Our operations in Russia are suspended for an indefinite period.
Last winter, we became a part of a new skitouring project in the Altay Mountains, East Kazakhstan.
Unlike Russia these days, Kazakhstan is a peaceful, hospitable and safe country,
with relatively easy logistics and visa-free for most nationalities.
Being part of Siberia geographically, Altay Mountains provide the same guaranteed powder skiing from early November.
We operate on 25 sq. kilometres of exclusive terrain, with the best tree skiing in Central Asia,
and offer guaranteed first-class skitouring, along with authentic and comfortable accommodation.
To find out more, please visit Altay Mountain Lodge & Yurts website.
Khamar-Daban is one of the most interesting mountain regions near Baikal lake. It stretches for more than 350 km, and creates a varied mountainous land spreading South from the lake. Its south-western part has the greatest precipitation in the region and various terrain. In the beginning of winter (up until mid-January), before Baikal is covered with ice, precipitation is abundant. Combined with stable cold temperatures, it brings a huge quantity of low-dense powder snow, even on low altitude.
Our Lodge and helipad are situated in Mangutay village, on the shore of Lake Baikal and close to the mountains. Rich Siberian breakfast, take off and let’s the powder riding begin! Skiing and boarding in Siberian powder, with a mid-day break for delicious lunch. Upon your return to the lodge, traditional Russian appetizers and soups are already on the table, just to fill the stomach. And right after – traditional Siberian Banya (bathhouse) with few different types of steam rooms and outdoor bath, with a mountain view. There is way more pleasant stuff to do – traditional Russian tea ceremony or home-made Siberian vodka tasting. Delicious dinner comes after this relaxing time, where you enjoy local meat or fish dishes and delicate deserts from our chef. Deep sleep and there is another day, and everything repeats…
Reasons to go there for heliskiing:
- Best skiing terrain reachable within a short approach time.
- Guaranteed powder skiing (there is no other type of snow in Siberia).
- Small, exclusive groups with only one group per helicopter.
- Scenery of Lake Baikal and Siberian mountains.
- Gastronomical experience of Siberian cuisine.
- Highest safety standards and most experienced heliski guides.
Saturday: Evening flight from Moscow to Irkutsk city.
Sunday : Arrive in Irkutsk early morning; breakfast in Irkutsk and transfer to the lodge (around 2 hours), afternoon rest.
Monday to Saturday: Heliskiing.
Saturday evening: Transfer to Irkutsk, night in the hotel.
Sunday: Morning flight to Moscow.
Dates 2021/2022 (dates of arriving to Irkutsk and departing from):
November 28 - December 05
December 26 - January 02
Price: 39 000 € per group (from 1 to 4 persons).
- Organization of the whole trip from/to Irkutsk.
- 6 possible days of heliskiing.
- 7 hours of helicopter flight time per group.
- Experienced and internationally certified heliski guides.
- 6 nights’ accommodation in Baikal Pearl Chalets (single occupancy).
- Full use of Lodge Spa facilities.
- Hotel in Irkutsk, 1 night on the way back (single occupancy).
- All meals in Baikal Pearl Chalets (breakfast, mountain lunch, aprés ski soup and snacks, dinner).
- All ground transportation in 4x4 vehicles.
- "Down Day" activities.
- Safety equipment: transceiver, probe, shovel, and avalanche backpack.
- International and domestic airfares.
- Travel insurance/travel cancellation insurance.
- Meals in Irkutsk.
- Wine and spirits.
- Helicopter transportation to the lodge (by request).
- Extra flight hours - 2150 Euro per flight hour (divided by the number of guests flying).
Cooperation with the visiting guides
We are glad to cooperate with our colleagues from all over the world. If you are a Mountain or Ski Guide and looking for a trip to Baikal Heliski Lodge with your private group, just contact us and we will be glad to organise your Siberian adventure.
There are few flights per day from Moscow to Irkutsk (IKT), with different time of arrival. We recommend Aeroflot or S7 flights with arrival time around 8-9 AM. Upon your arrival we will have a breakfast in Irkutsk and take a ride to Mangutay village (around 2.5 hours), where our lodge situated. Then we meet the guides, have safety briefing and afternoon rest with walking along Lake Baikal or having classic Siberian Banya. Basically, we do not heliski on the day of arrival, but depending on weather forecast it might happen.
We'll spend the next six days skiing and boarding deep powder, enjoying scenery and delicious Siberian cuisine.
