Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Every year in January and February I go, or rather, I went to Krasnaya Polyana in Sochi. This year I decided to diversify my snowboarding life a little and go from January 17 to 23 to the Murmansk region – there is a ski resort “Big Woodyavr” in the city of Kirovsk.

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Big Woodyavr – on the left is the Southern slope, on the right is the Northern slope

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Actually, I and my sword

Why Kirovsk? I have heard about this place for a long time, I watched videos on YouTube from satisfied skiers and snowboarders who praised it. I really liked the nature and landscapes of the north, so I decided to try this direction. In addition, the city is located, relative to Moscow, not so far – about 2 hours by plane, and you are here 🙂

Arrival in Kirovsk

We booked tickets in December. A round-trip flight by S7 Airlines from Moscow to Kirovsk cost 7,000 rubles. Just in case, they took return tickets so as not to lose money if something is closed due to the coronavirus tantrums of our officials. 

The apartment was booked through Airbnb, for six days it turned out to be 16,000 rubles. Given that holidays at Rosa Khutor in Sochi, due to the excitement associated with the closure of borders and ski resorts in Europe, have risen significantly in price (on average by 150%), we really saved quite a lot.

On January 17 we arrived to the airport, went through the registration procedures and now we are getting into our small brand new 72-seater scorer. Previously, I had already flown a similar aircraft from Kaluga to St. Petersburg and I liked it.

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Aircraft Embraer (Embraer) airlines S7

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Embraer S7 airlines

2 hours later landed at Khibiny airport. Honestly, even now I don’t quite understand how to call it correctly – Khibiny, Apatity, Kirovsk 🙂 All three names are the same.

Upon arrival at the runway, we were met by a boring security guard. He noticed that I was taking pictures of the plane and the airport, and asked me to stop this disgrace, explaining that the airport is a secret closed facility. 

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

S7 Embraer plane in Khibiny

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Khibiny Airport, which is forbidden to film

In my opinion, this is nonsense, and only in Russia they do such nonsense with secrets and prohibitions on the territory of airports. Apparently they are afraid that from the photographs it will be possible to make exactly the same beauty somewhere in Singapore … They don’t know what to ban already! In general, his warning did not work for me, I took a picture of what I wanted 🙂

The airport is small – it has only one room with a luggage belt. The usual uncomfortable airport comes from the nineties. 

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Khibiny Airport inside, baggage claim

After receiving the luggage, we headed to the car, previously ordered from the owner of the apartment we rented. The trip cost 800 rubles. one way. Taxi drivers usually ask about 1000 rubles. Since the airport is small, there were no clusters of taxi cars, by analogy with Adler, offering a ride to the ski resort. 

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Khibiny Airport  outdoor

The distance from the airport to our place of residence, near the ski lift, was about 35 km, and took about half an hour.

Accommodation and food

Architecture in Kirovsk is a legacy of the USSR. Ordinary five-story buildings that can be found in any Russian city. 

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

View of Kirovsk from the window of the apartment ed8b8d4.jpg” alt=”Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?” />

Kirovsk is surrounded by such mountains-hills

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

This nice cozy entrance is ours 🙂 

I liked the apartment, for such money, in principle, to demand something more is super-arrogance. Clean, spacious, and 5 minutes walk from the ski lifts. The only drawback is that the hot water smells of something strange, possibly hydrogen sulfide. But this is true throughout the city.

This is not the first time I have encountered such problems in Russia. For example, in Ryazan, in residential buildings in the city center, the water smells like fish – this is really unpleasant, but brushing your teeth with such water and washing your face is disgusting. In Kirovsk, the cold water is good, but the hot one smells, and it somehow doesn’t wash off like that, it’s not oily, but it still doesn’t wash off like ordinary water. This was noticed not only by us, but also by our friends who lived in a nearby sanatorium.

