Experience real winter
Celebrate Altaian New Year
Follow beautiful rivers
Catch awesome moments
Feel Altai at Altyn-Kol
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Experience Siberian Winter
Winter & Snow
23 February - 2 March 2023
Start & Finish
min. 4, max. 12 participants
Day 1. Welcome
We will meet you at the airport and will drive to Gorno-Altaisk city.
Today is not an usual day, but Chaga-Bayram! Altaian national holiday Chaga-Bayram is an ancient holiday which has come through the centuries and brought traditions and rituals of our ancestors. Early in the morning special rituals take place. After that – theatrical performances, parades, sports contests, tobogganing, exhibitions of traditional crafts and national cuisine. 2023 i the first year after pandemy, when event will be held in the main square and we will be participants.
In the afternoon we drive to our first destination on the bank of the Katun river. Katun is the main river of Altai. It is never completely frozen during winter. In some places you can see its beautiful streaming green water, in some places it goes completely under the ice and in some places broken ice forms fancy figures.
Next 2 days we will stay in a comfortable cottage owned by a very hospitable local family just near the Katun river.
After arriving at our cottage, you can have a peaceful walk in a pinewood forest along the Katun river.
Night: guest house | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 100 km| Walking: moderate
Highlights: winter Katun, Chaga-Bayram
Day 2. Hiking to the frozen waterfall and visit to a husky-farm
Today we will first drive along the beautiful Katun river about 1.5 hours with some stops to look at non-frozen rapids of the river or interesting viewpoints. A very special place is Oroktoy bridge across the Katun where the Katun flows in a narrow and very deep split in the rocks.
After the drive we will go hiking in the so-called Valley of mountain spirits to the tiny frozen waterfall.
On our way back from the waterfall we keep to the right and a bit higher we will have a fantastic view to both sides of the valley of the Katun river.
After lunch we go to meet the huskies! First, we will visit the center of sledge-dog breeding where hosts will tell us interesting stories about their dogs, sledging experience and their victories in the competitions. And of course, you will be able to hug, kiss and take pictures of these affectionate animals.
It is possible to book a short tour with a husky sledge. if you wish, you can even take some lessons and try driving it yourself. Communicating with huskies always brings an explosion of emotions and the positive mood which will last for long.
In the evening – possible to relax in the banya (Russian sauna).
Night: guest houses| Meal: 3 times | Driving: 60 km |Walking: intense (4 km)
Highlights: frozen waterfall, viewpoint, huskies
Day 3. To Teletskoye lake
This day we will drive to our second destination on the bank of Teletskoye lake, to a real winter taiga. Lake Teletskoye or Altyn-Köl, which means “Golden Lake” is a beautiful, large and very deep (up to 325 meters) lake in the Altai mountains. It is included in the UNESCO Heritage list. In the north of Teletskoye lake the snowpack is usually pretty high – 1-1.5 meters and in some years it can reach 2.5 meters. Teletskoye lake gets completely frozen only once in 8-10 years. Usually in the middle a part of the water stays open for the whole winter, the northern part of the lake is always frozen.
The drive will take us about 4-5 hours but we will make several stops not to get bored. First stop – at the legendary orthodox church on the Patmos island in the village Chemal.
We will also stop at the so-called Dragon’s teeth, triangular rocks coming out of the river just in the middle. In Gorno-Altaisk we will visit the National Museum of the Altai Republic. It exhibits the famous “Siberian Ice Maiden” and other interesting items about the past in the Altai Republic.
Closer to the evening we will arrive to our new accommodation – a cozy wooden cottage hidden in the Siberian forest.
Night: guest houses | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 260 km | Walking: moderate
Highlights:Patmos island, Dragon’s teeth, National Museum
Day 4. Exploring winter taiga
After the long drive yesterday we will have a free morning to relax a bit or make a small walk. After lunch we will have a walk along Teletskoye lake and then in the winter forest along the ecological path to another frozen waterfall. You will see a lot of small birds which stay for winter in Siberia and even footprints of wild animals in the deep snow.
In the afternoon we will look at Teletskoye lake from the top of the mountain Tilan- Tuu.
A good method to get warm and relaxed in the evening– the banya!
Night: guest houses | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 10 km | Walking: intense
Highlights: Siberian taiga, viewpoint
Day 5. The real beauty of Teletskoye lake and Altai reserve
Today we will devote the whole day to the village Yailu which is situated on the territory of the Altai nature biosphere reserve.
The place where the village is situated is rather unique. Here the lake makes its turn and due to a lot of winds almost never gets frozen (only in very severe winters) but creates fancy ice sculptures on the stones and trees.
The drive to Yailu will take almost 2.5 hours along twisting snow-covered roads through the real Siberian taiga. Upon arrival, we will visit the Altai reserve office where the rangers will tell us about the lake and the reserve.
Then we will go hiking along the bank of the lake till the Chichilgan cape (3 km one way) from where both sides of the lake are visible. Along our way we will explore fantastic ice sculptures and enjoy beautiful views.
In the evening we will return to our guest houses.
Night: | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 220 km| Walking: intense (6 km)
Highlights: Altai reserve, ice sculptures, non-frozen Teletskoye lake
Day 6. Skiing & snow activities
We will take you to the ski-resort, it is a short drive and we will stay there the whole day.
To start we will drive to the valley of the river Iogach, there you can rent ski equipment and have a great day with fun and sports, or you can go up with the cable road which will deliver you to the top of the mountain Kokuya which is 1385 meters a.s.l. If the weather is clear, there are absolutely fantastic views, almost 360 degrees around from the top of the mountain. We can even see a part of Teletskoye lake. Besides, there is a very nice café with tasty hot coffee.
If you are not a fan of mountain skiing, you can enjoy cross-country skiing or snow tubing.
At the end of the day we will bring you back to the hotel.
Night: houses | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 15 km | Walking: sport activities
Highlights: cable road, viewpoint, sport activities
Day 7. Altaian culture
This day you will get acquainted with the culture and traditions of local people – northern Altaians in the ethnographic center which is situated in the next village (in 25 km). Friendly hosts will tell a lot about history and traditions of Tubular people and even will show some rituals. You will enjoy lunch with dishes of Altaian cuisine and even will see how some meals are cooked.
In the afternoon we will start driving to Gorno-Altaisk
You will stay in a hotel in Gorno-Altaisk.
Night: hotel | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 160 km | Walking: moderate
Highlights: ethnographic center
Day 8. Farewell
After breakfast we will transfer you to the airport for your flight home or your next destination.