Skitouring on Avachinsky and Koryaksky volcanoes and in Paratunka valley

This programme is a good mix of skitouring on volcanoes and birch trees powder skiing.

If you are in Kamchatka for the first time and looking for a mix of different type of terrain, amazing views and quality skiing, this programme is a good choice. It has moderate physical and technical difficulty, and suits intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders with skitouring/splitboarding experience.

We start on Avachinsky pass, staying in mountain hut and skitouring on the slopes of Avachinsky and Koryaksky volcanoes. Skitouring is not very technical, but provides exciting skiing and impressive views. In good weather, you'll see the breathtaking panorama of the Avachinskaya bay, Petropavlovsk, volcanoes surrounding and the Shipunsky mountain range.

After three days of skiing on the pass we move to the south, to the Paratunka river valley, where we spend two days enjoying birch tree powder skiing and relaxing in hot springs. Daily skitours are not technically and physically difficult, but provide good tree line skiing with breathtaking sceneries.

Booking

Dates 2018 (dates of arriving to Petropavlovsk and departure from):
March 18-25
March 25 - April 01
April 01-08
April 08-15

Custom dates are available

Price: 1840 EUR, per person.
Group discounts available, contact us for details.

Price includes:

  • 6 days of guiding
  • All transportation according to the programme
  • Meals on Avachinsky pass: breakfast, lunch in the mountains and dinner
  • Lunch packs for the days in Paratunka valley
  • Cooking service on Avachinsky pass
  • Accommodation in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 1st day, TWIN
  • Accommodation in mountain hut, from 2nd to 5th days, with one Banya session.
  • Accommodation in Paratunka valley, from 5th to 8th days, TWIN.

Extra expenses:

  • International and domestic airfares
  • Meals in Petropavlovsk and Paratunka
  • Personal insurance
  • Wine and spirits
  • Personal expenses

Itinerary
Day 1: Arriving in Petropavlovsk; Don't forget to book a window seat - in good weather the view of the mountain ranges and volcanoes of Kamchatka is magnificent; Accommodation in Petropavlovsk; Meet the guides, gear and clothing check and avalanche training; Rest time.
Day 2: Early morning drive to the foot of Avachinsky volcano; transfer to the pass by snowcat; skitouring on the nearby slopes.
Days 3 and 4: Skitouring/splitboarding on the slopes of Avachinsky and Koryaksky volcanoes with possible ascension on Avachinsky in one day (depending on snow and weather conditions). Elevation gain for the summit - 1800 vertical meters.
Day 5: Transfer to the hotel in Paratunka valley. Transfer by snowcat down to the road; transfer by bus to Paratunka (about 2 hours), accommodation. This day we can ski on Avachinsky pass and move to Paratunka afternoon, or leave the pass early morning and spend a skiing day in Paratunka valley.
Days 6 and 7: Skitouring in Paratunka valley.
Day 8: Morning drive from Paratunka valley to the airport, departure.

Depending on weather conditions and other factors, we can make slight changes to the programme.

Program Logistics
There is one daily flight from Moscow (SVO) to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (PKC), by Aeroflot.
Also, there are few flights fom Vladivistok (VVO) and Khabarovsk (KHV), which can work for flights from Asia or Australia.
Please, check current flight information on the air-company's websites.
Transfer from airport to Petropavlovsk takes 40-50 minutes.

Accommodation
Hotel in Petropavlovsk.
Our hotel is situated in the old centre of Petropavlovsk, close to the parks, Avachinskaya bay, historical monuments and the museum. Within 2-3 bus stops there is a good choice of cafés, restaurants and shops. Accommodation is in double rooms and the hotel is equipped with a kitchen which can be used by guests.

Mountain base on Avachinsky pass is surrounded by big volcanoes and has a nice view on the valley. Huts are simple, but warm and clean.

Accommodation in Paratunka valley is hotel with twin rooms or private chalet with twin rooms, depending on availability. Both places have pools with hot thermal water.

Camp food
We do our best to make the meals, as well as the skiing, a remarkable part of your trip. We include traditional Kamchatka products, such as fish and vegetables. Our guides are all greatly experienced in winter camp cooking and will provide meals that are tasty, healthy and nutritious.
There are two hot meals a day. Here are some examples of the menu:
- Breakfast: Porridge with berries/ cereal with milk; fried eggs/ pancakes. Tea, coffee.
- Mountain lunch: Sandwiches,chocolate bars, dried fruits/ nuts.
- Dinner: Local salads; dishes with meat or fish; sides (pasta, rice, potatoes); stewed vegetables. And of course, desserts and herbal teas.

