This Saturday (12/1), I went for my first ski in Bitsevsky Park in Moscow, Russia and was pleasantly surprised. The area is on the southern outskirts of the city and is accessible by the subway system and a short bus ride. It took about 1 hour from my apartment in the city center to the trail head. The trails were well packed with decent tracks in many areas, all done by snowmobile. We received 6 inches of snow in the last three days on top of an ice base and it was 22 F and overcast. There were no trail fees and the whole day cost me $3 in bus and subway fares.
There were a ton of skiers out, ranging from people just out for a tour to several extremely impressive juniors hauling around the trails. It was quite strange to be in this park that was bordered by massive gray apartment buildings, yet still complete wilderness. There were somewhere between 15-20km of trails and with the exception of the trailhead, I saw no signs of civilization for an hour and a half. It was so refreshing to be able to leave the city, or at least the crowded parts, and go for a long ski. Certainly, these trails would never justify a trip over here, but it was surprisingly good skiing for a public park in Moscow (or in any city for that matter). I am particularly excited for the frequent races they have here starting in January. Sometime over the next 3 months, I hope to visit some of the actual ski centers, located outside the city, and will definitely pass along some pictures and a description.
The author is a recent graduate of Williams College where he was a four year member of the ski team. He currently lives in Moscow, Russia doing a 5-month internship.
Tracks weren't to bad considering a 5-6″ base
Its like a miniature West Yellowstone with several booths set up