From Kamchatka Explorer Magazine: Sport in Kamchatka – From Surfing to Golf

Mountaineering in Kamchatka can be practiced by everyone – by inexperienced tourists and professional alpinists as mountains suitable for climbing are plentiful here, starting with “backyard” Kozelsky Volcano and finishing with the highest volcano in Eurasia – Kluchevskaya Sopka.

Photo: Valentin Yakovenko

Snowkiting is skiing with a kite. This leisure activity includes travel over snow valleys, high thrilling jumps, and freeride on relief. Few people know that with a snowboard it is possible not only to ski downhill but also to ascend it.
Snowkiting, perhaps, is one of the most dynamic of all winter sports, and finally it is available in Kamchatka.

Photo: Ilya Seredkin

SUP (stand up paddle) is water gliding on a board, which resembles a surf board, with a help of a paddle. The water surface, tranquility, fresh air, and rhythmic motions with the paddle can easily put a person into slight meditation. At the same time, mild aerobic exertion helps to work out all hidden muscles.

Traveling by SUP may take one to totally wild places and let one see familiar places anew. This leisure activity can be interesting for everybody. Travel, evening promenades, yoga on the water surface, and a simpler surfing – all these are SUP.

Surfing in Kamchatka first appeared in 2004. But only during the last two years this sport became so popular that it is practiced all year round. Surfing in Kamchatka can be done only with special equipment as the water in the Pacific is cold, reaching its thermal maximum of +17 C in summer. However, a diving suit is not enough in winter. A surfer may need not only a suit for winter surfing but also a pair of mittens and boots as the water temperature in February is about 0 C, while in May it is only +5 C. Khalaktyrsky beach, located 15 km from Petropavlovsk or 20-30 minute drive by car, is the city’s main surf spot.

Photo: Anna Gavrilova

Kayaking together with surfing are two of the most environmentally friendly types of extreme tourism. Avacha Bay makes a perfect place for kayaking, with many small creeks and coves to explore. Paddle to rocky fringes inaccessible from land. Enter sea grottos, carved by tidal waves over centuries, passable only by narrow boats. Kayaking in Kamchatka can guide you to an unforgettable world full of adventures and taking you away from life’s routine.

Photo: Anna Boyarkina

Golf is popular all year round on all continents. According to statistics, over 60 million people play golf in various countries. Kamchatka is no exception! Every person can take a club and play golf.

Downhill skiing and snowboarding usually take place on groomed runs in holiday resorts. However, backcountry (including the ascent to the top of a mountain on foot) and freeride skiing (downhill skiing on ungroomed runs) have been gaining increasing popularity.

Photo: Mikhail Kotlyarchuk

Heli-skiing is an expensive variation of freeride skiing. At the same time, it is the most extreme and fascinating. Kamchatka is one of few places with the best heli-skiing opportunities to ski mountain and volcanic slopes. First, a helicopter takes skiers high above snowcapped mountain tops, and then it drops them on the chosen peak where a long downhill run on intact snow begins. Attention! Heli-skiing without experienced guides is dangerous. Only guides can show a safe run to avoid avalanches.

Photo: Elena Vereschaka

A ski-tour is a combination of a mountain and tourist ski trip with a possibility to do downhill skiing on slopes inaccessible with ski lifts. On special skis tourists do cross-country skiing which includes assents and descents.

Photo: Alyona Dmitrieva

Ski-alpinism appeared not long ago as a combination of two kinds of sport – downhill skiing and mountaineering.
The equipment for ski-alpinism is quite tricky. The skis must be suitable not only for going down but also for ascending slopes. That’s why special ski bindings are used for ski-tours. This binding allows one to ski downhill and ski backcountry as a special mechanism releases the heels for walking. Climbing skins are attached to the skis preventing the skier from sliding backwards. To climb snow ice, ski crampons are used.

Cross-country skiing is very popular in Kamchatka with old and young, small and large as snow abounds here even in June, and ski areas are located not far from the city. The Lesnaya Ski Resort boasts 42 km of groomed ski trails and offers ski rentals and accompanying equipment, and it also has a café. Ski marathons take place in Kamchatka – Mutnovsky Extreme and Avachinsky.

Skijoring – more dog tracks can be found on ski runs. They are left by dogs training with sportsmen and women. According to the rules, a skier is pulled by one, rarely by two harnessed dogs linked with a special rope. Skijoring is practiced for individual training of the lead dogs for dog teams, but lately it has become popular on its own.

Wakeboarding is an extreme sport combining features of slalom waterskiing, tricks, and jumping. In cable wakeboarding an individual is pulled by a motorized cable ski installation instead of a boat. There are full circles where individuals do full laps (wake parks). In Kamchatka, a wake park opened in 2014.

 

This article was published with permission from Kamchatka Explore Magazine. Photos courtesy of Kamchatka Explore Magazine

 

Would you like to learn more about travel to Kamchatka? Kamchatka Explorer Magazine is produced by Kamchatka Explorer publishing house with the support of the regional government’s office of tourism. It provides an excellent overview of opportunities for adventure and relaxation on the peninsula.

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USEFUL LINKS:

  • Alaska – Russian Far East Flights: Direct, non-stop air service between Alaska and Kamchatka.
  • Tours to Kamchatka: Many trips are synchronized with Yakutia Airlines’ summer service; the rest can be readily adapted to the airline’s schedule upon request.
  • Check Kamchatka Travel Portal. It provides a wealth of information about many local activities, restaurants, hotels, and more.

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