We don’t serve any alcoholic drinks, but you are welcome to bring a reasonable amount of beer, wine or spirits.

We can accommodate special dietary requirements and food allergies. Our guests are asked to complete a registration form, and mention any dietary needs so we can be fully prepared for your arrival. Please note that all food is purchased before the trip starts and we don't have another opportunity to buy anything or change the menu during the trip.

Guiding &Group Size
Each group will be 4-5 persons. There is one guide per group.

Prerequisites
Because of the nature of the backcountry terrain, we ask our guests to meet a certain level of fitness, skiing and ski-mountaineering abilities. To join our groups, you should be:
- Intermediate or higher level of skiing/boarding, in any snow conditions, with at least 1 year ski-tour /backcountry experience.
- Healthy and in good physical shape.
- Able skin up at least 1500 vertical meters per day.
- Intermediate or higher level of ski-mountaineering (confident user of boot crampons and ice-axe on hard snow, with steepness up to 40 degrees).

Terrain
Half of the time we ski in the Alpine zone and half in treeline. Kamchatka's volcanoes - big, wide fields up to 38-40 degrees steep, classic alpine couloirs and some nice cruising on a mellow snow fields. Treeline skiing - amazing birch tree forest, up to 35 degrees steep, with some terrain features and a views on surrounding volcanoes. We could call it "Japan-style tree skiing", but it would not be true, cause it is Kamchatka-style tree skiing!

On an average day the vertical drop is 1300-1500m, but it varies according to the group's abilities. It's good to know some description, but pictures and movies tell you much more, so please check out our Media section for a better idea.

Skiing
This time of year in Kamchatka, we are definitely looking for powder skiing. Of course, there is nothing guaranteed, but our experience and local knowledge helps us to provide best possible skiing in the areas. In past years all our guests were satisfied with the snow quality, check the Testimonials section.  

Weather
Although Kamchatka lies at a similar latitude to Great Britain, cold Arctic winds from Siberia combined with the cold Ohotskoe sea current cover the peninsula in snow from October to late June. Winter months are known for their low temperatures and strong winds, which is why volcano skiing is not enjoyable then. The Spring months bring more comfortable weather - warmer, but still bringing snowfall which transforms into light powder until the end of April, or even the beginning of May up high.
In places of our skitouring programme, in March-April, night temperature is usually about minus 10-12 degrees Celsius, day temperature is around minus 5-7 in the shade, - but it feels significantly warmer in the sun. In general, the weather is identical to conditions in March/April in the Alps.
As everywhere, bad weather happens. But generally cyclones don’t last long. In fact, last year’s statistics show we were skitouring/splitboarding about 90 percent of the time.

You can check the weather forecast for our skitouring zones here – Avachinsky pass, Paratunka valley.

Visa and Insurance
To travel to Russia, most foreign nationals are required to have an Entry Visa to Russia. Russian visas can be obtained at your local Russian Embassy or Consulate. In order to apply for a visa you will need proof of your forthcoming visit to Russia, which will be supplied by Skiing In Kamchatka on receipt of your final payment. Provided all the documents are ready, the process usually takes no more than 3-10 working days for a Russian Tourist Visa. It is also possible to ask special agencies for a full visa service.

We will need copy of your visa in 2 months before arrival. This is official government rule, because of border proximity. So, please apply for visa in advance. But even if you decide to come in a last moment, this question can be solved personally.

Insurance
Being adequately insured is a condition of booking a trip with Skiing in Kamchatka. You must have travel and medical insurance, which covers backcountry skiing/freeriding, skitouring/splitboarding etc. For your peace of mind and to avoid any financial hardship that an unexpected cancellation could cause, we strongly recommend getting Trip Cancellation insurance.

Time in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky - GMT+12

Telephone and Internet
There are 3 mobile operators covering populated areas of Kamchatka. On the Avachinsky pass all 3 are available. We will not have WiFi on Avachinsky pass, but you will be able to use 3G/4G internet on your phone.

Language
Not many people in Russia speak a foreign language (more likely in big towns, less in the countryside). But people are helpful and will easily understand what you need. The alphabet is Cyrillic so reading can be difficult. We recommend you purchase a phrase-book in advance. In Kamchatka, you will be accompanied by an English-speaking Ski Guide. Some of our guides speak basic French and Spanish, but our general language is English. However, if you want to learn some Russian words, our staff will be glad to help you!

Money
The Russian currency is the Rouble (RUB). No other currencies are accepted for payments. Cards are accepted in most big shops, hotels and restaurants, but this type of payment is still not as wide-spread as in Europe or Nort America. We strongly recommend that you have enough cash with you for the whole holiday. You can change money in banks (closed on weekends and national holidays) or use an ATM (there are plenty in all towns and cities). You might need some cash during program (for example – laundry/drinks in Snow Valley hotel), take it into consideration.

