The small town of Kirovsk is located at an altitude of 350 meters, at the very foot of the Khibiny Mountains. It has about 30,000 inhabitants and is divided into three separate neighbourhoods. It was founded in 1929, and today it is a curious mix of the mining community and a center of sports and adventure tourism. Kirovsk has the largest alpine ski resort in northern Russia, with 6 tracks certified by the FIS, a maximum height of 1,050 meters and a vertical drop of nearly 700 meters. From here numerous expeditions depart to the Khibiny Mountains, to some of the national parks in the region of Murmansk, and to the neighbouring Karelia to enjoy mountain skiing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, etc. At the entrance of the village we can see the Orthodox Church of the Image of Edessa, with its colourful red bricks and golden domes.
The Khibiny Mountains
The Khibiny Mountains rise to 1,200 meters, in an area of indescribable beauty where lakes and rivers intertwine in the middle of the thick forest, the kingdom of the Taiga. Despite their harsh conditions and rugged nature, they are an ideal place for such activities as skiing, trekking, and especially snowmobile safaris. Due to the height of the mountains, safaris are possible until May. And the mountain scenery provides an even more spectacular view than the frozen lakes or the forest tracks.
Visiting the “Snow Village” in Kirovsk. Every year since 2008, 20 artists from Russia and its neighbouring countries create from scratch an underground village, completely carved in snow and ice. It is the largest snow-carved structure in the world, and consists of more than 20 chambers and numerous connecting corridors, which stretch for 2,000 square meters. Each year the village is devoted to a different theme. We can walk through the impressive halls where the artists have carved beautiful filigrees and sublime decorations enhanced by coloured lights.
Descent in “vatrushki” (inflatable sled). We will have the opportunity to practice a pastime that all Russians love since their childhood: to go down a small slope riding “vatrushki” (“donuts”), a kind of a round-shaped inflatable sledge that glides at full speed on snow and ice.
Night trip for Northern Lights hunting. The Khibiny Mountains are a fairytale setting to try to observe the Northern Lights. We will leave the village by coach and then we will hike around 30 minutes through a wide track to reach a wide valley hidden between the mountains.
Snowmobile Safari in the Khibiny Mountains. The Khibiny Mountains, with their spectacular terrain and beautiful valleys, provide a unique setting for snowmobile safaris. In addition, due to the height here, safaris can usually be carried out until May. We will leave the village through a valley, going towards the heart of the range, to reach a mountain pass beaten by the winds and a frozen mountain lake. We will change clothes in the base of the snowmobiles, where we will receive all the necessary equipment, as well as the basic instructions of driving snowmobiles and the rules to follow during the safari, which will be translated for us by our guide. Then we will split into groups of about 6 snowmobiles, each group accompanied by an instructor (Russian or English speaking). Two people will travel in each snowmobile – one will drive the snowmobile, the other will travel as a passenger. The two people take shifts driving the snowmobile following the instructor’s indications and changing each other at the stops made for that purpose.