Breaking Journey Information interview: Alexander Belokobylskyi, normal director, Rosa Khutor | Focus

Breaking Travel News interview: Alexander Belokobylskyi, general director, Rosa Khutor | Focus

As award-winning Russian ski resort Rosa Khutor celebrates its tenth anniversary with the opening of the brand new Doppelmayer cable automotive, Breaking Journey Information chats with normal director Alexander Belokobylskyi to seek out out extra

Breaking Journey Information: The primary occasion of the anniversary winter season would be the launch of a brand new ski elevate from 2,320 meters above sea stage to the southern slope. What are you able to inform us about that?

Alexander Belokobylskyi: An deserted apiary. A wild river. A forest. Mountains. A skinny thread of filth street. And nothing extra. Precisely like this, the place was the place the most important mountain resort within the nation, Rosa Khutor, is positioned.

As we speak there are 29 state-of-the-art lifts, over 100 kilometres of ski pistes, and as much as two million guests yearly.

On December 15th, the mountain complicated celebrates its first anniversary – ten years since opening.

BTN: The tenth anniversary of Rosa Khutor is a severe date for the very younger Russian ski tourism. Congratulations!

AB: Thanks, however I wish to level out that it’s the tenth anniversary of the ski centre’s opening. The creation of the resort started a lot earlier – the corporate Rosa Khutor appeared again in 2003, and we began to suppose over the venture and the idea.

BTN: It seems that the concept of making a resort isn’t associated to the Winter Olympics in 2014, as many suppose. In any case, there have been competitions in Alpine snowboarding, and the most important variety of awards had been drawn.

AB: The thought of making a ski resort in Sochi’s mountains appeared even earlier than the town received the bid to host the Olympics. The plan was to have a small resort with six lifts and several other accommodations. At the moment, nobody thought of a bigger venture. This was as a result of lack of the required accompanying infrastructure – there have been inadequate energy and water provide and an underdeveloped street community.

Nonetheless, we imagine that our plans to construct a ski resort performed an vital function in the truth that Sochi was chosen because the Olympic capital. That is as a result of uniqueness of the place. It takes plenty of venues to host the Winter Olympics. And if stadiums may be constructed virtually wherever, if just for funding, then for snowboarding competitions, you want pistes with particular, inflexible parameters – with a transparent drop in altitude. You can not simply take a mountain and pile it on; you want particular terrain!

In response to the worldwide consultants’ estimates, it turned clear – Rosa Khutor pistes are perfect for the Olympic begins. Naturally, after receiving the fitting to host the Winter Olympics, we revised our plans, and the resort turned a lot bigger.

The assist of the state, which undertook the creation of the required engineering and street infrastructure, was of nice significance. After all, no enterprise might bear such bills.

BTN: Whenever you come to Rosa Khutor as we speak, it seems like a fairy-tale gingerbread city: fairly homes with turrets alongside the river, a bridge, the city corridor. How did all of it start?

AB: Completely from scratch. Once we bought to the grounds, there was nothing right here. In the beginning of the final century, there was a farmstead of Estonian settlers right here, however it was lengthy deserted. In entrance of us, there was solely a mountain river, a wild forest, and a slim filth street, on which it was tough to drive to the cordon of the Caucasus Nature Reserve.

I actually was born in Krasnaya Polyana. At the moment it was a small village of four-to-five thousand folks. And all the encircling magnificence, the mountains, the river, the air, the forest, primarily belonged to this small group of individuals.

The village, regardless of its distinctive nature and local weather, was not creating. There was no street. We had been related to the town by one freeway with a piece that the residents known as “God Bless You!” 4 kilometres, sheer cliff down, sheer cliff up. Giant automobiles couldn’t go on such a street in winter due to the snow, and we had been lower off from Sochi for weeks. Then the development of the tunnels started, the laying of the brand new route. I keep in mind when the primary bus with vacationers arrived within the village. It was a grand occasion.

