Skiing on volcanoes in Kamchatka: 11-day Ski touring in the Russian Far East

Join ACMG certified guide Grigory for this immense 11-day of Ski Touring in Kamchatka Russia. Revel in some of the best powder snow whilst you ski tour on five different volcanoes!

 
 
 

Details

 

Trip Duration

11 days

Mountain Range

Kamchatka

People per Guide

6 people

Trip Level

Sustained

Offer Period

May

Type of Trip

Group

Highlights

 
  • Delight in ski touring the powder snow of five separate Russian volcanoes

  • Discover the stupendous and endless wild beauty of the Kamchatka region

  • Join certified and enthusiastic guides with their local knowledge and insights

 

How often does one have the opportunity to go ski touring on five different and spectacular volcanoes?! This amazing trip will see you in Russia’s far east in the epic and breathtaking region of Kamchatka.

Covering an area of 270,000 squared km, Kamchatka is an area of pritine and rugged wilderness that beckons in the intrepid explorer and ski tourer!

On this trip we will be carving down the slopes of Avachinsky, Koryaksky, Viluchinsky, Mutnovsky and Gorely volcanoes.

Meeting in Petropavlovsk we will move on to Avachinsky pass, where our mountain hut accomodation awaits. We will spend a few days here and ski the fantastic slopes of Avachinsky and Koryaksky volcanoes.

If good weather prevails you will be humbled by a panoramic view of epic proportions. Covering the Avachinskaya bay, Petropavlovsk city, other volcanoes and the Shipunsky mountain range.

Next up we will move south to enjoy some hot springs and really top level corn skiing. After that, we will set our sights on Viluchinsky volcano, which is simply a must when one is visiting Kamchatka.

From here you will enjoy unbelievable views over the Pacific as you bound down the abundant powder snow of steep couloirs and expansive fields.

Next on the agenda we will head further south still and discover our final two volcanoes, Mutnovsky and Gorely.

Mutnovsky consists of multiple cones that come together to form one great massif. The main cone collapsed thousands of years ago which created a huge crater containing glaciers, fumaroles and bubbling hot mud volcanoes!

As remarkable as this sounds it’s not as remarkable as when we actually ski down the glacier! We will ski into the crater of this active volcano and along its fumarole fields.

Gorely volcano’s intrigue lies in its asthetic quality, as five overlapping stratavolcanoes are surrounded by the caldera. Some of the craters in the volcano are filled with acid lakes or fumarole steam.

Ascending this volcano is relatively easy but the visual rewards on the ski down are unforgettable!

Although the technical difficulty for this trip is not very high, we do require that you are at minimum an intermediate level skier or snowboarder. Additionally, you need to have one years ski touring experience and be of a decent level of fitness to complete the trip.

If the idea of ski touring five different volcanoes in Russia’s amazing far east has got you excited, then sign up now and I’ll be waiting to lead you out on the trip of a lifetime!

For other amazing excursions check out this 8-day ski tour on Kozelsky and Viluchinsky Volcano in Kamchatka, summit Kozelsky and enjoy amazing views! Or for somewhere outside Russia, join me on this epic 7-day heli assisted ski tour in the wonderful Caucasus mountains of Svaneti in Georgia!

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Price per person

 
Group of 1
2890 EUR

 

Price includes

 
  • Guiding fee
  • Accommodation
  • Half-board meals during trip
  • Transport during the trip
  • Luggage transfer during the trip
  • Group equipment
 Not included in price: International and domestic airfares Accommodation in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 1st day. Meals in Petropavlovsk Wine and spirits Travel insurance/travel cancellation insurance
 

Itinerary

 
  • Day 1Petropavlovsk

    Arriving in Petropavlovsk.

    Don’t forget to book a window seat – in good weather the view of the mountain ranges and volcanoes of Kamchatka is magnificent.

    Transfer to you hotel in Petropavlovsk, Meet the guides, gear check, rest time.

  • Day 2Avachinsky Volcano

    Early morning drive to the foot of Avachinsky volcano.

    Transfer to the pass by snowcat, avalanche training, skitouring on the nearby slopes.

  • Day 3Avachinsky and Koryaksky Volcanoes

    Skitouring/ splitboarding on the slopes of Avachinsky and Koryaksky volcanoes.

  • Day 5Hot Springs and Themalny Village

    Transfer to mountain hotel, in new touring region.

