Kamchatka: Ski touring the active volcanoes

Just imagine skiing down a volcano! Then imagine skiing down the slopes of a volcano with phenomenal views of the Pacific Ocean! It’s real — this once-in-a-lifetime experience is only possible on the wild Kamchatka peninsula, known as the land of fire and ice. Located in the Russian Far East, just north of Japan, Kamchatka has 300 volcanoes (listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list) and make up over 40% of the entire peninsula. The volcanic slopes here are the perfect place for freeriding and ski-touring.

Itinerary

Day 1
Hello, Kamchatka!

The plane lands Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky airport (UTC+12), where you’ll be welcomed by NFR Travel team.

Transfer to the base of the Vilyuchinsky Volcano. We’ll stay overnight at one of the best bases in the area. We’ll check the equipment and prepare for our adventure! You have the option of an easy ski tour in the local area followed by some serious relaxation in the thermal pool.

Ascent / descent — 200 m. Duration — 3 hours.

Day 2
Trial ascent and descent

We’ll take a short course on avalanche safety and then do a trial ascent and descent. After lunch we’ll climb up Mount Goryachaya (721 m), which offers an incredible vista of the Vilyuchinsky Volcano and the Paratunka Valley.

Ascent / descent — 500 m. Duration — 4 hours.

Day 3
Mount Barkhatnaya Sopka

This is going to be one busy day! We’ll spend it on the slopes of the relatively inaccessible Mount Barkhatnaya Sopka (870 m) using special alpine equipment. Then for some ski touring, and if we have enough energy left, a descent on the opposite side, from where we’ll head back to base.

Ascent / descent — 600–1000 m. Duration — 6 hours. Snowmobile ride — 1 hour.

Day 4
An ascent up Vilyuchinsky

A snowmobile ride up to an altitude of 500 m. Ascent to the Vilyuchinsky Volcano (2,173 m), where pure white snow is found all year long. Enjoy the breathtaking views over the boundless Pacific Ocean, the impressive and fearsome looking Mutnovsky, Gorely, Opala and Asach volcanoes and volcanoes of the Avacha Range. For the second part of the ascent, we’ll be using special climbing equipment. In the evening we’ll leave base and move to the foot of the Avachinsky Volcano.

Ascent / descent — 1500–2000 m. Duration — 8 hours. Snowmobile ride — 1 hour.

Day 5
Heli-skiing

This will be a full day of heli-skiing. In the morning (or time permitting, the night before) we’ll take you through the briefing, provide you with airbags (included in the price) and at about 11:00 start the day’s heli-skiing to master the most foreboding slopes! We expect to make 4 to 8 unforgettable descents with a total drop of up to 4,000 m.

In the evening we leave base and move to the foot of the Avachinsky Volcano.

Ascent / descent — 800–1000 m. Duration — 4 hours.

Day 6
Ski-touring over the pass — Avachinsky

Today is spent ski touring the slopes of one of the most beautiful and active volcanoes in the region — Avachinsky (2,741 m). After lunch we’ll get ready to climb the volcano, check all the equipment and hold a briefing.

Ascent / descent — 1800 m. Duration — 4 hours

Day 7
Up Avachinsky, 2,741 m — ski touring

We’ll climb up the volcano with a drop of 1800 m. This is one of the most active volcanoes around — its throat (the technical term) is constantly smoky. We’ll take in the awesome views over the Pacific and neighbouring other volcanoes and get up close to the pungent sulfur fields and the steamy fumaroles.

Ascent / descent — 1800 m. Duration — 7–8 hours.

Day 8
Reserve day

An easy ski-tour of the Koryaksky Volcano (good weather permitting) — on this reserve day, we may go up the Koryaksky Volcano, if the ascent on day 7 was a success. In bad weather, the plan is to climb the Avachinsky Volcano.

Ascent / descent — 400–1000 m. Duration — 4 hours.

