Elbrus region, Mount Elbrus (Photo: ayhsafari0 | Pixabay License)
Elbrus is a resort in Kabardino-Balkaria, at the foot of the Cheget and Elbrus mountains. Its unique nature and skiing opportunities make it a popular destination for holidaymakers. People come here to ski, climb the highest peak in Russia, taste the famous narzan, which is mined at the Baksan-Bashi-Ullu-Gara field. The developed infrastructure of the resort provides comfort for tourists and vacationers.
This article contains information about the Elbrus region: the best time to travel, what to do, what are the prices, where to live, and how to get there.
Since Elbrus is, first of all, a ski resort, the best time to relax is the winter season - from November to March. Due to the temperate continental climate, there is a stable snow cover in winter, and the average January temperature is -6 ° C.
It is almost always sunny here - in some valleys there are more than 300 sunny days a year. The average temperature in July is + 15 ° C.
Elbrus region unites several villages located near the main peak of Russia and Europe: Tyrnyauz, Verkhniy Baksan, Baidaevo, Tegenekli, Neutrino, Elbrus and Terskol (the closest village). Arriving here on vacation, you can stay in hotels, mini-hotels, boarding houses and recreation centers. Living conditions are different - from comfortable rooms to camping conditions.
Ski slope in the Elbrus region (Photo: Ekaterina Brudnaya-Chelyadinova | Photobank Lori)
The Elbrus region includes 2 systems of ski tracks - Polyany Cheget and Azau. The distance between them is 4.5 km. Cheget is located at the foot of the mountain peak of the same name, at an altitude of 2100 to 3070 m. Its slopes are considered the most difficult not only in Russia, but also in Europe, so experienced skiers and freeride lovers prefer to relax here. There are 15 tracks in the ski area with a total length of 20 km. You can climb the slopes using towing roads, one- or two-seat lifts. A subscription for a day costs 800 rubles.
Azau glade lies at the foot of Elbrus. She owns 7 tracks 12 km long, which are located at altitudes from 2300 to 3780 m. The ski area on Elbrus is more comfortable, suitable for both beginners and professionals. Pendulum, chair and gondola lifts lift the skiers up. The cost of a ski pass is from 1400 rubles for one ascent and descent.
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Trails and lifts
There are two ski areas in the Elbrus region. Elbrus's marked tracks are wide, with a comfortable slope, ideal for training and quiet skiing.
The Cheget tracks are considered the most difficult in the world. The mounds in the second stage are famous all over the world and do not forgive mistakes and insufficient qualifications. Read in full »
There are two ski areas in the Elbrus region. Elbrus's marked tracks are wide, with a comfortable slope, ideal for training and quiet skiing. Cheget tracks are considered the most difficult in the world. The mounds in the second stage are famous all over the world and do not forgive mistakes and insufficient qualifications.
Mount Cheget (3,700 m) Height difference - 1,000 m.
The Cheget Ski Complex began its work in the middle of the 20th century. The country's first chairlift on Mount Cheget was put into operation in 1963. The long and relatively steep Cheget track has rightfully earned the title of one of the most difficult in the Soviet Union. In February 1963, the winter sports day was held on the slopes of Cheget. The construction of a chairlift at the Cheget ski resort has contributed to the development of skiing. Since then, the Cheget ski complex has won worldwide fame, and the Cheget track has established itself as one of the most difficult ski tracks in the world.
The Cheget tracks are recognized as one of the most difficult not only in Russia, but also in Europe. The Cheget ski complex attracts experienced riders from all over Russia and abroad thanks to its black slopes and endless opportunities for freeride and backcountry. The dreams of experienced freeriders come true precisely on Cheget: untouched virgin land, super-complex combined options, slope of the track from 20 ° to 45 °, tracks through a pine forest - all this is skiing on Cheget. There are no snow groomers and well-groomed trails - here you are alone with the silence of the mountains and wildlife.
The slopes of Cheget are steep, there are no easy tracks here at all. Mostly red and black. The famous Cheget Hills (in the second stage) are the best way to check if you really own alpine skiing.
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Elbrus itself is an attraction, as it is the highest mountain in Russia and Europe, included in the list of the highest peaks of the planet "Seven Summits". Elbrus is an extinct volcano and consists of two peaks. The western summit has a height of 5642 m, the eastern one - 5621 m. The distance between the summits is approximately 3 km.
There are a couple of museums that are a nice addition to your mountain vacation. The most visited is the Vysotsky Mountaineering and Hunting Museum in Tegenekli. The exposition contains hunting trophies collected over 30 years and memorable gifts and photographs of famous people who could not imagine life without Elbrus. The Elbrus Defense Museum, the highest in the world (3500 m above sea level)
The cafe is located at an altitude of 2750 meters. Its round building, perched on an artificially created site right on the mountainside, has been welcoming skiers and snowboarders for many years. Built in the 60s, it was the first and, perhaps, the only alpine cafe in the USSR. His image, replicated by numerous postcards, photographs and badges, has become the hallmark of the Elbrus region.