    Tansfer by snowcat down to the road, transfer by bus to Termalny village (about 2 hours), and 2-hours drive to the mountain hotel “Snow Valley”.

    Lunch, rest time – relaxing in hot thermal springs.

  • Day 6Viluchinsky Volcano

    Skitouring on the slopes of Viluchinsky volcano and surrounding mountains. We will use snowmobiles for daily  approach.

  • Day 8Mutnovsky Volcano

    Transportation by snowmobiles to the foot of Mutnovsky volcano, accommodation in the mountain hut. Skitouring on nearby slopes.

  • Day 9Crater Skiing

    Skitouring on the slopes of Mutnovsky volcano. Skiing inside the crater of volcano, excursion to the fumarole fields and many more.

  • Day 10Gorely Volcano

    Ascension on Gorely volcano, watching different types of volcanic activity.

    Skiing down to Gorely plateau, pick-up by snowmobiles and ride to the Snow Valley hotel.

  • Day 11Departure

    Early morning drive from mountain hotel to the airport for your departure.

 
 

Other details

 
Skill level required

Intermediate

Fitness level required

Fit

Meeting point

Petropavlovsk

Accommodation

Avachinsky pass mountain base.

Mountain base on Avachinsky pass is surrounded by big volcanoes and has a nice view on the valley. Huts are simple, but warm (heated by wooden stoves) and clean. Dining room and Banya are separate buildings. The huts has a capacity for maximum 10 people, but in our programs we limit it with maximum 5 persons per hut, to provide the comfort and more space.

Mountain hotel Snow Valley

The mountain hotel Snow Valley, situated 10 km from Vilyuchinskiy volcano, and surrounded by mountains. Accommodation is in a small chalet with rooms for 4 people and en-suite bathrooms. TWIN or DBL rooms are also available for extra cost. The hotel contains several outdoor pools with hot thermal water, a banya (traditional Russian bathhouse), restaurant and other facilities.

Mutnovsky volcano mountain hut.

Mountain hut near Mutnovsky volcano is simple, but warm (heated by wooden stoves) and has a very nice view on the valley. Ground floor is a kitchen and dining room, and first floor is a sleeping room, with two big common plank beds.

More info

Meals:

We do our best to make the meals, as well as the skiing, a remarkable part of your trip. We include traditional Kamchatka products, such as fish, seafood, reindeer meat and wild plants. Our chefs are all greatly experienced in winter camp cooking and will provide meals that are tasty, healthy and nutritious.

There are three hot meals a day. Here are some examples of the menu:

- Breakfast: cold breakfast - cereal/muesli with milk or yoghurt; hot breakfast - fried eggs, bacon/sausages, pancakes. Tea, coffee.

- Mountain lunch: Sandwiches,chocolate bars, dried fruits/ nuts.

- Aprés ski: Smoked salmon or other local fish, soup.

- Dinner: Local salads; dishes with meat or fish; sides (pasta, rice, potatoes); stewed vegetables. And of course, desserts and herbal teas.

We don’t serve any alcoholic drinks, but you are welcome to bring a reasonable amount of beer, wine or spirits.

We can accommodate special dietary requirements and food allergies. Our guests are asked to complete a registration form, and mention any dietary needs so we can be fully prepared for your arrival. Please note that all food is purchased before the trip starts and we don't have another opportunity to buy anything or change the menu during the trip.

Terrain

Most of the time we ski in the Alpine zone. Big, wide fields up to 38-40 degrees steep, classic Alpine couloirs and some nice cruising on a mellow snow fields are all types of terrain you will meet on Kamchatka's volcanoes.

On an average day the vertical drop is 1200-1500m, but it varies according to the group's abilities.

Skiing

This time of year in Kamchatka, we are mostly looking for corn (spring) skiing. Second only to powder in the "favourite snow conditions" category might just be corn, that delicious grainy spring snow created by the perfect mix of slope aspect, warm temperature and sunshine. Skiing the Kamchatka corn snow is definitely some of the best Spring skiing on Earth. Hard, cold morning snow melts on the surface with the first light of sun, creating the ideal gliding surface at noon. We find smooth, soft skiing - like skiing powder and carving at the same time. Still, with a new storms coming, we might be able to ski some powder, especially on northerly aspects and high altitude.

