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

As award-profitable Russian ski vacation resort Rosa Khutor celebrates its tenth anniversary with the opening of the new Doppelmayer cable vehicle, Breaking Vacation News chats with general director Alexander Belokobylskyi to locate out more

Breaking Vacation News: The key celebration of the anniversary wintertime time will be the start of a new ski elevate from 2,320 meters previously mentioned sea amount to the southern slope. What can you explain to us about that?

Alexander Belokobylskyi: An deserted apiary. A wild river. A forest. Mountains. A skinny thread of dirt road. And practically nothing additional. Exactly like this, the area was wherever the most significant mountain resort in the state, Rosa Khutor, is positioned.

Right now there are 29 condition-of-the-artwork lifts, more than a hundred kilometres of ski pistes, and up to two million people annually.

On December 15th, the mountain complex celebrates its initial anniversary – ten several years given that opening.

BTN: The tenth anniversary of Rosa Khutor is a serious day for the really younger Russian ski tourism. Congratulations!

AB: Thank you, but I would like to point out that it is the tenth anniversary of the ski centre’s opening. The creation of the resort started much before – the enterprise Rosa Khutor appeared back in 2003, and we commenced to imagine more than the undertaking and the thought.

BTN: It turns out that the thought of generating a resort is not related to the Winter Olympics in 2014, as several consider. Immediately after all, there were being competitions in Alpine skiing, and the major variety of awards were drawn.

AB: The plan of producing a ski vacation resort in Sochi’s mountains appeared even before the metropolis received the bid to host the Olympics. The approach was to have a small resort with 6 lifts and quite a few accommodations. At that time, no one considered of a much larger undertaking. This was thanks to the deficiency of the essential accompanying infrastructure – there were being inadequate ability and h2o source and an underdeveloped street community.

On the other hand, we think that our programs to develop a ski vacation resort played an essential role in the actuality that Sochi was selected as the Olympic money. This is thanks to the uniqueness of the spot. It usually takes a whole lot of venues to host the Winter season Olympics. And if stadiums can be constructed almost everywhere, if only for funding, then for skiing competitions, you have to have pistes with particular, rigid parameters – with a obvious fall in altitude. You can not just acquire a mountain and pile it on you need specific terrain!

In accordance to the intercontinental experts’ estimates, it grew to become obvious – Rosa Khutor pistes are suitable for the Olympic begins. In a natural way, after receiving the correct to host the Winter season Olympics, we revised our designs, and the vacation resort turned a great deal more substantial.

The assistance of the point out, which undertook the development of the needed engineering and highway infrastructure, was of fantastic great importance. Of system, no business could bear these types of charges.

BTN: When you occur to Rosa Khutor now, it seems to be like a fairy-tale gingerbread town: very houses with turrets along the river, a bridge, the town hall. How did it all start out?

AB: Certainly from scratch. When we got to the grounds, there was nothing at all in this article. At the beginning of the previous century, there was a farmstead of Estonian settlers listed here, but it was very long deserted. In front of us, there was only a mountain river, a wild forest, and a slender grime highway, on which it was tricky to travel to the cordon of the Caucasus Mother nature Reserve.

I myself was born in Krasnaya Polyana. At that time it was a smaller village of 4-to-5 thousand individuals. And all the bordering magnificence, the mountains, the river, the air, the forest, fundamentally belonged to this compact group of men and women.

The village, irrespective of its exceptional nature and climate, was not developing. There was no road. We were being related to the metropolis by just one highway with a section that the inhabitants termed “God Bless You!” 4 kilometres, sheer cliff down, sheer cliff up. Significant vehicles could not pass on these a street in winter because of the snow, and we had been reduce off from Sochi for months. Then the building of the tunnels began, the laying of the new route. I don’t forget when the very first bus with tourists arrived in the village. It was a grand event.

BTN: Do you regret that your childhood village has improved so a great deal? And environmentalists are worried that the resort is encroaching on the Caucasus Biosphere Reserve.

AB: This is my homeland, and in a natural way, I treatment about every thing that occurs below. But this advancement has benefited not only Krasnaya Polyana but the full region. When I graduated from higher school, I had to leave for another metropolis. There ended up simply no careers for younger folks in the village.

As for environmentalists, safeguarding nature is a key aspect of their responsibilities. But we did not establish a metallurgical plant or an industrial plant. We constructed a vacation resort. All those who feared that we would damage mother nature now know that practically nothing of the form has occurred. Every little thing is pretty harmonious.

Certainly, we had to minimize down some trees. But we planted tens of thousands of seedlings and replanted endangered crops monitored by professionals at several concentrations. Apart from, for some cause, no just one remembers that there utilised to be a forestry enterprise in Krasnaya Polyana, and timber was harvested on an industrial scale. But not any longer.

All our assignments have handed the primary point out abilities, which contains environmental issues. And, as practice exhibits, the specifications of Russian legislation are often stricter than international procedures. Even these days, we fork out a lot of consideration to the preservation of the atmosphere. For case in point, we have a software for separate garbage collection, recycling, and power conservation. Ski pistes are sown with native grass to reinforce the slopes.

BTN: How tough was the period of time of Olympic development?

AB: By natural means, the planning for the Olympics was tough. Our region had no working experience at all with the Wintertime Olympics, no professionals. Overseas professionals were being included. Of class, some served us wholeheartedly, when many others did the reverse. Now it is apparent that we did a whole lot of further work, someplace we were compelled to spend a lot more dollars. For example, there is a street that sales opportunities to the end place. A solitary tunnel task was made for it. But the IOC experts insisted on making a second tunnel. And regretably, there were these kinds of moments. But we pulled it all off and experienced a genuinely wonderful Olympics.

