Elbrus in winter and in summer
The decision on the revival of the Resorts of the North Caucasus was taken at the federal level, even before the return of Crimea, economic sanctions and the fall of the ruble. It was based on the fact that tourists would be better spending money in the country, and the Caucasus received another incentive for development. In accordance with the decisions of the government, nine resorts were included in the tourism cluster of the North Caucasus Federal District, Krasnodar Territory and Adygea – Arkhyz, Veduchi, Elbrus-Bezengi, Mamison, Armkhi, Matlas, Lagonaki and the Caspian coastal cluster and spa resorts.
Vestnik Kavkaza describes the resorts which have already been discovered by tourists and those which have just started to be constructed.
Elbrus is the highest mountain of Russia and Europe. Its height is 5642 meters. The two peaks of Elbrus are separated by a huge saddle and are situated 3 km from each other. They are included on the list of the greatest peaks of the planet and the list of the biggest extinct volcanoes. Since Soviet times the Elbrus region has been a popular center for mountain skiing and an all-season resort. However, the tourist infrastructure is outdated. At the moment, external infrastructure facilities, including those which protect roads, are being built in the Elbrus-Bezengi Resort in Kabardino-Balkaria within the federal target program of the South of Russia (2014-2020).
The new functional zoning of the Prielbrusye National Park was approved this February for the creation of the all-season tourist and recreational complex Elbrus-Bezengi. It will finish implementing land and property regulations on the resort’s territory by the end of the year.
According to recommendations of the international partner of the Resorts of the North Caucasus, the French company Compagnie des Alpes, by the end of the 2014/2015 season the slopes will be twice as broad and improved. At the moment the width of the slopes is being increased to 80m, as in all leading mountain skiing resorts. They say this has led to a significant growth in the tourist flow in the Elbrus region. 94% of the people who spent vacations there in December-March promised to return there next season.
This summer a montage of the lowest station of the third line of the gondola lift has been started in the special economic tourist-recreation zone in Kabardino-Balkaria, on the slopes of Elbrus. It will connect a part from the Mir Station to the Gara-Bashi Station. The cableway will be the highest mountain cableway in Russia and Europe. At the moment, the highest mountain lift is situated on the French part of Mont Blanc. The upper station of the cableway is situated at a height of 3842 m; on Elbrus, the highest point will be situated at 3847 m. The difference is only five meters, but it is significant in mountain conditions. The work will be finished in November. Therefore, the third part of the gondola lift will be ready by the mountain skiing season of 2015/2016. According to the investment plans of the executive company of the Resorts of the North Caucasus, it is planned to allocate more than 6 billion rubles for development of the resort till 2020.
Before the mountain skiing season, climbing is very popular in Elbrus. Two standard options are offered: from the south with accommodation in a private residential area or a mini-hotel in the village of Terskol; from the north with the use of a field camp.
One can do paragliding or visit the Museum of Elbrus Defense, which is situated at the Mir Station of the cableway.
The glaciers at the peak of Elbrus are attractive for ice-climbers. One can also drink glacial mineral water from Elbrus' springs.
The relevant transport accessibility of the resort is also an advantage: it is situated 160km from the international airport of Mineralnye Vody and 70km from the international airport in Nalchik.
You can stay in any village of the recreational zone of the Elbrus region. Prices are lower than in hotels. Those who prefer more comfort stay at the Sky Elbrus Hotel. There are rooms with free Wi-Fi, a restaurant with Caucasus and European cuisines, a spa, massage, sauna, a ski-rental center and free parking. Or you can stay at the Turbaza Sokol hostel in Terskol. The village of Terskol is one of the strongest rescue bases of Russia's EMERCOM.