Volcano ascents:

One of the famous things to do in Kamchatka – ski from the top of volcano. But is it always possible? Of course, not always, and there are some reasons for it. First is the weather, and we can’t do any if it not allows us to ascend the summit. But also there is another reason, safety. Here is some explanation:

There are two types of skiing/snowboarding activities – skitouring and ski-mountaineering. Its means different types of terrain and different types of techniques, used to achieve the goal. Obviously, ski-mountaineering is more technical and requires not only special gear (such as boot crampons, ice-axe etc.), but also special skills for using it (rope use for belay etc.) For the guided groups another difference is guide: guests ratio. To provide high safety standards and best possible experience, this ratio should be not more than 1 guide: 2 guests. And this is international standard for all qualified mountain guides. In our skitouring programs guide:guests ratio is 1:6 maximum, so obviously we can’t do lot of ski-mountaineering, and we are able to use such a technique only for very short and not very technical sections. It does not mean that you have a bad or worse skiing, skitouring on the volcanic slopes is amazing stuff already by itself. Still, in very good snow conditions sometimes it is possible to climb the volcano in group of 6 and do it in a safe manner.

So, please keep in mind, in our standard skitouring/splitboarding programmes we do not guarantee the summit of most of the volcanoes, and the final decision will be up to your guide, who base it on weather, snow conditions, group abilities etc.

If you are keen to climb the volcano and ski from the summit, we can offer you a private programme, focused on the ascend and skiing from the summit. Don’t hesitate to ask us about such a programme or any other questions regarding skitouring and ski-mountaineering.

Weather

Although Kamchatka lies at a similar latitude to Great Britain, cold Arctic winds from Siberia combined with the cold Ohotskoe sea current cover the peninsula in snow from October to late June.

Winter months are known for their low temperatures and strong winds, which is why volcano skiing is not enjoyable then. The Spring months bring more comfortable weather - warmer, but still bringing snowfall which transforms into light powder until the end of April, or even the beginning of May up high.

Where we hold our skitouring programme, the night temperature in May is usually about minus 3-5 degrees Celsius and the daytime temperature is around 0 in the shade - but it feels significantly warmer in the sun. In general, the weather is identical to conditions in April in the Alps.

As everywhere, bad weather happens. But generally the weather is stable in May and cyclones don’t last long. In fact last year’s statistics show we were skitouring/splitboarding about 90 percent of the time.

You can check the weather forecast for our skitouring zones here – Kozelsky volcano area, Viluchinsky volcano area, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

Visa and Insurance

To travel to Russia, most foreign nationals are required to have an Entry Visa to Russia. Russian visas can be obtained at your local Russian Embassy or Consulate. In order to apply for a visa you will need proof of your forthcoming visit to Russia, which will be supplied by Skiing In Kamchatka on receipt of your final payment. Provided all the documents are ready, the process usually takes no more than 3-10 working days for a Russian Tourist Visa. It is also possible to ask special agencies for a full visa service.

We will need copy of your visa in 1 month before arrival. This is official government rule, because of border proximity. So, please apply for visa in advance. But even if you decide to come in a last moment, this question can be solved personally.

Insurance

Being adequately insured is a condition of booking a trip with Skiing in Kamchatka. You must have travel and medical insurance, which covers backcountry skiing (skitouring/splitboarding), ski-mountaineering and helicopter rescue. For your peace of mind and to avoid any financial hardship that an unexpected cancellation could cause, we strongly recommend getting Trip Cancellation insurance.

Time in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky - GMT+12

Telephone and Internet

There are 3 mobile operators covering populated areas of Kamchatka. On the Avachinsky pass all 3 are available. We will not have WiFi on Avachinsky pass, but you will be able to use mobile internet on your phone. In the area of Vilyuchinskiy volcano the best connection provides Megafon. Snow Valley hotel has a WiFi. There is no mobile coverage in the area of Mutnovsky volcano.

Please, keep in mind, we do not guarantee cellular coverage when we are in the mountains. Our guides always have satellite phones/messenger for emergency use.

Language

Not many people in Russia speak a foreign language (more likely in big towns, less in the countryside). But people are helpful and will easily understand what you need. The alphabet is Cyrillic so reading can be difficult. If you wish to practice your Russian, we recommend you purchase a phrase-book in advance.

During your trip, you will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide. Some of our Ski Guides speak German and French as well, but our general language is English. For private groups, we can try to arrange the guide who speaks your language.