On the last day of the programme (Saturday), after heliskiing, we pack our luggage and drive to Irkutsk. In Irkutsk you accommodate in the nice hotel in the city centre, and can make an evening walk to the most interesting historical places and good restaurants. The city was founded in the mid-17th century to serve as winter quarters for traders and collectors. The insurgents against tsar Nicholas I, exiled to Siberia, made Irkutsk their cultural capital. Nowadays, it is a relatively large city with more than half a million people, with a university and number of churches and historic museums.
Morning: Reach breakfast, preparation and start heliskiing around 9AM. We'll be skiing and boarding as long as possible, according to the wishes of the group, safety concerns and daylight.
On our return to the Lodge there is aprés-ski soup and snacks, then Banya (traditional Siberian bathhouse).
Evening: Dinner and free time.
Our Lodge and helipad are situated in Mangutay village, right on the shore of the Lake Baikal.
Baikal Pearl Chalets property consists of 7 cabins, restaurant and few traditional Russian Banyas.
Chalets built in 2017 of Siberian cedar trees and decorated in traditional Siberian way with a bit of modern accent. Each cabin has a big king size bed, shower and bathroom and ideally suites for single guests or couples. Each cabin has a separate entrance from the outside.
After the day of powder skiing and snowboarding, visit of Siberian Spa is worth to do! There are few types of Banya’s (traditional Russian bathhouse), with steam rooms made from different types of Siberian wood. But that's not all! Enjoy outdoor wooden hot tub with a mountain view, massage room and traditional Russian tea ceremony.
And yes, WiFi is available. But very probably you won’t use it a lot during the week, life in Siberian mountains is too busy with pleasant things. Social media can wait.
The Banya (traditional Russian and Siberian bathhouse) is the best way to warm up and relax after a long skiing day. The banya is in a separate building, where a large amount of hot steam is created with the help of water and hot air. Inside the banya, there are wide wooden benches along the walls, built up one above the other like steps.. You can sit or lay on the benches - the higher up the bench, the hotter the air is. Having warmed up enough, you leave the steam room for a break. You can pour cold water over yourself from a tub, or follow the Siberian method and jump straight into the snow. Overall, the banya is not just a place to warm up and wash; it is a real Siberian experience and will become a great memory!
Hotel in Irkutsk
On a way back, you spend one night in Irkutsk city. Our hotel is a 4-star "Courtyard by Marriott Irkutsk". It is situated in the centre of the city, has a restaurant as well as some restaurants and bars in walking distance.
We do our best to make the food, as well as the skiing, a remarkable part of your trip. This includes traditional Siberian and Russian dishes with premium local ingredients, but also modern cuisine. There will be a special evening during the week, a Pelmeni master-class, where we make meat dumplings and cook it right after! There are three hot meals a day. Here are some examples of the menu:
- Breakfast: omelette or fried eggs; bliny (Russian pancakes); cereals, milk, yoghurt, fruit salad. Tea, coffee, juice.
- Lunch: Soups and hot snacks such as home-made pies with meat and vegetables.
- Dinner: Salads; dishes with local meat or fish, traditional Russian and Siberian desserts.
- Snacks during the heliskiing day: dried fruits/nuts, chocolate bars, sandwiches, tea/coffee, fruits.
In the lodge's bar you will have a choice of beer, wine, champagne, spirits and liqueurs.
Our chef 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.
In this programme, one helicopter is shared with only one group of 4 persons. There are two guides per group.
Helicopter flight time
Some operators charge per vertical feet or meters skied. We base our helicopter use on actual flight time. It allows us not to stick to closest runs even if the snow conditions are not the best there and be able to fly a bit further out where we might find better snow or scenery. Our philosophy is to provide best experience, and be sure, few additional flight minutes will worth it! Still, if skiing is good right around the corner from the lodge, we will go straight there, save the flight time and provide best possible skiing and snowboarding.
Flight time is calculated from when the helicopter leaves the ground and until it touches down again. If the helicopter is on ground and idling the time is not ticking but if we are doing a technical tow in landing on a steep ridge for example where the pilot is basically still flying the helicopter as we get out, the time is ticking.
If we exceed all flight hours, we can continue to heliski at the price of 2150 Euro per flight hour. Cost of extra flight time will be divided by the number of guests riding. If we don't use included flight hours due to bad weather or technical problems, we refund you unused time, based on following calculation: 1100 Euro per flight hour. The difference between cost of extra flight time and refund for unused hours is explained by the fact of complexity and high pre-expenses involved on having a full time helicopter for the season.
Because of the nature of the backcountry terrain, we ask our guests to meet a certain level of fitness and skiing ability. To join our groups, you should be:
- Intermediate or higher level of skiing/boarding, including in deep-snow conditions.
- In good physical shape.