Today, you’ll have an option to ascend the Koryaksky Volcano to a height of 3,456 m. The elevation change is 2,500 m, the ascent is complex and requires advanced climbing skills. One guide is provided for every three climbers. This activity needs to be booked in advance, for a minimum of 2 persons.

Day 9
An excursion to the Pacific Ocean by dogsled

An unforgettable dog sled ride to the Pacific coast where we’ll walk on the jet-black volcanic shore and shop for fish specialties at the city market.

Day 10
See you later, Kamchatka!

Transfer to the airport and departure home.

Extra day
Surfing at Kamchatka

As an option, you can add a day of surfing on Pacific waves to the basic tour. To be paid for and planned in advance.

Extra day
Heli-skiing

The tour includes one full day of heli-skiing. Additional day of hell-skiing can be added at your request. To be planned and paid for in advance.

Accomodation & Transport

While the first part of this tour is organized to provide you with maximum comfort, the second part will be held in severe conditions but with an incredible view of a high mountain pass.

During the first 4 days you’ll be staying at one of the best mountain lodges of the peninsula in a house with a thermal pool. Next 4 days, you’ll  be staying at simple, but cozy mountain cabins of mountain rescuers at an altitude of 1000 m above sea level — an ideal place to escape from civilization and enjoy the panorama of the peninsula. Your group will be accommodated individually. The final point of the route will be at a comfortable hotel in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. This trip includes snowcat and snowmobile rides.

Included
Not included
Documents
  • Individual consultation and ability to tailor the tour according to your requirements. In order to provide the highest level of service, we only work with individual travelers and private groups.
  • Full program: 10 days, 9 nights. Activities: skiing, heli-skiing, climbing, dog sledding.
  • Accommodation: 4 nights at premium quality hotel (one of best bases in Kamchatka), 4 nights in mountain cabins, 1 night at a hotel in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
  • Meals: full board on base, camp food in the mountains; delicacies such as caviar, dried and salted fish, and crab are available every day. All personal eating habits are taken into account. Dinners are not included in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on days 9 and 10 (we will provide a list of recommended restaurants).
  • Transport: pick-up and drop-off at the local airport, trips in SUVs, snowmobile trips.
  • Safety and support: qualified English-speaking avalanche instructors with many years of experience in (Attestation in CAA (Canadian Avalanche Association), ACC, Avalanch-1, Skitour-1, RMGA members). Avalanche safety course before the start of the program. Upon request we can arrange a guide with other language skills. A full set of avalanche and special equipment: beeper, avalanche probe (to gauge depth), shovel, avalanche backpack, walkie-talkie.
  • MI-8 helicopter flights on the day of heli-skiing. 2 hours’ flight time are enough for about 4 descents per day (if desired, the number of hours / days of heli-skiing can be increased).
  • Equipment: we will select the proper skis/snowboard and a helmet for you.
  • Dog sled trip to the Pacific Ocean coast.
  • A tourist invitation for a tourist visa for Russia. Article: «How to get a visa for Russia».
  • Flights.
  • Russian tourist visa. Article: «How to get a visa for Russia».
  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Dinners in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on the 9th and 10th days.
  • Additional flight time for heli-skiing.

Extra days tours

  • Surfing in the Pacific Ocean
  • Additional day of heli-skiing
  • A Russian visa: a tourist invitation is provided by NFR Travel company. Article: «How to get a visa for Russia».
  • Comprehensive travel insurance — for your safety and also required for the visa. We recommend including the following additional activities for this tour:
    • extreme sports,
    • skiing,
    • heli-skiing,
    • accident insurance.
  • Citizens of the Russian Federation need to buy travel insurance for extreme sports (ski touring, heli-skiing).

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Kamchatka is a perfect place for extremal adventures in the winter! The volcanoes get covered in snow so it’s possible not only to climb them but also to ski down their untouched slopes. Skiing from a volcano you just climbed on foot feels amazing: looking down from the top, observing the ocean and the breathtaking landscapes of Kamchatka — a true reward for only a few chosen ones.

— Natasha / Founder & CEO NFR Travel