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Nov 24, 2021
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The West is crying with envy: A ski boom with big money begins in Russia

The West is crying with envy: A ski boom with big money begins in Russia

Photo: Stanislav Krasilnikov / TASS

Russia will have a boom in ski construction in the coming years. The governors are vying with each other to present projects of new complexes. And not at all out of love for tourists, but out of love for money. After all, the government promises to generously finance ski resort projects.

This reminds of the Yeltsin times, when, after the president, all the governors suddenly rushed to play tennis.

They promise to give 418 billion

The sweetest thing for an official in the new state program “Tourism Development” is the amount of funding. In 2022, 136.4 billion rubles will be allocated, in 2023 – 139.3 billion rubles, and in 2024 – 142.4 billion rubles. It should be understood that this is not only budgetary money, but also private investors will invest their funds subject to government co-financing or direct government support.

418 billion rubles is a tasty morsel for which the governors are ready to fight. And a significant part of the funds will go to the development of ski tourism, which is devoted to a separate section in the state program. If you read the document very carefully, it becomes clear that funding will not end in 2024, but will last at least until 2030.

What are they going to build by 2030?

The ski tourism market in Russia is expected to grow 1.6 times. The number of hotel rooms on the territory of ski complexes will grow to 24 thousand rooms. 3 new ski complexes will be built, comparable in length of tracks with the largest complex in Russia (now it is Krasnaya Polyana). Finally, up to 2 million people will be involved in ski tourism and recreation.

Rostourism, which oversees the state program, promises not only to build new complexes, but also to solve the problems of those that already exist.

Unify ski tourism statistics. Develop a transparent classification of trails and other ski tourism facilities. Develop and implement standards for safe skiing “on the slope” and “off-piste”. To organize the production of domestic equipment, sports equipment and other goods for skiers.

Even Turkey will have to compete

It is doubtful, however, that even by 2030 Russia will learn to do at least something remote, similar in quality to the Poma or Doppelmayr cable cars, Rossignol alpine skis or Spyder ski clothing.

Almost all brands in this segment of recreation are not Russian at all. Including because such a holiday has become widespread quite recently. For the same reason, by the way, the authors of the state program promise that new Russian resorts can only compete with Krasnaya Polyana.

They don’t even stutter about foreign competition. Meanwhile, in terms of the level of development of the ski industry, Russia loses even to Turkey, where more than 50 ski resorts are currently being built or planned.

For example, for the World Winter Universiade in 2011 in the north-east of the country (near Erzurum), 2 publicly accessible complexes were built at once – Konakli and Palandöken. In the future, they will merge into a single ski resort “Grand Erzurum”, the largest in Turkey.

Ski resorts on the outskirts of Ankara and even in Antalya. There are always a lot of Russian tourists here. But on the contrary – that the Turks went for a drive in Sochi, Arkhyz or Dombay – does not happen. And even more so, there are practically no discerning Europeans on the Russian ski slopes.

“Wishlist” have little to do with reality

In theory, it is necessary to develop the infrastructure and improve the level of service at the existing resorts. So that people do not languish in endless queues and complain about inadequate prices. But instead, the government promises to build more and more resorts. And sometimes in the most exotic places. Even in the subtropical Crimea.

Probably the Crimean governor Sergey Aksenov was inspired by the example of the Turkish Saklikent on the Taurus ridge, from which the coast is only 50 km in a straight line. Aksenov promises that ski slopes may appear on the Chatyr-Dag ridge. It is even closer to the sea from it than in Turkey – only 20 kilometers. The amount of investment is not yet known.

And the youngest governor of Russia is also thinking about building his own ski resort. Dmitry Artyukhov… The resort will cost 20 billion rubles: there are several tracks of different categories with lifts, a ski school, a camp site with hotels, restaurants and a SPA center.

Artyukhov even hopes that the skiers will then go to other regions in transit. First of all, to the Republic of Komi, on the border with which they are going to build a resort – on the slopes of the Rai-Iz mountain range. It is curious, however, how many tourists want to fly to hell on the middle of nowhere to go snowboarding or skiing ?! And such a trip will cost a pretty penny for a Muscovite or Petersburger.

Meanwhile, they want to build their own resort even in the Volga region, and specifically in the Samara region. On Mount Otvazhnaya near Zhigulevsk, they want to lay several tracks. And in the Novgorod region in 2015, the Lyubogorye complex was opened. From the cities of central Russia, where the bulk of the country’s inhabitants live, it is much closer to get here than to the environs of Vorkuta. So, as you can see, often the “wishlist” of the governors have little to do with reality.

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