Baikal Ice and Snow around the Lake: What Sports to Do on Baikal in Winter
Baikal Ice and Snow around the Lake: What Sports to Do on Baikal in Winter
© Photo: Key To Baikal
December, 23

Baikal Ice and Snow around the Lake: What Sports to Do on Baikal in Winter

The climatic and technical conditions of the Baikal region there are perfectly suitable for skiing. Skiing season lasts from mid-November to mid-May.

Freeride

Beginning from 2006, there is a tradition of celebrating World Snowboard Day on December 23 wherever snow falls. Of course, this applies to the Baikal region because the thickness of the snow layer reaches 4-6 meters here. And this condition is the best for all kinds of freeriding.

Freeride means snowboarding or skiing outside the prepared ski piste. The slopes of Khamar-Daban are a real paradise for freeriders: only a freerider, his or her snowboard, dizzying speed and boundless expanses of snow. And all this is supplemented with a good adrenaline buzz, especially due to the fact that the possible length of a ski run makes up from 1 to 10 kilometers, and the elevation difference ranges from 600 to 1200 meters!

The most popular and famous Baikal place for extreme freeriding on snowboards and snowmobiles is situated on the southern coast. This is the Mamai Mountain (height: 1600 m).

Mamai is located at a distance of 11 km from the coast of Lake Baikal, a drop makes up 600 meters, the length of the slopes ranges from 1 to 3 kilometers. The forest on the slopes is scarce or absent, snowfalls are frequent: therefore, there always remains an untouched snow field where it is possible to leave the first imprint.

There is another opportunity for freeriders on the northern coast of Lake Baikal - Davan. This is a mountain pass in the area of Northern Baikal near of the village of Goudzhekit,  at a distance of 25 km from the town of Severobaikalsk and 500 kilometers away from Irkutsk. The skiing season starts here in the beginning of March and lasts for a little more than a month - until mid-April. The elevation difference is 1000-1100 meters, the length of the route makes up 6-7 kilometers. The place has relatively gentle slopes for beginners and steep ones for advanced skiers. An additional bonus of Davan includes hot mineral springs where you can bask amidst the snow in the open air.

Helicopter Skiing and Alpine Skiing

 What Sports to Do on Baikal in Winter@Там, где снег и горы: зимние виды спорта на Байкале
What Sports to Do on Baikal in Winter
© Photo: AdobeStock
© Photo: AdobeStock
© Photo: AdobeStock
© Photo: AdobeStock
© Photo: AdobeStock
© Photo: AdobeStock
© Photo: AdobeStock
© Photo: AdobeStock
© Photo: AdobeStock
© Photo: AdobeStock
© Photo: AdobeStock
© Photo: AdobeStock
© Photo: AdobeStock
© Photo: AdobeStock

In addition to freeride, you can also try heli-ski on Lake Baikal: this is an unforgettable kind of alpine skiing and snowboarding on the slopes of the mountains, only you are delivered to the top by helicopter. Flat-topped mountains are convenient for helicopter landings. MI-8MTV helicopter delivers the fans of extreme sports to the gorge of the Mamai River, the areas of the Osinovsky Bald Mountain, Taltsinsky peak and other slopes of the Khamar-Daban Ridge.

Those who prefer standard ski slopes can visit the Sobolinaya Mountain - a picturesque ski resort on the southern coast. The mountains are covered with snow from November to May and attract outdoor enthusiasts, those who love fresh frosty air and beautiful mountain landscapes. The Sobolinaya Mountain is characterized by a mild climate: air temperature in winter does not drop below –  10-15 ° C, and the snow layer gets as thick as two meters. Besides, there are twelve certified ski runs with a drop of up to 479 meters.

Ice Boating

Not only Baikal snow is popular, local ice where transitions of different duration are arranged is also pretty famous. Ice boating develops at a good pace, there are various tourist and sports forms of ice boating: upon a strong helping wind, the speed of an iceboat can reach 100 km/h, which enables sportspeople to travel long distances along winter Baikal.

Ice boat travels on Baikal ice are an excellent preparation for boat trips of the highest difficulty in the drifting ice of the North, because Baikal offers a complete set of considerably difficult ice obstacles: open and closed cracks, hummock fields that cannot be bypassed (one can only break through them), air holes and sections of thin ice, severe climatic conditions and winds of various directions.

Bicycles

In recent years, long ice skiing, skating or biking trips from the south of Lake Baikal - from the village of Kultuk, to the north - to Severobaykalsk, have gained popularity. This route is especially popular with cyclists. In late March, the ice surface becomes rough, snow deposits becomes harder, which allows people to move around on bicycles without special studded tires.

Winter Baikal makes an indelible impression. At the end of winter, powerful movement of ice is oberved, so separate hummocks can exceed human height. Hummocky fields attract the attention of photographers with unusual piles of sparkling ice. The mirror surface of Baikal ice and amazing blue color of splinters of ice blocks dazzle all visitors. Outstanding transparency of ice makes it possible to see the bottom near the coast and take a look into the black mysterious depths of the lake.

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