BTN: Just after the Olympics, there were being serious fears that numerous high-priced amenities would grow to be redundant and deserted. In your situation, they evidently did not come true?

AB: We did have some problems about the summer year. It is all clear in winter season – snowboarding or snowboarding, but folks do not fully grasp what they can do in the mountains in summer months. One particular of the very first techniques was the beach front in the Imereti Lowlands, which we rented and started out supplying a package deal of lodging in the mountains as well as a transfer to the seashore. We determined to create summer season actions. These days, quite a few of them are at the resort – these are suspension bridges, superior-mountain swings, rope parks, hiking, seaside on the mountain lake, and substantially extra. As a end result, our summer season website traffic these days is comparable to the winter season 1.

Most of all, our visitors like to walk by the Mendelikha waterfall park. This is a wide range of landscaped trails with stairs, platforms, benches, which open up 7 waterfalls to holidaymakers at when. Just about every working day they are visited by a few to five thousand folks. The future most popular is the rodelbahn, a railroad with sleds on wheels, which is positioned at 1,100 meters earlier mentioned sea level.

We introduced this attraction two yrs back and evaluated its money product, but we could not even assume that our anticipations would be so exceeded. Now we are heading to make improvements to the rodelban, we will make lights, and it will perform in the night.

BTN: This summer year was really unconventional. On the a single hand, there is the pandemic, which has undermined tourism, and on the other hand, there is the explosive need for journey inside of the place. How did you endure the quarantine, and how do you appraise the results of the summer season year?

AB: The natural way, like for other vacationer web pages, the quarantine was a challenging time for us. It is good that we had a fairly prosperous winter time, respectively, it was doable to maintain all our team. Following the quarantine, the resort opened on June 20th. Climate circumstances created it doable to prolong the summer season period right up until November 15th.

We approach to begin the winter time on December 25th. As for the figures in quantities, they will be about 1.6 million for this yr. It is not a great deal less than in 2019.

BTN: What are you waiting for in the winter season? How are the reservations heading?

AB: Judging by the summer months year, by how tired folks were of sitting in four walls through the quarantine, we are heading to have a busy winter. Today we have a possibility to display people who previously did not know what Rosa Khutor was and went skiing in Italy or France that our region also has top quality resorts.

We have excellent lodges, modern day ski lifts, each summer months we refine and get ready pistes, and we have 102 kilometres of them, we have really certified workers. So there is every thing to make people who occur to Rosa Khutor this wintertime for the initially time want to occur again once more. I can say that now the vacation resort lodges for the January vacations are previously booked almost absolutely, the reservation for the remaining wintertime months is at the speed of very last year.

The wintertime season’s key function will be the start of the new ski raise from 2,320 meters over sea stage to the southern slope. Skiers and snowboarders adore to ski on the southern slope – it is extra open up, there are broader and gentler pistes. But so significantly only two lifts work there. They are chairlifts, and they can normally be closed for the reason that of adverse weather ailments. For that reason, queues accumulate, and it marred the snowboarding. The new lift will be a variety of doubler. It will be shut, gondola-variety, with cabins for up to 10 men and women. This will significantly lessen the queues.

BTN: This will be the 30th lift at Rosa Khutor. How numerous personnel does it just take to serve your complete residence?

AB: These days, our vacation resort employs a lot more than 2,500 persons. Alongside one another with companions and tenants, this determine is about 3,500. And if we converse about friends, it is about 15 thousand people today a working day together with them at the resort. A serious tiny town! For us, our personnel are critical. We have a massive spot, and we also have exceptional companies that are not obtainable any where else in the place. For example, the avalanche services. We searched for professionals for it amid meteorologists all around Russia. We also have the country’s first expert lifeguard device. It was sophisticated with personnel in the pre-Olympic period. Of course, we captivated overseas experts, but someone experienced to undertake their expertise.

For illustration, the snowcat motorists. You have to have to know how to push on mountain slopes and not be fearful to push this kind of massive and expensive vehicles – each prices extra than a million euros. We considered about it and invited the men who utilized to get holidaymakers close to the mountains in jeeps. And it was a fantastic conclusion. In the pre-Olympic period of time, our people confirmed genuine heroism. We labored day and evening.

BTN: How do you approach to celebrate your anniversary?

AB: We know how to manage vacations, but this yr we stick to the existing circumstance and abide by all the requirements of section of the Federal Company for supervision of buyer legal rights safety and human welfare in the Krasnodar region .

BTN: What is new at the vacation resort this calendar year?

AB: As you comprehended, we feel massive, so our prepare is to revive the natural, hiking tourism, which the moment existed in the Soviet Union, and currently is preferred all around the earth. Sad to say, there are a lot of complications with the growth of this direction in our country. There are so numerous lovely spots in Russia, but it is unattainable to see them. Most normally they are situated in specifically safeguarded locations.

To open up them to travellers, main changes in the law are important. But right now it is time to resolve these issues. For the third yr in a row, we organised a convention committed to the development of nature tourism in our region, with revered experts’ participation. Stage by action we fix this challenge. It is not quick, but I am absolutely sure that the time will appear, and you appear to Rosa Khutor and will be in a position to consider a backpack, opt for an proper route and stroll it.

Presently nowadays, we have far more than 70 km of mountaineering trails at the vacation resort, but we want to considerably broaden the community of these routes and create a system of glamping, wherever you can keep overnight. Imagine me, when you wander in the mountains, as a result of the woods, all about silence, you get unforgettable practical experience and emotions. It will be probable to try this type of recreation at Rosa Khutor upcoming calendar year.

Additional Facts

Rosa Khutor is deemed Russia’s Major Ski Vacation resort by voters at the Globe Ski Awards.

Find out more on the official web-site.