Updated: Sep 19, 2019
There are those for whom a holiday is merely an exercise in chasing the sun. Sea, sun, sand, and Sangria are all that are needed to bring about bliss. 1 Mills and Boon pot-boiler, 2 sarongs, and a couple of dangerously handsome waiters and everything is right with the world. Then there are those for whom fun involves swaddling themselves in several layers of thermal clothing, and trotting about in snazzy neon coloured goggles, facemasks, and protective headgear. They then tether a very expensive lunch tray, or two sticks to their heavy-duty waterproof fur lined boots and fling themselves headfirst down a craggy mountain. This activity is known as skiing, and millions of people proven to be in their right minds voluntarily do it.
Skiing for most means Europe or North America, Aspen or Zermatt, but with temperatures averaging -40°C Mongolia is fast becoming a natural ski destination. Whether free-rider, snowboarder, or powder pup, Mongolia has something to offer. With much of the country covered in snow for 5 months out of every year, you’d imagine more winter sports enthusiasts would consider Mongolia the perfect spot for snowy shenanigans. The variety of off-piste terrain you can explore on ski’s in Mongolia is almost limitless, so why not have your next ski adventure in the thick of Mongolia’s frozen wilderness.
Sky Resort, which sits just outside the capital of Ulaanbaatar on Bogd Khan Uul Mountain is Mongolia’s first foray into downhill skiing, opening in 2009. It may not have the longest runs, but it does offer some nice skiing at very reasonable prices. There are 3 runs, 1 green and 2 blue, perfect for beginners, the resort also has a sledding slope. Some may sniff at the fact the resort uses man made snow, but the views of the city while skiing at night are nothing to turn your nose up at. There’s a ski school for the kiddies, cross country, and mountain skiing, and when you’ve tired yourself out you can treat yourself to a 5-star meal at the resorts Club House restaurant.
Mongolia’s landscapes are achingly beautiful, and if you wish to hear the swish of your ski’s only, going off-piste in Mongolia is just how to do it. The Altai mountains offer pure powder backcountry skiing, here you can experience peaks spanning Mongolia, China, and Russia. Imagine, no marked trails, just you and the great white wildness of the Altai mountains. It should be noted the Altai mountains requires a certain amount of expertise. Skiing in this region is as challenging as it is rewarding, and it is no place for beginners. The weather can turn in a blink, meaning your serene winter wonderland can quickly become a blustery and hostile environment. If you choose to ski the Altai, you will need guides as the peaks are remote and unpatrolled. Specialist backcountry equipment, and finely tuned survival skills are also needed. With that said, if you like your exhilaration with a healthy amount of fear, and you want to feel like your skiing into an endless horizon, the snow-capped mountains and plains of Mongolia are for you.
For more information on conservation projects in Mongolia and Bhutan, or to book one of our Skiing, Birding, Trekking, Botany or Wildlife Tours, please contact 020 3877 0670.