BTN: Do you remorse that your childhood village has modified a lot? And environmentalists are involved that the resort is encroaching on the Caucasus Biosphere Reserve.

AB: That is my homeland, and naturally, I care about all the pieces that occurs right here. However this growth has benefited not solely Krasnaya Polyana however the whole area. Once I graduated from highschool, I needed to depart for an additional metropolis. There have been merely no jobs for younger folks within the village.

As for environmentalists, defending nature is a significant a part of their duties. However we didn’t construct a metallurgical plant or an industrial plant. We constructed a resort. All those that feared that we’d destroy nature now know that nothing of the type has occurred. The whole lot may be very harmonious.

Sure, we needed to lower down some timber. However we planted tens of 1000’s of seedlings and replanted endangered vegetation monitored by specialists at numerous ranges. In addition to, for some cause, nobody remembers that there was a forestry enterprise in Krasnaya Polyana, and timber was harvested on an industrial scale. However not anymore.

All our tasks have handed the primary state experience, which incorporates environmental points. And, as apply exhibits, the necessities of Russian regulation are sometimes stricter than worldwide guidelines. Even as we speak, we pay plenty of consideration to the preservation of the atmosphere. For instance, we have now a program for separate rubbish assortment, recycling, and power conservation. Ski pistes are sown with native grass to strengthen the slopes.

BTN: How tough was the interval of Olympic development?

AB: Naturally, the preparation for the Olympics was difficult. Our nation had no expertise in any respect with the Winter Olympics, no specialists. Overseas consultants had been concerned. After all, some helped us wholeheartedly, whereas others did the other. Now it’s clear that we did plenty of additional work, someplace we had been compelled to spend extra money. For instance, there’s a street that results in the end space. A single tunnel venture was made for it. However the IOC specialists insisted on constructing a second tunnel. And sadly, there have been such moments. However we pulled all of it off and had a very nice Olympics.

BTN: After the Olympics, there have been severe fears that many pricey amenities would turn out to be redundant and deserted. In your case, they clearly didn’t come true?

AB: We did have some considerations in regards to the summer season season. It’s all clear in winter – snowboarding or snowboarding, however folks don’t perceive what they will do within the mountains in summer season. One of many first steps was the seaside within the Imereti Lowlands, which we rented and began providing a package deal of lodging within the mountains plus a switch to the seaside. We determined to develop summer season actions. As we speak, lots of them are on the resort – these are suspension bridges, high-mountain swings, rope parks, mountain climbing, seaside on the mountain lake, and rather more. In consequence, our summer season visitors as we speak is corresponding to the winter one.

Most of all, our visitors wish to stroll by way of the Mendelikha waterfall park. It is a number of landscaped trails with stairs, platforms, benches, which open seven waterfalls to vacationers without delay. Daily they’re visited by three to 5 thousand folks. The subsequent hottest is the rodelbahn, a railroad with sleds on wheels, which is positioned at 1,100 meters above sea stage.

We launched this attraction two years in the past and evaluated its monetary mannequin, however we couldn’t even assume that our expectations could be so exceeded. Now we’re going to enhance the rodelban, we’ll make lighting, and it’ll work within the night.

BTN: This summer season season was very uncommon. On the one hand, there’s the pandemic, which has undermined tourism, and however, there’s the explosive demand for journey inside the nation. How did you survive the quarantine, and the way do you consider the outcomes of the summer season season?

AB: Naturally, like for different vacationer websites, the quarantine was a tough time for us. It’s good that we had a fairly profitable winter season, respectively, it was potential to maintain all our workers. After the quarantine, the resort opened on June 20th. Climate circumstances made it potential to increase the summer season season till November 15th.

We plan to begin the winter season on December 25th. As for the figures in numbers, they are going to be about 1.6 million for this 12 months. It isn’t a lot lower than in 2019.