Moscow transit
There are three international airports in Moscow; Domodedovo (DME), Sheremetyevo (SVO), and Vnukovo (VKO). Depending on your flight plan, you might need to change airports which can be a time consuming. If you do need to change airports, we strongly recommend you allow at least 2 hours for your airport-to-airport transfers.

Please service your skis or board before arrival, or bring pocket waxes as there is no ski-service at our base. We have some repair parts and tools to fix most common problems which might arise, but we do not have equipment for hot waxing.

We advise you to carefully read the following list. You will not be able to buy or rent the equipment out here, so do bring everything with you. If you have any questions about equipment or items on (or not on) this list please don’t hesitate to email and ask for advice.

Here is an example of set of clothes that we recommend. You can change it according to your preferences, but be sure that your clothes suit the weather and temperature during your trip.

Clothing:

  • Weather Layer Top - Gore-Tex/Softshell or other waterproof breathable jacket
  • Weather Layer Pants - Gore-Tex/Softshell  or other waterproof breathable pants
  • Warm jacket – Down/synthetic
  • Mid-Insulation Layer Top - Polartec 100 or analogue
  • Base Layer Top and Bottom, mid or warm – 2 pieces each
  • Mid weight socks - 2-3 pairs
  • Hat
  • Sun cap
  • Light gloves
  • Insulated gloves or mittens
  • Hut shoes

Ski gear:

  • Skis or Splitboard
  • Skins. Glue should be in good condition, renew if necessary.
  • Touring Boots
  • Ski crampons
  • Telescopic Poles
  • Ski helmet
  • Binding/Boot/Pole/Skin Repair Kit - tools and parts to fix your personal gear

Ski-mountaineering gear:

  • Boot crampons, compatible with your boots. Aluminium or steel, 10/12-points
  • Ice axe, 55-65 cm.
  • Lightweight harness (Black Diamond Couloir or analogue)
  • Carabiner, pear-shaped – 2 pc.
  • Dyneema sling, 120-180cm.
  • Cordelette  - 5 meters, 6/7mm. diameter

Avalanche gear:

  • Transceiver (two antenna minimum), extra batteries.
  • Probe
  • Shovel

Personal equipment:

  • Backpack, 30-35 litres
  • Duffel, for carrying your stuff by snowmobile, water resistant.
  • Personal First Aid kit, blister kit
  • Thermos, 0.5-0.7 litres
  • Water flask, 1 litre
  • Sunglasses, plus extra pair (CE rated 3 or 4)
  • Ski goggles
  • Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Personal toiletries, light towel.
  • Sun/Cold and Lip Cream

 

Dates 2018 (dates of arriving to Petropavlovsk and departure from):
March 18-25
March 25 - April 01
April 01-08
April 08-15

Custom dates are available

Price: 1840 EUR, per person.
Group discounts available, contact us for details.

Price includes:

  • 6 days of guiding
  • All transportation according to the programme
  • Meals on Avachinsky pass: breakfast, lunch in the mountains and dinner
  • Lunch packs for the days in Paratunka valley
  • Cooking service on Avachinsky pass
  • Accommodation in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 1st day, TWIN
  • Accommodation in mountain hut, from 2nd to 5th days, with one Banya session.
  • Accommodation in Paratunka valley, from 5th to 8th days, TWIN.

Extra expenses:

  • International and domestic airfares
  • Meals in Petropavlovsk and Paratunka
  • Personal insurance
  • Wine and spirits
  • Personal expenses

Itinerary
Day 1: Arriving in Petropavlovsk; Don't forget to book a window seat - in good weather the view of the mountain ranges and volcanoes of Kamchatka is magnificent; Accommodation in Petropavlovsk; Meet the guides, gear and clothing check and avalanche training; Rest time.
Day 2: Early morning drive to the foot of Avachinsky volcano; transfer to the pass by snowcat; skitouring on the nearby slopes.
Days 3 and 4: Skitouring/splitboarding on the slopes of Avachinsky and Koryaksky volcanoes with possible ascension on Avachinsky in one day (depending on snow and weather conditions). Elevation gain for the summit - 1800 vertical meters.
Day 5: Transfer to the hotel in Paratunka valley. Transfer by snowcat down to the road; transfer by bus to Paratunka (about 2 hours), accommodation. This day we can ski on Avachinsky pass and move to Paratunka afternoon, or leave the pass early morning and spend a skiing day in Paratunka valley.
Days 6 and 7: Skitouring in Paratunka valley.
Day 8: Morning drive from Paratunka valley to the airport, departure.

