Photos by: Jaka Skorjanc, Cyrilde Pic, Marco Gaiani and Ode Siivonen
I flew from Los Angeles and 2 weeks of skydiving under the Southern California sun, straight to snowy Petropavlovsk in Eastern Russia in a mind numbing 35-hour travel. Quite a contrast in culture and landscape but such a nice feeling to finally see a little bit of this mythic place I have heard so much about!
Kamchatka turned out to be a trip of a lifetime! Imagine heliskiing in some of the wildest terrain in the world, landing on active volcanoes puffing smoke just next to you with one meter of soft, light powder snow, couloirs and beautiful faces, magnificent forest with nice features and jumps and cool lines to ride as far as the eye can see. Skiing untouched powder all day long until your legs are burning, have a little luxury field lunch by the sea or a river. Salmon, meat, cheese, soup, cafe and chocolate next to the helicopter and sometimes champagne before flying back home. Getting spoiled. Dipping into a wild, volcanic pool somewhere in the middle of nowhere during or after a skiing day, seeing bears, seals, eagles and other wildlife. Just an unreal experience!
We’d start the day with early breakfast and guide’s meeting where we go through the weather and the day’s options. We prepare the equipment and lunch for the day and get picked up by the helicopter outside our hotel. We flew with 3 helicopters but with good planning and communication we barely saw the other two. Still it’s good to know they are there if ever we needed one. The area where we can fly is huge and the possibilities where to ski are almost endless. Lead guides know the area well and their powder nose hunted down some very fun terrain and snow to ride. We can choose between huge volcanoes, stunning fjords, couloirs, faces, spines, forests or even an volcano island outside the main peninsula. Or if one wants, it’s even possible to do a few days helicopter safari where you fly all over the peninsula and explore even further. I think we did up to 16 runs per day. In a nutshell: Amazing skiing and snowboarding!
Cyrilde pulled out her speedride canopy and enjoyed a few nice flights on one of the big volcanoes. It looked so much fun flying in the air and sometimes cruising in deep pow. We did some follow cam filming and got a few good images and fun riding. Speedriding seemed to interess a lot of people so in the future we hope to see more speedriders cruising down the volcanoes.
At the hotel we spent our evenings eating, chilling, drinking and socialising. I got to meet cool and extremely interesting people, guides and clients, with so many different experiences in life that it was very exiting and entertaining to hear all the crazy things people have gone through. We had a party with a local band, enjoyed champage and strawberries and of course vodka and caviar, ate giant crabs and amazing seafood. During a bad weather day we went to see the city of Petropavlovsk to go bouldering indoors and also did a nice skitour and a dogsled safari. Sauna, two volcanic swimming pools and a cold water pool at the hotel guaranteed a daily chill out relax experience to the max.
All the amazing terrain and nature, skiing and snowboarding and friendly people definitely made this trip one of the most memorable trips I have ever done and I hope to return!
For more info email me or contact www.vertikalny-mir.com/en/ or www.heliski-russia.com
Big thanks to professional crew of Vertikalnyi Mir and Heliski Russia for having me! Lead guides Nikolay, Marco, Ralf and Jossi as well as the local Russian aspirant guides Max, Nikita, Victor, Sergey and Maria and Ludmila and other staff members to make everything run safe and smooth. Chapeau!