BTN: What are you ready for within the winter? How are the reservations going?

AB: Judging by the summer season season, by how drained folks had been of sitting in 4 partitions through the quarantine, we’re going to have a busy winter. As we speak we have now an opportunity to point out those that beforehand didn’t know what Rosa Khutor was and went snowboarding in Italy or France that our nation additionally has high quality resorts.

We have now good accommodations, trendy ski lifts, each summer season we refine and put together pistes, and we have now 102 kilometres of them, we have now very certified workers. So there’s all the pieces to make those that come to Rosa Khutor this winter for the primary time need to come again once more. I can say that now the resort accommodations for the January holidays are already booked virtually utterly, the reservation for the remaining winter months is on the tempo of final 12 months.

The winter season’s major occasion would be the launch of the brand new ski elevate from 2,320 meters above sea stage to the southern slope. Skiers and snowboarders like to ski on the southern slope – it’s extra open, there are wider and gentler pistes. However up to now solely two lifts work there. They’re chairlifts, they usually can typically be closed due to adversarial climate circumstances. Consequently, queues accumulate, and it marred the snowboarding. The brand new elevate will probably be a sort of doubler. Will probably be closed, gondola-type, with cabins for as much as ten folks. It will considerably cut back the queues.

BTN: This would be the 30th elevate at Rosa Khutor. What number of workers does it take to serve your complete family?

AB: As we speak, our resort employs greater than 2,500 folks. Along with companions and tenants, this determine is about 3,500. And if we discuss visitors, it’s about 15 thousand folks a day along with them on the resort. An actual small city! For us, our personnel are crucial. We have now an enormous space, and we even have distinctive companies that aren’t obtainable wherever else within the nation. For instance, the avalanche service. We looked for specialists for it amongst meteorologists throughout Russia. We even have the nation’s first skilled lifeguard unit. It was sophisticated with personnel within the pre-Olympic interval. Sure, we attracted international specialists, however somebody needed to undertake their expertise.

For instance, the snowcat drivers. It’s good to know easy methods to drive on mountain slopes and never be afraid to drive such enormous and costly automobiles – every prices greater than one million euros. We considered it and invited the blokes who used to take vacationers across the mountains in jeeps. And it was an awesome resolution. Within the pre-Olympic interval, our folks confirmed actual heroism. We labored day and night time.

BTN: How do you intend to rejoice your anniversary?

AB: We all know easy methods to arrange holidays, however this 12 months we observe the present state of affairs and observe all the necessities of division of the Federal Service for supervision of client rights safety and human welfare within the Krasnodar area .

BTN: What’s new on the resort this 12 months?

AB: As you understood, we expect huge, so our plan is to revive the pure, mountain climbing tourism, which as soon as existed within the Soviet Union, and as we speak is fashionable world wide. Sadly, there are various issues with the event of this path in our nation. There are such a lot of stunning locations in Russia, however it’s unimaginable to see them. Most frequently they’re positioned in specifically protected areas.

To open them to travellers, main adjustments within the regulation are mandatory. However as we speak it’s time to remedy these issues. For the third 12 months in a row, we organised a convention devoted to the event of nature tourism in our nation, with revered consultants’ participation. Step-by-step we remedy this downside. It isn’t simple, however I’m certain that the time will come, and also you come to Rosa Khutor and can be capable to take a backpack, select an acceptable route and stroll it.

Already as we speak, we have now greater than 70 km of mountain climbing trails on the resort, however we need to considerably broaden the community of those routes and create a system of glamping, the place you may keep in a single day. Imagine me, if you stroll within the mountains, by way of the woods, throughout silence, you get unforgettable expertise and feelings. Will probably be potential to strive this sort of recreation at Rosa Khutor subsequent 12 months.

Extra Data

Rosa Khutor is taken into account Russia’s Leading Ski Resort by voters on the World Ski Awards.

Discover out extra on the official website.

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