Depending on weather conditions and other factors, we can make slight changes to the programme.

Program Logistics
There is one daily flight from Moscow (SVO) to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (PKC), by Aeroflot.
Also, there are few flights fom Vladivistok (VVO) and Khabarovsk (KHV), which can work for flights from Asia or Australia.
Please, check current flight information on the air-company's websites.
Transfer from airport to Petropavlovsk takes 40-50 minutes.

Accommodation
Hotel in Petropavlovsk.
Our hotel is situated in the old centre of Petropavlovsk, close to the parks, Avachinskaya bay, historical monuments and the museum. Within 2-3 bus stops there is a good choice of cafés, restaurants and shops. Accommodation is in double rooms and the hotel is equipped with a kitchen which can be used by guests.

Mountain base on Avachinsky pass is surrounded by big volcanoes and has a nice view on the valley. Huts are simple, but warm and clean.

Accommodation in Paratunka valley is hotel with twin rooms or private chalet with twin rooms, depending on availability. Both places have pools with hot thermal water.

Camp food
We do our best to make the meals, as well as the skiing, a remarkable part of your trip. We include traditional Kamchatka products, such as fish and vegetables. Our guides are all greatly experienced in winter camp cooking and will provide meals that are tasty, healthy and nutritious.
There are two hot meals a day. Here are some examples of the menu:
- Breakfast: Porridge with berries/ cereal with milk; fried eggs/ pancakes. Tea, coffee.
- Mountain lunch: Sandwiches,chocolate bars, dried fruits/ nuts.
- Dinner: Local salads; dishes with meat or fish; sides (pasta, rice, potatoes); stewed vegetables. And of course, desserts and herbal teas.

We don’t serve any alcoholic drinks, but you are welcome to bring a reasonable amount of beer, wine or spirits.

We can accommodate special dietary requirements and food allergies. Our guests are asked to complete a registration form, and mention any dietary needs so we can be fully prepared for your arrival. Please note that all food is purchased before the trip starts and we don't have another opportunity to buy anything or change the menu during the trip.

Guiding &Group Size
Each group will be 4-5 persons. There is one guide per group.

Prerequisites
Because of the nature of the backcountry terrain, we ask our guests to meet a certain level of fitness, skiing and ski-mountaineering abilities. To join our groups, you should be:
- Intermediate or higher level of skiing/boarding, in any snow conditions, with at least 1 year ski-tour /backcountry experience.
- Healthy and in good physical shape.
- Able skin up at least 1500 vertical meters per day.
- Intermediate or higher level of ski-mountaineering (confident user of boot crampons and ice-axe on hard snow, with steepness up to 40 degrees).

Terrain
Half of the time we ski in the Alpine zone and half in treeline. Kamchatka's volcanoes - big, wide fields up to 38-40 degrees steep, classic alpine couloirs and some nice cruising on a mellow snow fields. Treeline skiing - amazing birch tree forest, up to 35 degrees steep, with some terrain features and a views on surrounding volcanoes. We could call it "Japan-style tree skiing", but it would not be true, cause it is Kamchatka-style tree skiing!

On an average day the vertical drop is 1300-1500m, but it varies according to the group's abilities. It's good to know some description, but pictures and movies tell you much more, so please check out our Media section for a better idea.

Skiing
This time of year in Kamchatka, we are definitely looking for powder skiing. Of course, there is nothing guaranteed, but our experience and local knowledge helps us to provide best possible skiing in the areas. In past years all our guests were satisfied with the snow quality, check the Testimonials section.  

Weather
Although Kamchatka lies at a similar latitude to Great Britain, cold Arctic winds from Siberia combined with the cold Ohotskoe sea current cover the peninsula in snow from October to late June. Winter months are known for their low temperatures and strong winds, which is why volcano skiing is not enjoyable then. The Spring months bring more comfortable weather - warmer, but still bringing snowfall which transforms into light powder until the end of April, or even the beginning of May up high.
In places of our skitouring programme, in March-April, night temperature is usually about minus 10-12 degrees Celsius, day temperature is around minus 5-7 in the shade, - but it feels significantly warmer in the sun. In general, the weather is identical to conditions in March/April in the Alps.
As everywhere, bad weather happens. But generally cyclones don’t last long. In fact, last year’s statistics show we were skitouring/splitboarding about 90 percent of the time.

You can check the weather forecast for our skitouring zones here – Avachinsky pass, Paratunka valley.

