The World Snow Forum in Novosibirsk kicked off a process for the much needed branding of Siberia for winter (and summer) tourism.
'I don't really know - are my teeth chattering because I'm nervous or because it was cold? But actually, I really liked it - it was cool. I could've stood there for longer', said contestant Maria Shmelyova from Berdsk. Picture: World Snow Forum
The truth is that we maybe the capital of Russia's snowlands with some sensational mountain ranges, but competing with St Moritz and Jackson Hole is some way off. Still, the recent World Snow Forum in Novosibirsk - the largest city and unofficial capital - kicked off a process for the much needed branding of Siberia, with a little help from some local beauty contestants.
'As the participants of the meeting agreed, with the right approach and right marketing Siberia will become a Mecca of winter tourism, a centre of attraction for fans of ski-ing', said one report.
Sergei Tikhomirov, deputy head of 'Sibirskoe Soglashenie Association', an organisation uniting regions and organisations across Siberia, told how the first steps have been taken to tramsform Siberia into a capital of Russian mountain ski-ing.
A unified portal of tours and services around Siberia is to be launched within the next year and a half.
In fact, Siberia boasts around 100 downhill ski resorts. While they are well known to Russians and Siberians, they are not names that trip off the tongue in the world outside, despite catering for all tastes and abilities among skiers.
Lacking so far is the infrastructure on the pistes and with hotels, yet Russia has shown how quick a transformation can take place with building of the five star ski resorts that will host the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi by the Black Sea.
The leading Siberian resorts are linked to the Altai Mountains and in Kemerovo, while in Krasnoyarsk the pistes are so close that residents can ski during their lunch breaks.
The forum in Novosibirsk was dedicated to improving the living conditions of those living in snowy climates. A session discussed the tourism potential in Siberia which included tourism associations, tour companies, RosTurism, private companies and officials from several regions.
Governor Vasiliy Yurchenko said that his own region Novosibirsk can 'learn good lessons from other countries and regions, but also show itself in a good light'.
Perhaps he was referring to the Miss Snow Universe beauty pageant, a highlight of the forum which brought participants from Canada, Norway, Finland, Netherlands, France, the USA, the UK as well as Russia.
Organiser Tatyana Fetisova said the cold temperatures were no reason not to held a bikini parade. Pictures: World Snow Forum
The Siberian beauty pageant had contestants slip out of their fur coats to parade in their swim suits in temperatures nudging minus 20C.
Organiser Tatyana Fetisova said the cold temperatures were no reason not to held a bikini parade.
'We understood that we don't have the sea or the ocean - we can't photograph the girls in bikinis. But we wanted to do this anyway, so we decided it would be sensational if we did it in the way that we did it,' she said.
'I don't really know - are my teeth chattering because I'm nervous or because it was cold? But actually, I really liked it - it was cool. I could've stood there for longer', said contestant Maria Shmelyova from Berdsk.
Afterwards they quickly got back into a bus to warm up.
It was 50 years ago on Sunday that Valentina Tereshkova made history blasting off into space, the first female in orbit.
Aleftina Rapatsevich, 85, a survivor of the wartime Siege of Leningrad, was infuriated at the lack of action by her housing management company.
Peking to Paris - 'the longest and toughest challenge anyone can drive in a vintage or classic car'.
Alina Borodina, 22, confessed to The Siberian Times that she lost a bet about her 'private life' and had to run in her swimwear through Tomsk city centre.
The Siberian Times keeps writing about the unique seals sanctuary organised by Lora Beloivan from Vladivostok.