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Ski Country USSR?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
post #2 of 6

Very cool! I'd be very interested in travelling there. There is something very alluring about Russia. Too bad they make travel there such a pain. It's a bureaucratic pain to get a temporary travel visa to go there. I wonder how the skiing would truly compare to the European resorts, but either way, the prices are definitely a plus!

post #3 of 6

A ski resort in the same area the separatist terrorists that did the recent Moscow airport bombing are allegedly from.  Sounds like a safe place to travel.

post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinFromSA View Post

Very cool! I'd be very interested in travelling there. There is something very alluring about Russia. Too bad they make travel there such a pain. It's a bureaucratic pain to get a temporary travel visa to go there. I wonder how the skiing would truly compare to the European resorts, but either way, the prices are definitely a plus!

 

     Quote:

Originally Posted by Rio View Post

A ski resort in the same area the separatist terrorists that did the recent Moscow airport bombing are allegedly from.  Sounds like a safe place to travel.



Therein lies the problem(s). Pretty much everyone not from a former Soviet country has to have a visa to go there, which is a hassle in terms of the time and money spent. Also, you'll have to fly through Moscow and get internal flights down to Sochi. Since very few people in the country speak English, travelling in Russia is quite difficult unless you pay someone to show you around or you speak a bit of Russian.

 

There's also the location, which is a bit dangerous to say the least, given the proximity of Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, and South Ossetia. If the terrorist groups see Moscow as an inviting target, imagine how they'd view a batch of luxury resorts right on their doorstep. Or, think about what happens if another conflict with Georgia breaks out, given that the border is literally just down the road.

 

So, I really don't know where they're going to get their business from. Europeans will see it as too much hassle and danger, and probably no cheaper than going to Slovenia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, or Romania once all expenses are included. Most Russians who already ski probably have enough money to go to the Alps, which they'll view as a safer and more prestigious destination (prestige is big, as many people there love to brag about their vacations and choose their destinations with that in mind). Most of those who don't ski either don't have the money or prefer beach vacations.

 

If unemployment is a major problem in the area, you wouldn't expect the resorts to make money from the locals. So unless there's a hidden group of potential skiers in Russia that I didn't see when I lived there, who can't quite afford the Alps but could afford the Caucasus, where will their client base will come from? Maybe a handful of adventure lovers who go for the heliskiing?

post #5 of 6

In the "good old times", I remember my parents and their friends going there to ski. This is back before all the conflicts and splits. USSR was one country and the myth hadn't been busted yet... oblivious, as most people may have been, I'm actually foolish enough to believe that the majority of people were happier... but I digress. The resorts there were always extremely safe. The paradox is - and I'm only saying this from my personal experience - that just about all Georgians, Ossetians, Ingush people, Dagestanians and Chechens are very welcoming peoples. I know that most people in the West view them as some type of barbarians - and no doubt, there have been some very gruesome evidence of that in the news. But the way I remember their traditions, when you are a guest at a Georgian's house, you are treated better than any royalty. True Georgians I've met would take clothes off their backs to keep their guests warm. No exceptions. That is tradition and it is in the blood of almost all peoples of the former USSR.

 

That said, would I be concerned myself going there today? Probably. But mostly because of all the conflicts that have happened there in the past 20-25 years. It is an extremely beautiful place though, and I really hope they do build resorts and start rebuilding the tourism industry there. Maybe, if the area starts getting more revenues, people start having more income - kids will start to get better education and maybe - just maybe somehow, people will find a way to get along.

post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by russian View Post

In the "good old times", I remember my parents and their friends going there to ski. This is back before all the conflicts and splits. USSR was one country and the myth hadn't been busted yet... oblivious, as most people may have been, I'm actually foolish enough to believe that the majority of people were happier... but I digress. The resorts there were always extremely safe. The paradox is - and I'm only saying this from my personal experience - that just about all Georgians, Ossetians, Ingush people, Dagestanians and Chechens are very welcoming peoples. I know that most people in the West view them as some type of barbarians - and no doubt, there have been some very gruesome evidence of that in the news. But the way I remember their traditions, when you are a guest at a Georgian's house, you are treated better than any royalty. True Georgians I've met would take clothes off their backs to keep their guests warm. No exceptions. That is tradition and it is in the blood of almost all peoples of the former USSR.

 

That said, would I be concerned myself going there today? Probably. But mostly because of all the conflicts that have happened there in the past 20-25 years. It is an extremely beautiful place though, and I really hope they do build resorts and start rebuilding the tourism industry there. Maybe, if the area starts getting more revenues, people start having more income - kids will start to get better education and maybe - just maybe somehow, people will find a way to get along.


As you said, people from the area are quite welcoming. The problem is the tension between separatist groups and the Russian government.

 

The recent shooting and car bomb found in the area I am guessing are a direct response to the announcement of this resort development. I bet it was meant as a message to the government that this pet project will be attacked to hurt its pride.

 

I'm sure that won't deter the government from pushing ahead with the project (I'm sure plenty of people have too much to gain personally to give it up). But, I can easily see these new resorts being supported by the government for a couple of decades before anything resembling a profit comes about.

 

Eventually, it might lead to a boom in the number of skiers in the country and, thus, more money for the local economy, but I imagine it will take quite a while. In that interim period though, it would definitely be a way to beat the crowds for those willing to go there.

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