It is a pity that in such a vast and seemingly rich country, in which the president has a palace worth 100 billion rubles, we are forced to use frankly poor-quality water, not to mention drinking it. It's no secret that most Russians drink bottled water, but I think it's terrible. When I lived in France, you could safely drink tap water there and there were no problems. So much for decaying Europe.

The hostess turned out to be a surprisingly sweet and pleasant woman, she offered us the services of a cook – of course, we agreed. The next day, she brought us a pot of delicious soup and two types of dumplings – beef and venison. To be honest, I haven’t tried venison before, and I didn’t like it :-), but homemade beef dumplings were wonderful.

A walk around Kirovsk

After the luggage was unpacked, we decided first have dinner and then take a walk.

Near our house there was this cafe “Boho” with a very unusual design solution for the design of the facade. Inside is delicious, the waiters are cool – friendly, and the food is delicious. The price tag is too big for Kirovsk.

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Cafe “Boho” in Kirovsk, entrance

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

 Boho, Kirovsk

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Inside “Boho” quite nice

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Noodles with egg, cafe “Boho” 

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Interior of Boho Cafe, Kirovsk

Then, with the help of Google Maps, we went down the street to the neighboring park. 

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Let's go from the cafe towards the park

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Road to the park from the cafe

Here is the main entrance to the park:

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

The main entrance to the city park of Kirovsk

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

City Park of Kirovsk

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

City Park of Kirovsk in the evening

Very cozy, snowy and well lit. Nice place for walking.

Then we went for a walk around the city. It is small – a population of about 26,000 people.

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Snow-covered Lake Superior next to the park

This is Lake Superior, next to it there is a monument to the defenders of the Arctic and, a little further, the house of culture and the resort boulevard – one of the prettiest places in the city.

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Monument to the defenders of the Arctic

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Christmas decorations of Kirovsk

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Typical bus stop in Kirovsk

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

House of Culture in Kirovsk

Great wide staircases go from it – growing into a resort boulevard. This is a very cozy and photogenic street.

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

View of Kurortny Boulevard from the House of Culture

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Resort boulevard in the city of Kirovsk

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Kurortny boulevard in winter in the city of Kirovsk

It overlooks the square, next to which there is a two-story building of the local shopping center, open until 19:00, and a museum. 

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Elephants, Kurortny Boulevard behind them on the left

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Elephants on Kirovska Square

We don't really like museums, so we will limit ourselves to a photo of its facade. 

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

The building of the main museum of Kirovsk

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Building of the main museum of Kirovsk, view from the road

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Another bus stop

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Typical courtyard landscapes of Kirovsk

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

View of the Museum and the main shopping center

Our first walk through the park and the city center took about 2 hours, then we went home to sleep.

Here's some more city architecture:

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

The dull architecture of Kirovsk

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Beautiful night view of mountains over Kirovsk

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Unusual night landscapes of Kirovsk

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Let's go to our house after the walk

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Here are our houses

Mysterious forest

We also went to the Mysterious Forest art park – it's a really cool place. I'm not a fan of this at all, but I was impressed. We spent a couple of hours there, and if not for the frost, we would have walked more, but the park is completely open-air, so it was a bit chilly. I already wrote a post about visiting this place – you can read it here.

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

A walk through the Mysterious Forest Art Park 

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Walk in the Mysterious Forest Art Park, Kirovsk

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

A walk in the Mysterious Forest Art Park, Kirovsk 2021 “src=”/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/gornolyzhnyj-kirovsk-v-janvare-stoit-li-ehat-v-bolshoj-vudjavr-820db22.jpg” alt=”Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth to go to Big Woodyavr?” />

Big Woodyavr, main entrance

In this building there is a ticket office, rental and toilets, and you can also buy a snowmobile tour. For two ski passes for five days, we paid 5300 rubles each. The cashier advised me to keep the check and take a picture of the ski pass – if lost, you can restore it.

After completing the formalities, we went to the main lift (the only one) and went upstairs. Ordinary booths, a little strange in height – you can’t stand upright in them, they are low.