Visa and Insurance
To travel to Russia, most foreign nationals are required to have an Entry Visa to Russia. Russian visas can be obtained at your local Russian Embassy or Consulate. In order to apply for a visa you will need proof of your forthcoming visit to Russia, which will be supplied by Skiing In Kamchatka on receipt of your final payment. Provided all the documents are ready, the process usually takes no more than 3-10 working days for a Russian Tourist Visa. It is also possible to ask special agencies for a full visa service.

We will need copy of your visa in 2 months before arrival. This is official government rule, because of border proximity. So, please apply for visa in advance. But even if you decide to come in a last moment, this question can be solved personally.

Insurance
Being adequately insured is a condition of booking a trip with Skiing in Kamchatka. You must have travel and medical insurance, which covers backcountry skiing/freeriding, skitouring/splitboarding etc. For your peace of mind and to avoid any financial hardship that an unexpected cancellation could cause, we strongly recommend getting Trip Cancellation insurance.

Time in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky - GMT+12

Telephone and Internet
There are 3 mobile operators covering populated areas of Kamchatka. On the Avachinsky pass all 3 are available. We will not have WiFi on Avachinsky pass, but you will be able to use 3G/4G internet on your phone.

Language
Not many people in Russia speak a foreign language (more likely in big towns, less in the countryside). But people are helpful and will easily understand what you need. The alphabet is Cyrillic so reading can be difficult. We recommend you purchase a phrase-book in advance. In Kamchatka, you will be accompanied by an English-speaking Ski Guide. Some of our guides speak basic French and Spanish, but our general language is English. However, if you want to learn some Russian words, our staff will be glad to help you!

Money
The Russian currency is the Rouble (RUB). No other currencies are accepted for payments. Cards are accepted in most big shops, hotels and restaurants, but this type of payment is still not as wide-spread as in Europe or Nort America. We strongly recommend that you have enough cash with you for the whole holiday. You can change money in banks (closed on weekends and national holidays) or use an ATM (there are plenty in all towns and cities). You might need some cash during program (for example – laundry/drinks in Snow Valley hotel), take it into consideration.

Moscow transit
There are three international airports in Moscow; Domodedovo (DME), Sheremetyevo (SVO), and Vnukovo (VKO). Depending on your flight plan, you might need to change airports which can be a time consuming. If you do need to change airports, we strongly recommend you allow at least 2 hours for your airport-to-airport transfers.

Please service your skis or board before arrival, or bring pocket waxes as there is no ski-service at our base. We have some repair parts and tools to fix most common problems which might arise, but we do not have equipment for hot waxing.

We advise you to carefully read the following list. You will not be able to buy or rent the equipment out here, so do bring everything with you. If you have any questions about equipment or items on (or not on) this list please don’t hesitate to email and ask for advice.

Here is an example of set of clothes that we recommend. You can change it according to your preferences, but be sure that your clothes suit the weather and temperature during your trip.

Clothing:

  • Weather Layer Top - Gore-Tex/Softshell or other waterproof breathable jacket
  • Weather Layer Pants - Gore-Tex/Softshell  or other waterproof breathable pants
  • Warm jacket – Down/synthetic
  • Mid-Insulation Layer Top - Polartec 100 or analogue
  • Base Layer Top and Bottom, mid or warm – 2 pieces each
  • Mid weight socks - 2-3 pairs
  • Hat
  • Sun cap
  • Light gloves
  • Insulated gloves or mittens
  • Hut shoes

Ski gear:

  • Skis or Splitboard
  • Skins. Glue should be in good condition, renew if necessary.
  • Touring Boots
  • Ski crampons
  • Telescopic Poles
  • Ski helmet
  • Binding/Boot/Pole/Skin Repair Kit - tools and parts to fix your personal gear

Ski-mountaineering gear:

  • Boot crampons, compatible with your boots. Aluminium or steel, 10/12-points
  • Ice axe, 55-65 cm.
  • Lightweight harness (Black Diamond Couloir or analogue)
  • Carabiner, pear-shaped – 2 pc.
  • Dyneema sling, 120-180cm.
  • Cordelette  - 5 meters, 6/7mm. diameter

Avalanche gear:

  • Transceiver (two antenna minimum), extra batteries.
  • Probe
  • Shovel

Personal equipment:

  • Backpack, 30-35 litres
  • Duffel, for carrying your stuff by snowmobile, water resistant.
  • Personal First Aid kit, blister kit
  • Thermos, 0.5-0.7 litres
  • Water flask, 1 litre
  • Sunglasses, plus extra pair (CE rated 3 or 4)
  • Ski goggles
  • Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Personal toiletries, light towel.
  • Sun/Cold and Lip Cream