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'In the West sometimes they think that Siberia is snow and nothing else. But there is such life and energy here!'
dancer Sergei Polunin

Warm welcome awaits as Siberia launches plan to be new Mecca for world's ski tourists

By The Siberian Times
21 January 2013

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.

Miss Snow 2013


Miss Snow 2013


Miss Snow 2013

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.

Comments (6)

Yes. Thanks. If I ever get to meet President Putin I'll tell him as well...After all he is the 'mover and shaker' in Russia, isn't he? I figure he knows this already but it seems that getting even the Siberan&FE Development Agency to 'remove the digit from where it shouldn't be...' and get their act together is something of an uphill struggle. Putin must sometimes feel like Sisiphus...

Philip, UK
23/01/2013 15:48
1
0
Philip needs to be employed by one of the PR agencies that is trying to sort Siberia's image. or instead of them))
Elena, Tobolsk
23/01/2013 00:33
3
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Philip right and 'beauty pageant' wrong. hope someone listens
Oleg, Moscow
22/01/2013 22:46
3
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continued... Russia has the finacial means for mass marketing. She needs to import Western marketing firms to do the work over the long term. Then she needs high speed railways, airtransport hubs and swanky hotels and other tiourist fcilities that function reliably all year round. Withoiut all the above, Russia Siberia will remain as unknown as the American Midwest or the Yukon.
Philip, UK
22/01/2013 15:45
5
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What Siberia and Russia need is a series of big events like the Sochi Winter Olympics to begin to put both Russia and Siberia on the map as major destinations for both sport and tourism. More than that thoiugh, they need to create major sport and tourism hubs with all the facvilities and infrastructure of say Europe, and then get a major marketing campaign underway. It should be that at some point in the next 10-20 years you can walk into a travel agency or go online and see Russian and Siberian destinations marketed as swankily and glossily, yes 'swankily and glossily' as the Mediterranean, the Alps or the Rockies. This is called competiton, and Russia/Siberia need to learn how to do it in both East (Asia) and the West.


Philip, UK
22/01/2013 15:44
5
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c-c-c-c-old! but stunning Siberians
Mark, Oslo
21/01/2013 23:44
4
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