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All about Baikal winter holidays
January 24, 2011 12:12

Baikal Lake is a unique place on the Earth with crystal water and breathtaking landscapes. The local public calls it The Sea. Most people think Baikal is a place to go in summer only, when it is not so cold and when it is possible to sail the lake. If the question is sailing and rafting on the rivers, they are right. But if we speak about winter outdoor activities, Baikal, covered with crystal ice in winter, gives many specific possibilities, all the more so Baikal winter is not so severe as in Siberia in the whole: waters of The Sea, warming in the summer, make climate soft. Baikal under thick but glassy ice offers jeep, snow mobile and dog sleds tours, skiing and mountain skiing on the rocky shore, with many wild slopes for free riders, ice fishing and ice diving.


Best time for winter holidays on Baikal if February and March, when the ice is strong and thick enough, but the weather is sunny and not very cold. Baikal ice is something special: it looks very thin, as glass, even if its thickness reaches 1 meter. It is so because of outstanding clearness of water: you can see fishes like in aquarium. Ice hummocks on the shores, look like glass palaces or masterpieces of abstract sculpture. They look especially picturesque and glamorous when the sunset makes them glare all colors of the rainbow.

Jeep and snowmobile tours on the Baikal lake are chance to visit places very hard to get in other seasons. You can get to the shores which are dangerous when you sail by boat, you can peep into half-lighted rock shelters and caves. Most snowmobile safari tours take 1 - 2 days and take place along the western coast of Baikal, passing by steep rocks of Primorsky mountain range. There are also long expeditions for advanced travellers on the ice of Baikal Lake and mountain rivers and taiga. Safari tours of both types often include ice fishing as well.


However, there is one more kind of safari, more environment friendly. It is dog sleds tours. Although blue-eyed husky appeared here not long ago from Kamchatka, dog sleds tours are already recognized as one of the best ways to explore unique nature of Baikal. The dogs can make 40 km /h! Baikal center of Riding sport is based in the area of Listvyanka.

Mountain skiing industry on Baikal shores is rapidly developing last time. At the moment there are two mountain skiing resorts here: Gora Sobolinaya and piste in Pribaikalsky tourist resort area. Certified in accordance with the world standards, pistes of Gora Sobolinaya have 17 km total length and can be interesting for experiences downhill skiers and beginners as well. Sobolinaya is 1004 high, elevation reaches 500 meters. 5 lifts are provided on the pistes. Services of resort include sauna, swimming pool, gym and cafe.


Newcomers, who tries mountain skiing and snowboard for the first time are offered an easy piste on new tourist center of Pribaikalsky not far from Listvyanka. Free rider are welcome in Khamar-Daban mountains. The most popular place is Mamai mountain. Everything looks good here: suitable slopes, covered with snow from November till April, picturesque sights of Baikal and flat tops of the mountains, ideal fro landing helicopters. There are also other place for free ride on Baikal...There are also other place for free ride on Baikal...

Best ice-fishing on Baikal takes place in the March - April at Maloye More Strait, between Olkhon Island and shoreline. Maloye more is relatively shallow, and the fish moves here in winter, in search of feed stuff. The species to catch are pike, perch, grayling, whitefish, Arctic cisco.

Ice diving on Baikal is for those who is not satisfied with looking at the fishes through the glass of ice. Aquatic fauna of Baikal is unique, and clear water only supports divers in their wish. Under the crystal ice, throgh which you can see people and cars looking like hanging in the sky, there are ice galleries and rock shelters, Baikal shelf meets diver with fishes and fields of green Baikal sponge. One of the greatest impressions of ice diving in Baikal is feeling of soaring above gulf under the sky of ice, which transmits blue light. Take into account that this service is available for experienced divers only.


Baikal is a unique place in the world, and all the people, coming there should treat it with due care. Travel industry can save the lake from paper power plant which pollutes the unique waters, which look like crystal when freeze.


Tags: Baikal Ecotourism Russian winter   

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