As award-winning Russian ski resort Rosa Khutor celebrates its tenth anniversary with the opening of the brand new Doppelmayer cable automobile, Breaking Journey Information chats with normal director Alexander Belokobylskyi to seek out out extra
Breaking Journey Information: The primary occasion of the anniversary winter season would be the launch of a brand new ski carry from 2,320 meters above sea stage to the southern slope. What are you able to inform us about that?
Alexander Belokobylskyi: An deserted apiary. A wild river. A forest. Mountains. A skinny thread of dust highway. And nothing extra. Precisely like this, the place was the place the biggest mountain resort within the nation, Rosa Khutor, is situated.
Immediately there are 29 state-of-the-art lifts, over 100 kilometres of ski pistes, and as much as two million guests yearly.
On December 15th, the mountain complicated celebrates its first anniversary – ten years since opening.
BTN: The tenth anniversary of Rosa Khutor is a critical date for the very younger Russian ski tourism. Congratulations!
AB: Thanks, however I wish to level out that it’s the tenth anniversary of the ski centre’s opening. The creation of the resort started a lot earlier – the corporate Rosa Khutor appeared again in 2003, and we began to suppose over the challenge and the idea.
BTN: It seems that the concept of making a resort will not be associated to the Winter Olympics in 2014, as many suppose. In any case, there have been competitions in Alpine snowboarding, and the biggest variety of awards have been drawn.
AB: The concept of making a ski resort in Sochi’s mountains appeared even earlier than town received the bid to host the Olympics. The plan was to have a small resort with six lifts and a number of other resorts. At the moment, nobody thought of a bigger challenge. This was as a result of lack of the mandatory accompanying infrastructure – there have been inadequate energy and water provide and an underdeveloped highway community.
Nevertheless, we imagine that our plans to construct a ski resort performed an essential function in the truth that Sochi was chosen because the Olympic capital. That is as a result of uniqueness of the place. It takes a variety of venues to host the Winter Olympics. And if stadiums may be constructed nearly wherever, if just for funding, then for snowboarding competitions, you want pistes with particular, inflexible parameters – with a transparent drop in altitude. You can’t simply take a mountain and pile it on; you want particular terrain!
In line with the worldwide specialists’ estimates, it grew to become clear – Rosa Khutor pistes are perfect for the Olympic begins. Naturally, after receiving the appropriate to host the Winter Olympics, we revised our plans, and the resort grew to become a lot bigger.
The help of the state, which undertook the creation of the mandatory engineering and highway infrastructure, was of nice significance. In fact, no enterprise may bear such bills.
BTN: While you come to Rosa Khutor right this moment, it appears to be like like a fairy-tale gingerbread city: fairly homes with turrets alongside the river, a bridge, the city corridor. How did all of it start?
AB: Completely from scratch. After we received to the grounds, there was nothing right here. In the beginning of the final century, there was a farmstead of Estonian settlers right here, nevertheless it was lengthy deserted. In entrance of us, there was solely a mountain river, a wild forest, and a slim dust highway, on which it was tough to drive to the cordon of the Caucasus Nature Reserve.
I actually was born in Krasnaya Polyana. At the moment it was a small village of four-to-five thousand individuals. And all the encircling magnificence, the mountains, the river, the air, the forest, primarily belonged to this small group of individuals.
The village, regardless of its distinctive nature and local weather, was not creating. There was no highway. We have been related to town by one freeway with a piece that the residents referred to as “God Bless You!” 4 kilometres, sheer cliff down, sheer cliff up. Giant automobiles couldn’t move on such a highway in winter due to the snow, and we have been minimize off from Sochi for weeks. Then the development of the tunnels started, the laying of the brand new route. I keep in mind when the primary bus with vacationers arrived within the village. It was a grand occasion.
BTN: Do you remorse that your childhood village has modified a lot? And environmentalists are involved that the resort is encroaching on the Caucasus Biosphere Reserve.
AB: That is my homeland, and naturally, I care about all the things that occurs right here. However this growth has benefited not solely Krasnaya Polyana however the complete area. Once I graduated from highschool, I needed to depart for an additional metropolis. There have been merely no jobs for younger individuals within the village.
As for environmentalists, defending nature is a significant a part of their duties. However we didn’t construct a metallurgical plant or an industrial plant. We constructed a resort. All those that feared that we might destroy nature now know that nothing of the kind has occurred. Every little thing may be very harmonious.
Sure, we needed to minimize down some bushes. However we planted tens of hundreds of seedlings and replanted endangered vegetation monitored by specialists at numerous ranges. In addition to, for some purpose, nobody remembers that there was once a forestry enterprise in Krasnaya Polyana, and timber was harvested on an industrial scale. However not anymore.
All our initiatives have handed the primary state experience, which incorporates environmental points. And, as observe reveals, the necessities of Russian regulation are sometimes stricter than worldwide guidelines. Even right this moment, we pay a variety of consideration to the preservation of the setting. For instance, we have now a program for separate rubbish assortment, recycling, and power conservation. Ski pistes are sown with native grass to strengthen the slopes.
BTN: How tough was the interval of Olympic development?
AB: Naturally, the preparation for the Olympics was difficult. Our nation had no expertise in any respect with the Winter Olympics, no specialists. Overseas specialists have been concerned. In fact, some helped us wholeheartedly, whereas others did the alternative. Now it’s clear that we did a variety of further work, someplace we have been pressured to spend more cash. For instance, there’s a highway that results in the end space. A single tunnel challenge was made for it. However the IOC specialists insisted on constructing a second tunnel. And sadly, there have been such moments. However we pulled all of it off and had a extremely nice Olympics.