This place is truly iconic and has the unofficial name "Cafe Vizbora". Cafe is inextricably linked with bards and bard songs. They say that Yuri Vizbor liked to stay in a hut near the Ai cafe and came here for breakfast in the morning. Here the texts of his new songs and stories for stories were born. In the 90s, the Ai cafe served as a set for the film Breakfast with a View of Elbrus, an adaptation of Vizbor's novel of the same name.
The first head of the Cheget cable car, who is also considered a legendary figure in the Caucasus, also visited the cafe. And, finally, Vladimir Vysotsky dropped in at Ai. It was during the filming of the film "Height". In the village of Tegenekli, a whole museum is dedicated to the famous bard and actor.
They say that in this cafe they serve the most delicious khychins - cakes with potatoes and cheese or meat. From the observation deck of the cafe, while enjoying a cup of fragrant tea or aromatic mulled wine on a sunny day, it is pleasant to admire the two-headed summit of Elbrus and the picturesque Baksan valley going into the distance.
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In the Elbrus region, off-piste skiing is available both on Elbrus and Cheget. Also, routes to Mount Kogutai in the ski tour mode are actively mastered here, and in spring heli-skiing is possible.
On Elbrus, these are, first of all, routes with descent into the gorges - Gara-Bashi and Terskolskoye, and a hike to the Echo Voyage pass. It should be noted that most of the passes on Elbrus, and especially the slopes, have a southern exposure, which should be taken into account when planning skiing from the point of view of avalanche safety, especially in spring. In general, the off-piste lines on Elbrus cannot be classified as very difficult; for a trained rider, it is rather fun riding on a good sunny day. Yes, there are no big slopes here, but the routes are very long, sometimes up to two kilometers in difference. Therefore, you need to calculate your strength.
The route with an exit through Gara-Bashi is accessible from the top of the Gara-Bashi lift station 3850m, then through the fields you will find yourself in a very picturesque gorge, the height of the rocks is about a hundred meters. Roll-out from the gorge in the area of the old hotel "Azau". This route is technically uncomplicated, but it requires a good preparation of the rider to pass the gorge. There are quite narrow places here and the snow condition is not always good.
The route through the Terskolskoye gorge begins higher, you need to climb to Shelter 11 by snowmobile or snowmobile, then you cross the glacier. After stopping at the Ice Base, you can admire the breaks in the ice from a close but safe distance. Further, you also move through the fields and find yourself on a summer tractor road, which serves as a traverse in winter and leads to the Terskol peak, from there, through the romantic Terskol gorge, you descend through the koshars to the village of Terskol.
Here - as well as on the first route - there are options to diversify skiing. You can drive through the observatory, you can go down through the Wolf's mouth or through other corridors. But it should be noted right away that these exits are very difficult and avalanche hazardous, designed for an expert rider. The trek to the Echo Voyage Pass will take you a full day of skiing. It can be done only in a group, with the guides having the necessary rock equipment, because the glacier is also crossed here.
Resume. Seemingly not very difficult for an experienced freerider, Mount Elbrus is fraught with ice and snow dangers. The routes need to be taken only in a group under the supervision of experienced Elbrus guides, who have the opportunity to observe and remember the movement of the glacier all year round.
This year my friend and I decided to go to the Elbrus region for a week. We decided suddenly - we bought tickets for the next day, flew "Pobeda" without luggage, only with hand luggage.
Read more about how to get to the Elbrus region here
At the same time, I was still worried that without tents, sleeping bags, etc. in such a place we will have nothing to do. The fears were in vain. We managed to see a lot. Every day we walked many kilometers (10-20 km) along mountain paths and admired the unreal beauty. At the same time, they lived in comfort and were relieved of the burden of backpacks.
We chose Terskol as the town of our stay. Hence, there are many options for where to go to the radial exits. In Terskol we rented a room in a guest house. It cost us 1000 rubles per person per day. If you look for housing in advance, I think you can find it cheaper, but we didn't have much options.
The house had everything you needed: hot shower, kitchen, internet, etc. The location was also very convenient - in the center of Terskol and it was convenient to start walking and trekking from there. However, Terskol is a very small town, I think that it will be convenient to settle in any part of it.
With us in the house in the neighboring rooms lived guys who also made radial walks, but they were preparing to climb the summit of Elbrus. We were not ready for such feats, we were interested in seeing just the most beautiful places in the area. I think we did it.
T. ... we had only a week, of which 2 days were spent on the road (i.e. we had only 5 days left for full-fledged walks), we planned a very busy program for ourselves. If you have more days, I strongly advise you to stretch this program for a little longer, because. it's hard to walk such distances every day.
In general, Cheget can be climbed on lifts. But on the lifts you miss most of the beauty, so we went on foot. At first the trail was steep, then it became easier. It wasn't easy to be honest, but we were rewarded with crazy views.
We had a rest in cafes at each lift station. They sell simply unrealistically delicious pasties with lingonberries. Only for the sake of them I still want to return to Cheget.
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