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Big Woodyavr, main cabin lift

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Big Woodyavr, inside the booth

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Bolshoy Vudyavr, the upper station of the lift

The weather on our first day was not very friendly – cold and windy, sometimes there was fog and light snow fell. Nevertheless, I decided to go around all the available tracks to understand how everything works here.

From the top station of the cabin lift, you can go either down to the starting station, or to the southern slope, to which two tracks lead – red and black. 

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Great Woodyavr, view from the Northern to the Southern Elephant

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Great Woodyavr, view of the chair lift and the restaurant

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

A panoramic restaurant is being completed upstairs

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

On the roof of an old abandoned station

The red run is good and long, but at the end there is a gently sloping section about 500 m long, and snowboarders do not have enough to reach about 200 m. No matter how I tried, I never succeeded! The black track, in my opinion, is not quite black, but rather red. It is not very long, so it was enough for me to drive through it only once, and I did not want to do it again. They say that last year it was located differently, and it was more interesting.

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Both the red and black trails connect just in the area of ​​​​this gently sloping section, at the end of which there is a chair lift, on which you can climb back to the upper station of the cable lift, or you can go down below – to the building in which there is a cafe and other useful for services for skiers.

Here is the lower station of the ski lift.

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Bolshoy Vudyavr, map of the slopes

The resort has two ski areas – the northern and southern slopes. The slopes of the northern slope run along the cabin lift – they are wide, long and comfortable for any level of skiing. The routes of the southern slope are laid along two drag lifts. They are my biggest disappointment of the resort. 

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Wide trails of the North, next to the cabin lift

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Northern Elephant of the Resort

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Wide tracks of the North, along the cabin lift

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Bolshoy Vudyavr, South Slope ski lifts

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Bolshoy Vudyavr, drag lifts in the South

In addition to being slow, the ascent takes a lot of time, and it’s also uncomfortable – personally, my leg ached from the pressure of the drag handle, as if I had lain down 🙂

In total, the Big Woodyavr offers: one cabin lift, one slow chair lift, three ski lifts and 2 covered travolators.

In general, the slopes are good for beginners and intermediates schools that do not yet need a lot. I, of course, was a bit bored, lacking a variety of tracks and landscapes.

There are two cafes on the territory of the resort. One is near the cabin lift at the lower station, the second is near the tow lift on the southern slope, also at the lower station. 

The latter is clearly better – the food is tastier, cheaper and more fun. 

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Big Woodyavr, a cafe on the Southern Elephant

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Big Woodyavr, inside the cafe on the Southern Elephant 

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Inside the cafe on the Southern Elephant

And Marcel hangs out there – a rescue dog who will not miss a single chicken on the guests' plates, looks at you with devoted eyes until he gets his 🙂

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr ?

Marcel the dog inside the cafe on the Southern Elephant

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Marcel the dog is eyeing your dinner

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

We became very good friends at dinner

The prices in the cafe are adequate – soup from 180 to 240 rubles, buckwheat – 100 rubles, puffs – 90 rubles, hot from 240 to 350 rubles. Local prices compared to the same Rosa Khutor are two times lower.

It can be seen that the resort is being monitored – all trails are marked. For example, such signs are on the drag lift, where it can stagger. Very nice. 

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

A sign that it can storm while lifting on the yoke

Ski Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

A sign that it can storm during the ascent

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

View of the ski lift of the Southern slope

Of course, I didn’t see the employees who stand and look at each departing guest as if they were at Rosa Khutor, they are sitting here in their booths.

We skated for five days. In two of them, the main tracks were completely closed due to bad weather, only the lower training tracks were open. We did not use the ski pass that day, the money in such cases is not returned. If you want to be safe, take the option five out of seven if you plan not to go on some days. We took five out of five because it was cheaper 🙂

My skating experience is five years, four of which I skated at Rosa Khutor, so I can only compare with her. On the “Rose”, of course, nature is more picturesque due to forest landscapes, and the mountains are different, rocky. There are many more tracks, and they are different. On the Big Woodyavr, nature is more monotonous, and everything is arranged differently. 

