a strong contender with Alpine skiing being popularised in the country. While Belarus lacks proper mountains, its steep ravines make it quite popular for both alpine skiing and snowboarding. The Silchi Ski resort is particularly famous as it is not only a ski resort meeting the strictest standards but also is an overall recreation centre. It boasts of multiple facilities which ensure heavy footfall all the year round.

Ski Resorts in Belarus are particularly popular for being beginner friendly as the lack of high mountains makes the dangers of avalanches non-existent and its downhill ski slopes are small and relatively safe. Another popular Belarus location is the Raubichy Ski Resort, a popular resort that has been used as training ground for the Winter Olympics. The region it lies in has often been called Belarusian Switzerland. The location, as is the case with Silchi Resort, not only capitalises on its winter sports aspect but also for its beautiful hills which frame the clear waters of Uziazha river. This makes it a destination for even those who do not ski. Krestogorskaya Chapel is a popular attraction here as it sits atop one of the more picturesque hills. It has been converted to a museum of local folk arts and a concert hall further enhancing the value of the resort as a general holiday destination.

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To contrast, Russian Ski resorts like the one on Mount Elbrus are quite popular with advanced skiers for steep verticals and high altitude skiing. The ski resort on Mount Elbrus rests at 3,800 metres above sea level which makes it one of the highest in the region and the area boasts thick snow almost the full year round.

Worthwhile is the Tsaghkadzor Ski Resort which lies approximately 60 kilometres north-east of the Armenian capital. Much of the town was built up by the erstwhile Soviet Union for use in the 1988 Winter Olympics and was modernised much after to convert into its current form as a ski resort. For the activity of Skiing the area offers a variety of tracks ranging from beginner friendly to steep 270 degree sharp turn laden expert tracks. All of this is accompanied by more traditional comforts of hospitality with local resorts and hotel properties offering everything from steam and sauna facilities to conference halls and naturally the local Armenian cuisine.  

Dragobrat, situated at the height of 1,300 m up to 1,800 m, is the highest Skiing resort in Ukraine offering the most spectacular view from the top of the highest mountain Hoverla in Ukraine. The resort gets snow up to 5 m high and is good enough for skiing from November to May. It offers skiing options on pistes or off site place. During spring, the early flowers turn the resort into beautiful mountain ski resort. Adventure increases with both chair lifts and rotating lifts. Dragobrat has five lifts and 20 tracks with different difficulty levels for Skiers. Ski equipments are easily available on rent here. Staying at Dragobrat is easy as there are many hotels and guest houses at reasonable rates. Ukraine is not just about Kiev but full of beautiful and spectacular other places.

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