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December 22, 2007

Skiing in Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia

kam.jpg

I have a friend who lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland. He is an enthusiastic skier, and he told me a couple of days ago that he is planning to go skiing in Kamchatka peninsula deep in Russia. This is not his first time skiing in very exotic places. Previously he has conquered Kyrgystan and Mount McKinley in Alaska. He is an experienced backcountry skier and climber, and is now looking for new challenges. Oh, and guess what? This is his business trip with which he is going to combine some skiing. He seems to have a pretty nice job right now.

Skiing in Kamchatka, how would it be? Have you ever considered it or have you even heard about Kamchatka Peninsula? Let us first find out where it is located. Kamchatka is a peninsula in the Russian Far East, located between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk. It belongs to the Russian Federation and it has about 400 000 inhabitants.

Kamchatka is deep in the wilderness, surrounded by a beautiful nature with rich flora and fauna. The area is known from the highest density of volcanoes and associated volcanic phenomena in the world. Volcano Kronotsky is said to be a candidate for the world’s most beautiful volcano. Climate in Kamchatka is rather cool, and in winters it tends to be rather stormy. Because the area is far from cities and there are huge amounts of wilderness, the wildlife in Kamchatka is very diverse. Although there are lots of animals, the best known animal in Kamchatka is probably the brown bear. Kamchatka simply has areas that you could not believe exist anymore.

Kamchatka provides staggering freeskiing challenges

You might think that heli-skiing in Kamchatka in Russia is a dangerous survival game in which you fly in rusty helicopters operated by drunken old military pilots, and while you are skiing you have to keep your eyes open because for the bears. Very much different from heli-skiing in Sweden, for example? No, that is not skiing in Kamchatka, thank God. You certainly might find poorly operated helicopters in Russia, but companies such as Elemental Adventure provide high quality heli-skiing with no additional danger.

Life in Russia is different from life in the west. You cannot get luxury services as easily as in west, and some things just do not work as effectively as in the western countries, which could cause you a little shock. Life at Russian ski resorts is nothing like life in the top 10 ski resorts in west, not even like in Slovakia. It is common in Russia that you have to wait everywhere and for anything. You wait and wait and wait.. and then you wait some more. It just happens to be like that in Russia, you just have to get used to it if you go skiing in the Eastern Russia.

Would you love to ski in Kamchatka?

Even though some things might cause a cultural shock, think about skiing in unexplored terrain in one of the wildest and most remote destinations in the world. Imagine yourself skiing even 4000 meter descents, all the way down to the shoreline, to hot springs or into the craters of volcanoes. Yes, this is all possible in Kamchatka! It is an amazing freeskiing wonderland, very far away from both Europe and North America.

How much would it cost? The prices depend on the organizer, so an average price is hard to estimate. With Elemental Adventures one week vacation, depending on hotel, it ends up between 4150 and 4600 euros. The information below is directly copied from Elemental Adventures website, so I do not guarantee it will be like this in the future as well.

Included:

  • 9 days of heliskiing with 10 hours of helicopter time included per group (this is roughly equal to 35 runs)
  • Meet and greet at airport and transfer to your hotel
  • Daily transfer from your hotel to the heliport
  • 9 nights full board accommodation (double occupancy)
  • Powder ski rental
  • All safety equipment (shovel, probe, ABS airbag)
  • Lift pass for local resort if poor weather prevents flying

Single occupancy add €300

Not included:

  • International & domestic flights
  • Helicopter time in excess of the 10 hours included in your package (€2,100 per hour, per helicopter load)
  • Drinks
  • Visa
  • Insurance specifically for heli skiing

Skiing in Kamchatka could be your most staggering skiing experience ever. If you are interested in such a journey, start searching the websites you can find as well as Elemental Adventures.

Check out the Google map of Kamchatka.

Video provided by EA Heliskiing.

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About the Author

Marko Pyhajarvi
I am an old-school alpine skier, snowboarder and telemarker, and I love writing. Therefore I founded Homeboy. I (too) enjoy powder, mountaineering and backcountry skiing as well as photographing. Nowadays, as an old fart, I mostly ski with my kids and focus on financing their hobbies.




 
 

 
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