Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bringing the Mountain to the Skiers

APThe Snezh.Kom ski facility, which opened last week, is the largest of its kind in Europe and will be open year round.
Muscovites looking for a way to escape the spring's slush and mud -- or the summer's sweltering heat, for that matter -- have a new place to keep cool year round.

Snezh.Kom, Europe's largest all-season ski complex, was opened outside Krasnogorsk in the Moscow region on Friday, just in time to attract winter-sport lovers reeling from an unusually short and mild season.

Moscow region Governor Boris Gromov and Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Naryshkin were on hand for the opening of the ski slope, the first of its kind in Russia.

Gromov said Friday that a new residential district with the capacity to house 50,000 people would be built around the ski slope within three years.

"Our choice of the construction site for the all-season ski complex was not accidental," Gromov said, RIA-Novosti reported.

"Within 2 1/2 or three years, a new Krasnogorsk suburb will be finished here."

Situated in the Pavshinskaya Valley, the complex occupies a sprawling 24,000 square meters, the size of four football fields.

The complex includes a ski slope that is about 400 meters long and 60 meters wide, dropping some 65 meters over the course of the run. The complex currently has three lifts -- a four-chair lift, a bow lift and a baby-lift for training purposes.

In addition to a snowboard area for 50 people, the complex can accommodate 600 people at a time, Maxim Biryukov, spokesman for the complex, said Monday.

"The slope is equipped with ultra-modern equipment, and the technical characteristics of the alpine skiing track allow it to host competitions on the level of European and World Championships."

The complex is owned by SU-155, the third largest developer in Moscow, which accounts for over 20 percent of the local construction market and another investor, which preferred to remain anonymous.

Both Snezh.Kom and SU-155 declined to say on Monday how much the development cost, but Interfax reported that it could be as much as $100 million.

With temperatures rising globally, the facility said it had employed the services of snowmaking firms to keep it in powder all year long. Year-round snow for the complex will be supplied by three special refrigerators, each capable of producing nearly 30 tons of snow daily, Snezh.Kom said in a statement.

The facility will also maintain a constant temperature of 5 to 7 degrees Celsius, the statement said.

A tempered-glass fence separates the entertainment area from the sports arena, which contains a skating rink, bowling, and an aqua zone with banya facilities. The center also contains a conference hall, restaurants, sports shops, ski rentals and a playground.

The tempered glass can withstand temperature differences of up to 300 degrees, allowing the center to maintain a winter climate on the slopes and a balmy summer one in the atrium, complex developer and co-owner SU-155 said Monday in a statement.

Snezh.Kom spokesman Biryukov said the facility welcomed its first group of skiers and snowboarders on Saturday.

Tickets cost 500 rubles, or about $21, per hour or 1,000 rubles for three hours on weekdays. After working hours, however, the price for such pleasures jumps to 900 rubles and 2,000 rubles, respectively.