Winter Fun in Siberia

Winter Fun in Siberia

Siberia: In wintertime it’s a place of breathtaking beauty, the crackling air swept clean by fresh snow.

Make the most of winter in Siberia with ice-fishing on the thick ice of clear Lake Baikal, running a team of dogs, and sweeping over the ice on a hovercraft. You can experience some or all of these winter sports on MIR’s Siberian Winter Escapade or the Trans-Siberian Winter Wonderland Route.

Here are a few favorite highlights:

Winter at Lake Baikal, Siberia. Photo: Vladimir Kvashnin

When the dogs are out, you know it’s time for wintertime fun in Siberia
Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin

Dog Sledding Excited huskies whine and howl, lunging at their leads, begging to be chosen for the day’s run. The musher clips each harnessed dog to its place on the gangline, attached to a creaking sled with wooden slats bolted or lashed together with nylon rope. Curved runners are varnished to slip over the snow with the least amount of friction.

Humans have been using dogs for transportation for at least a thousand years. When there’s snow on the ground these dogs are at their best, pulling sleds for hour after hour, six to nine miles an hour. On MIR’s Siberian winter tours, travelers learn the dog-sledding basics from a pro and then try it for themselves. Mush!

 

The fish is as fresh as it gets when you’re ice-fishing on Lake Baikal
Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin

Ice-FishingIce-fishing on clear Lake Baikal: Like many things in Russia it’s a social activity, with impromptu parties of anglers and their friends gathering around a campfire built on the ice, toasting and singing, and, oh, yeah, fishing.

The party digs a hole through the ice with an ice auger or crowbar, and scoops the ice to the side of the hole. Down goes the jigging pole baited with the angler’s secret lure. Baikal has dozens of species of prime edible fish. A favorite is the endemic omul, found only in Baikal, and perfect for smoking, drying or eating fresh.

Snowmobiling in Siberia, on Lake Baikal. Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin.

A modern-day troika, snowmobiling in Siberia
Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin

Hovercraft & Snowmobile Rides Snowmobiles have nearly replaced dogsleds in snowy regions. Faster and louder than a dogsled, snowmobiles are as fun to ride as motorcycles. A hovercraft floats over any type of surface on a cushion of air produced by a fan mounted on the craft. Russian engineers are pros at designing and building hovercraft, and boast the biggest one in the world.

The ride's nice on ice in this hovercraft atop Lake Baikal <br>Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin

The ride’s nice on ice in this hovercraft atop Lake Baikal
Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin

Passengers on a hovercraft can float over the beach and onto the surface of the lake at a higher rate of speed than most boats. The same can happen in winter as you are whisked from the shore onto the ice in a heartbeat.

 

Why end might Winter in Siberia with MIRSiberia is a wild and wooded place of unimaginable beauty, especially in winter. You can try your hand at ice-fishing, riding snow machines and mushing Siberian huskies on these MIR winter tours:

You can also travel on a custom private journey, hand-crafted to match your interests and travel style.

MIR has 30 years travel experience in Siberia and MIR affiliate offices in the Siberian cities of Irkutsk and Ulan Ude, offering on-the-ground support and quality you can trust and guides and tour managers that clients rave about.

(Feature photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin)

PUBLISHED: September 16, 2014

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