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Skiing in The Urals
August 2, 2006 16:07

The Ural Mountains, especially the Southern Urals are a very picturesque place. Coniferous forests, fast rivers and ravines gushing for crystal lakes cannot but make you adore its nature.

The Southern Urals cannot boast towering summits covered with centuries-old snow and glaciers. The average tops are only one thousand meters above the sea level. Nonetheless, these are real mountains.

Most of the 20 Urals ski resorts are not attractive for ski-addicts. Their poor infrastructure, lack of good trails and snow simply frighten them away. However, a few of them meet the international standards, are certified by the FIS and might be interesting for those in constant search of snow. If you decide to do a bit of skiing in the Urals, above all, bear in mind that the Urals are not the Alps or the Caucasus. It will definitely give you less adrenaline. However, it is a nice opportunity to combine decent skiing with exploring Russia’s Asia. Have your own opinion! But mind that it is the Caucasus that is the best for crazy skiing.


The Ezhovaya Mountain (translated as the Hedgehog Mountain) stands to the side of the Main Urals Ridge some 110 kilometers from the city of Yekaterinburg, a heart of the Urals. Does it have anything to do with hedgehogs? Hmm…to be honest, I am not sure. Its top is 550 meters above the sea level and is one of the Veselye Mountains tops (or Funny Mountains if translated properly).

The elevation change of the mountain which boasts 5 well-groomed trails is 300 meters. The longest trail is 1.5 kilometers.

The ski center operates 7 lifts: 6 rope tows and a double-seater chairlift. On working days it is quite deserted. If the snow is insufficient the snow guns step in to give as much of it as required for decent skiing. It is possible to ski in the nighttime, however, not everywhere. There is only one lightened piste. The trails are various and designed both for beginners and experts. There is even a half-pipe if you are interested.

The season starts in December to end in April when the last snow melts down.

How to get there?

Board on a Moscow plane bound for Yekaterinburg and then cover another 110 kilometers by a hired van.


This young ski center on the Zavyalikha Mountain lies 180 kilometers from the city of Ufa (not to be confused with UFO) close to the village of Trekhgorny. Rumor has it that it is a most ambitious project in the region. Under the plan, some 40 pistes and 12 lifts are to be built. The elevation change of 430 meters, the average temperature of -10°C, groomed pistes taken care of by snow-cats, lightning and snow guns are destined to make it one of the best ski resorts in the Urals. Time will tell.

Currently, the ski resort has 10 trails: a blue one, 4 red ones, 2 green ones, a black one, a baby trail, a 200-meter long half-pipe and a Big Air. The total length of the trails is about 14 kilometers. The shortest piste is 320 meters whereas the longest one runs 3 kilometers down the mountain. All 5 lifts operate and all 10 trails are open if the weather is nice. The Zavyalikha skiing is good but it depends on the freaky weather. If it’s about zero outside and the snow is wet your skies or board refuse to slide at all. Steep at the top the trails become flat as you approach the foot of the mountain.

The ski center has one six-seater chairlift, two double-seater chairlifts, a rope tow and a baby lift. Also, there is a 15-kilometer cross-country ski trail. All trails lead to the major lift which operates from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m. On the weekends – till 6 p.m. but after 5 p.m. the sun hides behind the fir trees and the path becomes unintelligible.

The Russian national snowboarding team uses the FIS-certified trails of the ski resort to get ready for the Russian and world events which are often held there.

Forest free ride is nice. The snow is deep. Speed down the mountain avoiding the snow-covered trees to get really excited! Jump over the fallen trees from what looks like natural jumps! Guess what will stand in your way in some ten meters!

The season lasts from mid-November till late April.

How to get there?

Get on a Moscow plane bound for the city of Ufa or Chelyabinsk, then hire a van to cover 180 or 240 kilometers to the ski resort.


Regarded as one of the best in the Urals, the Abzakovo ski center is located in the republic of Bashkortostan some 60 kilometers from the city of Magnitogorsk. It is also believed to be one of the best in the Urals.

Apart from the areal's natural beauty you will be fascinated by 13 trails with a total length of almost 18 kilometers.

The resort lies 800 meters above the sea level. The season runs from November till May.

The elevation change is 320 meters; the longest trail is 2.3 kilometers. There are two lightened pistes. Most of the trails are of red and black categories. The ski center boasts four FIS-certified slalom and giant slalom trials. Snow guns are futted on eight groomed trails to ensure good snow all season long.

The resort has 5 up-to-date rope tows and a two-seater chairlift operates from 9:30 till 17:00 and from 19:00 till 23:00.

How to get there

from Moscow board a plane bound for the city of Magnitogorsk. Then hire a taxi to cover another 60 kilometers.


The Adzhigardak ski center is situated 300 kilometers from the city of Chelyabinsk in the town of Asha, right on the border with the republic of Bashkortostan.

The town of Asha enjoys a mild climate similar to one in Krasnaya Polyana with the average temperatures ranging from 7 to 12 degrees below zero.

Asha is a cozy rural town which looks like the city of Kirovsk in Russia’s North, although a greater amount of privately-run one-storey houses makes it even more desirable.

The ski center has 10 trails of various categories with the longest one being 3.5 kilometers. Total length is almost 12 kilometers and all the trails are certified by the FIS. There is no need for snow guns here as nature provides an abundance of powder each year.

Investors plan to develop the ski center and build 22 trails almost 65 kilometers long, a snowboarding park and another 15 kilometers of cross-country ski trails.

Apart from well-groomed narrow pistes running through the thickish forest you can try forest free ride. The ski resort is quite deserted on working days, which is not the case on the weekends.

The Asha forest free ride is a fascinating experience. There is so much snow that even 15-meter high birches could not stand it and bow down. Snow covered bushes magically turn to natural jumps. Sometimes you may easily find yourself in a trap which is possible to escape only if you creep.

How to get there?

Board a plane from Moscow bound for the city of Chelyabinsk or Ufa. Then travel another 300 kilometers in a hired taxi.


The Bannoye resort lies on the shore of the Bannoye Lake, 40 kilometers from the city of Magnitogorsk and 24 kilometers from the Abzakovo ski center. The Bannoye Lake is one of the largest ones in the republic of Bashkortostan with the total area of 7.7 square kilometers.

The environment is well-preserved in this region famous for its mild climate . The lake is surrounded by picturesque forest-covered low mountains whose pistes are interesting both for beginners and experts. One of the peculiar things about low mountains is that you can always see what’s happening down there. Besides, you can see the surrounding country.

The season lasts from November till May.

The ski resort has 7 trails whose total length amounts to 10 kilometers. The longest one is 2.5 kilometers; the elevation change is 450 meters. There is a short 60-meter half-pipe.

The trails offer exciting curves and are quite mean although they seem easy to master. Should you lose concentration the mountain will not forgive you. When the snow storm comes the temperature drops to –15 at the foot of the mountain and -22 at its top. Skiing can hardly be called comfortable – but no one promised it would be. The wind blows away snow leaving bare ice, on the one hand, and makes heaps of snow and small jumps across the slope, on the other. However, these delights disappear by the next morning. Snow-cats lick them away.

How to get there?

From Moscow, fly to the city of Magnitogorsk; then hire a van to go another 40 kilometers to the Bannoye resort.

Read about other Russian Ski Resorts in Russia

Artiom Ganin


Tags: Ski resorts the Urals Region    

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