However, Rosa Khutor costs 2-3 times more;) Therefore, we have no complaints, just stating the facts. If you are lucky with the weather, then spend 4–5 days in Kirovsk and ride, this is the best option – more, I think, it will be boring.

We usually skated from 11 am to 6 pm, there is no evening skiing here, the tracks close at 18:00 on Monday and Sunday, the rest of the time – at 19:00. Strange, of course. Almost all trails are backlit, they could work until late in the evening.

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Southern slope during the wind, Kirovsk -1a83d3d.jpg” alt=”Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?” />

South slope  from the chair lift during the wind

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Upper armchair station, Bolshoi Vudyavr 

After skiing, we went home for dinner or went to the Tirvas sanatorium – there is a good buffet for 350 rubles. per person with dishes of Russian cuisine: a couple of soups to choose from, 4–5 types of hot dishes, 3–4 side dishes, 4–6 salads, fruits, compote, tea and muffins for dessert. Very good and quite tasty for only 350 rubles.

Weather in Kirovsk

What's with the weather? As I said, we were from January 17 to 23, there was bad weather for three days – a snowstorm, strong wind and frost. As a result, the slopes were generally closed for two days. On other days, in general, tolerable. The temperature on the slopes is minus 8-12. The piercing wind interfered – without it it would be better. I had to dress warmly.

It was coldest on the tow lifts. They also froze on the chairlift – it is without a protective dome, just a “brother” of the lift to the “Stone Pillar” on Rosa Khutor, just as slow and cold, you can get frostbite 🙂

When is the best time to go?< /h2>

As the locals told us, the ski season in Kirovsk starts in early December and lasts until mid-April, there are exceptions, if you're lucky with snow, it can start in November and last until early May. But it's up to luck. 

We were here from January 17 to 23, and the slopes were closed for three days due to bad weather. For a couple of days the air temperature was around -23, strong wind and snow, as well as poor visibility.

That is, we were not very lucky with the weather for skiing. 

In general, I liked everything, it was our first trip to Kirovsk – the city is cozy, there is no valuable architecture, but it is surrounded by pretty snow-capped mountains. There are very friendly and welcoming people here. Thanks to their advice, we decided to visit the “Mysterious Forest”.

Whether I will come here again this year, I don't know yet. I realized that for skiing, resorts with a wide variety of slopes and the absence of ski lifts are more suitable for me – well, this is not my thing 🙂

Pros and cons of Big Woodyavr

Pros:

  • Low prices for flights from Moscow and accommodation.
  • The resort is located within the city, which is very convenient – you can walk from nearby houses and get there by regular public transport.
  • The resort is small and cozy – it’s impossible to get lost here.
  • In addition to the prepared slopes, there are many opportunities for off-piste skiing.
  • No queues and hustle at the ski lifts.
  • Low food prices on the territory resort.

Cons: 

  • One very slow chair lift, unprotected from the wind.
  • Since this is the north of Russia, you may not be lucky with the weather here – at minus 20 it is not very comfortable to ride, you need good warm clothes.
  • The southern slope is only accessible by drag lifts, but they are slow and uncomfortable, especially for beginners and snowboarders.
  • The quality of taxis in Kirovsk is not very high – mostly some old tortured cars such as Lada-dvenashki and Renault, unsafe for passengers, and not always adequate drivers – they can talk on the phone while driving, or drive recklessly on an icy road.

The city has Yandex.Taxi and taxi Fortuna, which provide almost the same service. At the same time, Yandex often has prices twice as high as those of Fortuna. “Fortune” must be ordered by phone, and Yandex – through the application. I advise you to watch Yandex first – if the price does not please you, then call Fortuna.

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Cold and wind on the Big Woodyavr chair

Skiing Kirovsk in January – is it worth going to Bolshoy Vudyavr?

Low visibility in bad weather, Big Woodyavr

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