Russian dozen: the best Russian ski resorts

The ski resort of Sheregesh was opened in 1981. The runs (700 to 3,900 meters long) are on the slopes of Mount Zelyonaya, and the highest point on the ski slopes is 1,270 meters above sea level. Source: Lori / Legion media.

The ski resort of Sheregesh was opened in 1981. The runs (700 to 3,900 meters long) are on the slopes of Mount Zelyonaya, and the highest point on the ski slopes is 1,270 meters above sea level. Source: Lori / Legion media.

Out of all the countries in the world, Russia boasts the largest number of mountain ranges – from the rounded hills of the Khibiny range, to the majestic peaks of the Caucasus and the volcanoes of Kamchatka. RBTH lists 12 of Russia’s best resorts, carefully selected for the most discerning of ski bums.  

Russia’s most famous skiing destinations are in the Caucasus and the Urals, but various lesser-known ski resorts are waiting to be discovered all over the country.

The Caucasus

Prielbrusie is a region in the Central Caucasus, which is the location of the highest mountain in Europe – Mount Elbrus. Ski runs and lifts are concentrated directly on Elbrus’ slopes and slightly lower in the Baksan Valley on Mount Cheget.  There are 10 runs here, varying from 1,000 to 1,500 meters (3,280-4,920 feet) in length. Located on Mount Cheget, the highest point on the ski slopes is 3,500 meters (11,582 feet). Each year, Prielbrusie welcomes more than 250,000 skiers.

The village of Dombai located 1,600 meters above sea level in the Teberdinsky Nature Preserve. The Dombai resort boasts around 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) of ski runs and a large lift infrastructure. The run from Mount Musa Achitara starts at a height of 3,002 meters, and the total vertical drop is about 500 meters. As well as this, Dombai also offers many opportunities for skiing through forest – runs with a drop of up to 600 meters. Free-riders can enjoy numerous “backcountry” areas, and six heli-ski routes have also been developed to satisfy the most hardcore and adventurous skiers.

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Krasnodar Territory

The Roza Khutor plateau is a territory that encompasses around 1,820 hectares (4,497 acres) of the north and northeastern slopes of the Aibga Ridge, rising up from the Mzymta River to the peak of the range near the Kamenny Stolb Mountain.

For the 2012-13 ski season, the resort offers 38 kilometers of ski runs to suit all different abilities – from green runs to black runs. Roza Khutor’s artificial snow system is the biggest in Europe and guarantees a white dusting of powdery snow on more than 100 hectares (247 acres) of the resort’s ski runs. The snow machines mean the ski season lasts for up to 180 days a year on some slopes.


The Baikalsk Alpine Resort remains the most famous and popular ski resort on the banks of Lake Baikal. The resort was first established at the beginning of the 1990s, and it operates each year between November and May. The 2-hour journey (on average) along the windy, treacherous and often snow-covered road that leads 148 kilometers from Irkutsk to Baikalsk is more than worth it for thrill-seeking fans of slalom.

The administrative center of the Mountainous Shoria territory is the city of Tashtagol. The nearby village of Sheregesh is known to skiers all over Russia. The ski resort was opened in 1981 to host the Spartikiada Games of what was then the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. The runs (700 to 3,900 meters long) are on the slopes of Mount Zelyonaya, and the highest point on the ski slopes is 1,270 meters above sea level. The ski season runs from November through to May.

The Kola Peninsular

Mount Kukisvumchorr is five kilometers away from Kirovsk (Murmansk Region). The slopes of Kukisvumchorr are a free-rider’s paradise. For lovers of powder, the Khibiny resorts have a backcountry school, where instructors will introduce newcomers to safe off-piste skiing.

Mount Aikuaivenchorr is just two kilometers from Kirovsk and is suitable for skiers of all abilities and experience levels. The central part of the slope is quite gentle, the right is an almost a vertical wall strictly for dare-devils only, and the left is also comparatively tame. Here, skiers can enjoy 28 runs of various difficulty levels, from 2.5 to 3 kilometers long, with a total vertical drop of 550 meters. 


Altai Territory

The Belokurikha resort is located at 240-250 meters above sea level in the foothills of the Cherginsky Range, in the valley of the Belokurikha mountain river.  The southern part of the resort is framed by high mountain peaks covered in thick pine forests and carpets of rare wild flowers. Splendid granite cliffs decorate the peaks. As well as the fantastic scenery, the resort offers three runs between 1,000 and 3,000 meters long, with an overall vertical drop of 500 meters.  


Slalom slopes begin right on the door steps of apartment blocks in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky; the lucky inhabitants of Kamchatka Territory’s administrative center can roll out of bed and straight out onto the slopes.

Mount Moroznaya now has six slalom ski runs between 850 and 2,050 meters in length, with a total vertical drop of 523 meters. Nearby visitors can also enjoy the natural hot springs at the Paratunka Spa. 

The Krasnaya Sopka ski center is at the edge of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The slope faces southwest and offers an unforgettable panorama of the city, the Petropavlovsk bay, the harbor and the entire Avachinskaya estuary, with the magnificent volcanoes in the background. The highest point on the hill is 450 meters. There are three ski runs up to 1,400 meters long, with a gradient of up to 30 degrees. The slops here are designed for both beginners and professionals.

Sakhalin Region

The Gorny Vozdukh ski center is located in the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. The resort consists of nine runs (two yellow, five red, one green and one black), with a total length of 10 kilometers and a vertical drop of 500 meters. The highest point on the slopes is 600 meters.  

The Khakasia Republic

The relatively new ski resort Gladenkaya is located in the West Sayan Mountains in the Khakasia Republic. Skiers and tourists come from far and wide to experience the unique features and facilities this resort has to offer. There are 3,144 meters of ski runs, starting at 1,710 meters and descending to 880 meters. The slopes have gradients ranging from 12 percent to 45 percent.  

The Republic of Adygea

The Azish-Tau ski resort is a tourist complex that perfectly fits in with the surroundings of one of the most beautiful places in Russia – the Lago-Naki plateau. A lift brings skiers up to a height of almost two kilometers above sea level. The length of the runs ranges from 1,200 to 1,500 meters. The resort offers two nursery slopes and 24 runs suitable for all skiing levels, from 600-4,100 meters in length. Azish-Tau has a total of 35-45 kilometers in ski runs.

Here you can find an English summary of all Russian resorts.

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