Khamar-Daban range has great opportunities for skiing in treeline zone as well as in alpine. Terrain is variable and has everything to fulfil wishes of good skiers and snowboarders - long open lanes through the trees, pillows, steep open fields, tiny couloirs and even more.
Landings are up to 2000 meters above sea level. Runs are from 400 to 1000m vertical metres with slopes from 25 to 40 degrees.
On an average day we can do up to 10-12 runs, but of course varies according to the group's abilities.
In Baikal lake area we use two models of Eurocopter helicopters - AS350 B3 or EC130 T2. These helicopters are worldwide the most used ones for heliski operations. These helicopters has 4 seats for the guests and 1-2 for the guides (depends on model). Helipad is situated directly in front of our lodge.
Helicopters are maintained daily by mechanics of heli company, according to official aviation rules.
Our pilot team is two local pilots, Philip and Alexander, with extensive experience flying in the Siberian mountains.
The climate in Eastern Siberia is continental: In winter the temperatures from north to south range from -10 to -40 degrees Celsius, and in the summer they range from +15 to +35. The average day temperature in Khamar-Daban in November, December and early January is minus 10-12 Celsius (about 10 Fahrenheit). With low humidity, no wind and the strong sun, it feels no colder than winter in the Alps. Even on the slightly colder shaded sides of the mountains it is still comfortable for skiing and boarding. However, this is Siberia, and occasionally (1-2 days every few weeks) morning temperatures can drop to minus 25 Celsius (minus 13 Fahrenheit). Once the sun's up it gets warmer, and our guides will chose sunny terrain for skiing. Although such days are rare, it is a good idea to be ready for these cold temperatures.
Like in all other heliski destinations on earth, in Baikal Lake there will be also days with strong snowfall and poor visibility, where safe flying with a helicopter is not guaranteed any more. For sure on those days our helicopter will stay on ground. The options for such a days are:
- Skiing on the ski hill "Gora Sobolinaya". Three chair lifts, 500 vertical meters, piste runs (usually not groomed during snowfalls), so you will not miss powder skiing.
- Dog sledging and Siberian dogs socializing.
- Snowmobile riding in the nearest mountain valleys (depends on snow coverage).
- Excursions to historical and ethnography places, such as museum of the Lake Baikal.
- Easy walks along the shore of the Lake Baikal, with nice scenery.
- Buuz Master Class. Buuz is a type of Mongolian and Buryatian steamed dumpling filled with meat.
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 Siberia 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. However, we strongly recommend you apply at least one month in advance of your trip. It is also possible to ask special agencies for a full visa service.
Being adequately insured is a condition of booking a trip with Skiing in Siberia. You must have travel and medical insurance, which covers heliskiing and freeriding, as well as helicopter search and rescue. 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 Irkutsk - GMT+8
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. If you wish to practice your Russian, we recommend you purchase a phrase-book in advance
During your trip, you will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide. Some of our Ski Guides speak German and French as well, but our general language is English. For private groups, we can try to arrange the guide who speaks your language.
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 America. We recommend that you have some 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).
Additional flight hours, alcoholic drinks and any additional service during your stay can be paid by credit cards.
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.
We advise you to carefully read the following list. You will not be able to buy or rent the equipment on the spot (except limited quantity of skis), 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 e-mail and ask our advice.
Please service your skis or board before arrival, or bring pocket waxes as there is no ski-service on our base. We have some repair parts and tools to fix the most common problems which might arise, but we do not have equipment for hot waxing.
We have several pairs of powder skis for rent. Please, check the details by contacting us.
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 (see Weather section).
- Heavy/mid weight socks compatible with your footwear - 2-3 pairs.
Heated electric socks or soles is a very good option and highly recommended.
- Base Layer Top and Bottom, warm – 2 pieces each.
- Mid-Insulation Layer Top - Polartec 100 or analog.
- Mid-Insulation Layer Bottom – Polartec/Powerstretch pants or analog.
- Warm jacket – Synthetic or down.
- Weather Layer Top - Gore-Tex/Softshell or other waterproof jacket.
- Weather Layer Pants - Gore-Tex/Softshell or other waterproof pants.
- Down jacket warm to minus 20-25°C.
- Hats (warm and light).
- Insulated gloves
- Insulated mittens
- High snow boots
- Slippers for the lodge
- Skis or Snowboard. We recommend skis 110mm underfoot or wider.
- Ski/snowboard boots.
- Ski helmet
- Personal First Aid kit (blister kit, your personal medications)
- Sunglasses (CE rated 3 or 4)
- Ski goggles, plus extra pair.
- Sun/Cold and Lip Cream (factor 30+).
We provide avalanche safety gear: transceiver Pieps DSP, probe,shovel, avalanche backpack Scott AlpRide.