Money

The Russian currency is the Rouble (RUB). No other currencies are accepted for payments. Cards are accepted in most big shops, hotels and restaurants, but this type of payment is still not as wide-spread as in Europe or North America. We strongly recommend that you have enough cash with you for the whole holiday. You can change money in banks (closed on weekends and national holidays) or use an ATM (there are plenty in all towns and cities). You might need some cash during program (for example – laundry/drinks in Snow Valley hotel), take it into consideration.

Moscow transit

There are three international airports in Moscow; Domodedovo (DME), Sheremetyevo (SVO), and Vnukovo (VKO). Depending on your flight plan, you might need to change airports which can be a time consuming. If you do need to change airports, we strongly recommend you allow at least 2 hours for your airport-to-airport transfers.

Gear:

Please service your skis or board before arrival, or bring pocket waxes as there is no ski-service at our base. We have some repair parts and tools to fix most common problems which might arise, but we do not have equipment for hot waxing.

We advise you to carefully read the following list. You will not be able to buy or rent the equipment out here, so do bring everything with you. If you have any questions about equipment or items on (or not on) this list please don’t hesitate to email and ask for advice.

Here is an example of set of clothes that we recommend. You can change it according to your preferences, but be sure that your clothes suit the weather and temperature during your trip.

Clothing:

Weather Layer Top - Gore-Tex/Softshell or other waterproof breathable jacket

Weather Layer Pants - Gore-Tex/Softshell or other waterproof breathable pants

Warm jacket – Down/synthetic

Mid-Insulation Layer Top - Polartec 100 or analogue

Base Layer Top and Bottom, mid or warm – 2 pieces each

Mid weight socks - 2-3 pairs

Hat

Sun cap

Light gloves

Insulated gloves or mittens

Hut shoes

Ski gear:

Skis or Splitboard

Skins. Glue should be in good condition, renew if necessary.

Touring Boots

Ski crampons

Telescopic Poles

Ski helmet

Binding/Boot/Pole/Skin Repair Kit - tools and parts to fix your personal gear

Ski-mountaineering gear (we might need it for the short sections on the volcanoes):

Boot crampons, compatible with your boots. Aluminium or steel, 10/12-points

Ice axe, 55-65 cm.

Lightweight harness (Black Diamond Couloir or analogue)

Carabiner, pear-shaped – 2 pc.

Avalanche gear:

Transceiver (two antenna minimum), extra batteries.

Probe

Shovel

Personal equipment:

Backpack, 25-35 litres

Duffel, for carrying your stuff by snowmobile, water resistant.

Personal First Aid kit, blister kit

Thermos, 0.5-0.7 litres

Water flask, 1 litre

Sunglasses, plus extra pair (CE rated 3 or 4)

Ski goggles

Headlamp with extra batteries

Personal toiletries, light towel.

Sun/Cold and Lip Cream

Mutnovsky hut sleeping gear:

Sleeping bag (rated to 0C or warmer). Synthetic is preferable.

Sleeping pad, 3 or 4-seasons. Possible to rent on spot (if you wish to rent, let us know at least 2 weeks in advance).

 

About the Guide

 
 

I am ori­gin­ally from Kamchatka and I have de­voted my time to ex­plor­ing the moun­tains of the re­gion from child­hood. I've been guid­ing in Kamchatka since 1999 and run guid­ing pro­jects, or­gan­ised ava­lanche courses and worked for the Rus­si­an Moun­tain Guides As­so­ci­ation (RMGA).

I am one of few Rus­si­ans who par­ti­cip­ated in the Ca­na­dian Moun­tain & Ski Guide Pro­gram, and the first and only Ski Guide in Rus­sia to be cer­ti­fied through the As­so­ci­ation of Ca­na­dian Moun­tain Guides (ACMG Ski Guide).

My travel and guid­ing ex­per­i­ence in­cludes many great des­tin­a­tions, such as Kamchatka, Siber­ia, Cau­cas­us, Ja­pan, South Amer­ica, Canada, In­dia and Ant­arc­tica to name a few. Even though I am based in the Chamonix val­ley now, I spend sev­er­al months each year in Kamchatka and Siberia ski tour­ing and skiing and I be­lieve them to be one of the best moun­tains in the world.

CAA Avalanche Operations Level 2 diploma. Avalanche instructor, forecaster and safety consultant. Wilderness First Responder. Mem­ber of the RMGA Tech­nic­al Com­mit­tee, instructor-assistant at the Rus­si­an Moun­tain Guide School.

 
 
FROM 2890 EURper person
 

 

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