BTN: After the Olympics, there have been critical fears that many expensive services would turn out to be redundant and deserted. In your case, they clearly didn’t come true?
AB: We did have some considerations in regards to the summer time season. It’s all clear in winter – snowboarding or snowboarding, however individuals don’t perceive what they’ll do within the mountains in summer time. One of many first steps was the seashore within the Imereti Lowlands, which we rented and began providing a package deal of lodging within the mountains plus a switch to the seashore. We determined to develop summer time actions. Immediately, a lot of them are on the resort – these are suspension bridges, high-mountain swings, rope parks, mountain climbing, seashore on the mountain lake, and way more. Because of this, our summer time visitors right this moment is similar to the winter one.
Most of all, our visitors prefer to stroll by the Mendelikha waterfall park. It is a number of landscaped trails with stairs, platforms, benches, which open seven waterfalls to vacationers without delay. Daily they’re visited by three to 5 thousand individuals. The following hottest is the rodelbahn, a railroad with sleds on wheels, which is situated at 1,100 meters above sea stage.
We launched this attraction two years in the past and evaluated its monetary mannequin, however we couldn’t even assume that our expectations can be so exceeded. Now we’re going to enhance the rodelban, we are going to make lighting, and it’ll work within the night.
BTN: This summer time season was very uncommon. On the one hand, there’s the pandemic, which has undermined tourism, and alternatively, there’s the explosive demand for journey inside the nation. How did you survive the quarantine, and the way do you consider the outcomes of the summer time season?
AB: Naturally, like for different vacationer websites, the quarantine was a tough time for us. It’s good that we had a fairly profitable winter season, respectively, it was potential to maintain all our employees. After the quarantine, the resort opened on June 20th. Climate situations made it potential to increase the summer time season till November 15th.
We plan to start out the winter season on December 25th. As for the figures in numbers, they are going to be about 1.6 million for this yr. It’s not a lot lower than in 2019.
BTN: What are you ready for within the winter? How are the reservations going?
AB: Judging by the summer time season, by how drained individuals have been of sitting in 4 partitions through the quarantine, we’re going to have a busy winter. Immediately we have now an opportunity to point out those that beforehand didn’t know what Rosa Khutor was and went snowboarding in Italy or France that our nation additionally has high quality resorts.
We now have good resorts, trendy ski lifts, each summer time we refine and put together pistes, and we have now 102 kilometres of them, we have now very certified employees. So there’s all the things to make those that come to Rosa Khutor this winter for the primary time wish to come again once more. I can say that now the resort resorts for the January holidays are already booked nearly fully, the reservation for the remaining winter months is on the tempo of final yr.
The winter season’s foremost occasion would be the launch of the brand new ski carry from 2,320 meters above sea stage to the southern slope. Skiers and snowboarders like to ski on the southern slope – it’s extra open, there are wider and gentler pistes. However to date solely two lifts work there. They’re chairlifts, and so they can typically be closed due to opposed climate situations. Consequently, queues accumulate, and it marred the snowboarding. The brand new carry will probably be a form of doubler. Will probably be closed, gondola-type, with cabins for as much as ten individuals. This may considerably scale back the queues.
BTN: This would be the 30th carry at Rosa Khutor. What number of workers does it take to serve your total family?
AB: Immediately, our resort employs greater than 2,500 individuals. Along with companions and tenants, this determine is about 3,500. And if we speak about visitors, it’s about 15 thousand individuals a day along with them on the resort. An actual small city! For us, our personnel are important. We now have an enormous space, and we even have distinctive companies that aren’t out there wherever else within the nation. For instance, the avalanche service. We looked for specialists for it amongst meteorologists throughout Russia. We even have the nation’s first skilled lifeguard unit. It was sophisticated with personnel within the pre-Olympic interval. Sure, we attracted international specialists, however somebody needed to undertake their expertise.
For instance, the snowcat drivers. You should know how you can drive on mountain slopes and never be afraid to drive such enormous and costly automobiles – every prices greater than one million euros. We thought of it and invited the blokes who used to take vacationers across the mountains in jeeps. And it was an important resolution. Within the pre-Olympic interval, our individuals confirmed actual heroism. We labored day and night time.
BTN: How do you propose to rejoice your anniversary?
AB: We all know how you can manage holidays, however this yr we comply with the present scenario and comply with all the necessities of division of the Federal Service for supervision of shopper rights safety and human welfare within the Krasnodar area .
BTN: What’s new on the resort this yr?
AB: As you understood, we predict large, so our plan is to revive the pure, mountain climbing tourism, which as soon as existed within the Soviet Union, and right this moment is well-liked world wide. Sadly, there are numerous issues with the event of this path in our nation. There are such a lot of stunning locations in Russia, however it’s not possible to see them. Most frequently they’re situated in specifically protected areas.
To open them to travellers, main modifications within the regulation are mandatory. However right this moment it’s time to remedy these issues. For the third yr in a row, we organised a convention devoted to the event of nature tourism in our nation, with revered specialists’ participation. Step-by-step we remedy this drawback. It’s not simple, however I’m certain that the time will come, and also you come to Rosa Khutor and can be capable of take a backpack, select an applicable route and stroll it.
Already right this moment, we have now greater than 70 km of mountain climbing trails on the resort, however we wish to considerably increase the community of those routes and create a system of glamping, the place you’ll be able to keep in a single day. Imagine me, once you stroll within the mountains, by the woods, throughout silence, you get unforgettable expertise and feelings. Will probably be potential to attempt this type of recreation at Rosa Khutor subsequent yr.
Discover out extra on the official web site.