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 automobile, Breaking Travel Information chats with common director Alexander Belokobylskyi to discover out far more

Breaking Journey Information: The major function of the anniversary winter time will be the start of a new ski carry from 2,320 meters earlier mentioned sea level to the southern slope. What can you notify us about that?

Alexander Belokobylskyi: An deserted apiary. A wild river. A forest. Mountains. A slim thread of filth road. And practically nothing additional. Just like this, the position was where the greatest mountain vacation resort in the country, Rosa Khutor, is situated.

Now there are 29 condition-of-the-artwork lifts, around a hundred kilometres of ski pistes, and up to two million visitors on a yearly basis.

On December 15th, the mountain complicated celebrates its to start with anniversary – 10 a long time since opening.

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

AB: Thank you, but I would like to stage out that it is the tenth anniversary of the ski centre’s opening. The development of the resort began a great deal previously – the business Rosa Khutor appeared back again in 2003, and we started out to believe in excess of the project and the principle.

BTN: It turns out that the concept of generating a vacation resort is not related to the Winter Olympics in 2014, as quite a few imagine. Soon after all, there had been competitions in Alpine snowboarding, and the biggest variety of awards ended up drawn.

AB: The strategy of building a ski vacation resort in Sochi’s mountains appeared even right before the city gained the bid to host the Olympics. The program was to have a modest resort with 6 lifts and numerous resorts. At that time, no 1 thought of a greater venture. This was due to the deficiency of the vital accompanying infrastructure – there had been inadequate energy and drinking water source and an underdeveloped road community.

Nevertheless, we believe that that our strategies to establish a ski vacation resort played an crucial purpose in the reality that Sochi was decided on as the Olympic funds. This is owing to the uniqueness of the area. It can take a ton of venues to host the Winter Olympics. And if stadiums can be created almost anywhere, if only for funding, then for skiing competitions, you will need pistes with certain, rigid parameters – with a very clear drop in altitude. You can’t just take a mountain and pile it on you require specific terrain!

In accordance to the international experts’ estimates, it became apparent – Rosa Khutor pistes are suitable for the Olympic starts off. Obviously, just after obtaining the proper to host the Winter season Olympics, we revised our designs, and the resort grew to become substantially bigger.

The support of the point out, which undertook the creation of the vital engineering and highway infrastructure, was of good great importance. Of program, no business could bear this sort of expenditures.

BTN: When you come to Rosa Khutor these days, it looks like a fairy-tale gingerbread town: fairly properties with turrets along the river, a bridge, the town corridor. How did it all commence?

AB: Certainly from scratch. When we bought to the grounds, there was practically nothing below. At the starting of the last century, there was a farmstead of Estonian settlers right here, but it was long deserted. In entrance of us, there was only a mountain river, a wild forest, and a narrow grime highway, on which it was challenging to travel to the cordon of the Caucasus Nature Reserve.

I myself was born in Krasnaya Polyana. At that time it was a tiny village of four-to-five thousand people. And all the surrounding beauty, the mountains, the river, the air, the forest, essentially belonged to this tiny team of individuals.

The village, even with its exceptional character and local climate, was not producing. There was no road. We have been linked to the city by one particular highway with a section that the people termed “God Bless You!” Four kilometres, sheer cliff down, sheer cliff up. Massive cars and trucks could not move on these types of a road in winter season since of the snow, and we have been slash off from Sochi for weeks. Then the design of the tunnels started, the laying of the new route. I remember when the initial bus with travelers arrived in the village. It was a grand celebration.

BTN: Do you regret that your childhood village has altered so considerably? And environmentalists are concerned that the vacation resort is encroaching on the Caucasus Biosphere Reserve.

AB: This is my homeland, and naturally, I care about everything that takes place below. But this development has benefited not only Krasnaya Polyana but the full location. When I graduated from significant school, I experienced to depart for yet another metropolis. There were being basically no jobs for young men and women in the village.

As for environmentalists, preserving mother nature is a big element of their obligations. But we did not establish a metallurgical plant or an industrial plant. We built a resort. All individuals who feared that we would ruin character now know that nothing at all of the sort has took place. Every little thing is really harmonious.

Of course, we had to lower down some trees. But we planted tens of hundreds of seedlings and replanted endangered vegetation monitored by specialists at a variety of concentrations. Other than, for some cause, no 1 remembers that there made use of to be a forestry business in Krasnaya Polyana, and timber was harvested on an industrial scale. But not any longer.

All our assignments have handed the principal point out know-how, which consists of environmental troubles. And, as apply displays, the demands of Russian legislation are often stricter than worldwide principles. Even now, we fork out a great deal of consideration to the preservation of the surroundings. For illustration, we have a program for different rubbish collection, recycling, and vitality conservation. Ski pistes are sown with indigenous grass to bolster the slopes.

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

AB: Normally, the preparation for the Olympics was demanding. Our country experienced no encounter at all with the Wintertime Olympics, no professionals. Foreign authorities had been associated. Of system, some aided us wholeheartedly, when other people did the reverse. Now it is apparent that we did a ton of excess work, somewhere we were being pressured to expend more dollars. For illustration, there is a street that sales opportunities to the finish place. A one tunnel venture was produced for it. But the IOC experts insisted on developing a next tunnel. And however, there were being these moments. But we pulled it all off and had a truly fantastic Olympics.

BTN: Just after the Olympics, there were being serious fears that numerous pricey amenities would turn out to be redundant and deserted. In your scenario, they plainly did not occur accurate?

AB: We did have some issues about the summer season season. It is all very clear in winter season – skiing or snowboarding, but persons do not comprehend what they can do in the mountains in summer months. Just one of the initially measures was the beach in the Imereti Lowlands, which we rented and commenced featuring a deal of accommodation in the mountains in addition a transfer to the beach. We decided to establish summertime things to do. Nowadays, quite a few of them are at the resort – these are suspension bridges, high-mountain swings, rope parks, mountaineering, seashore on the mountain lake, and significantly more. As a final result, our summertime website traffic currently is comparable to the winter a single.

Most of all, our guests like to stroll as a result of the Mendelikha waterfall park. This is a wide variety of landscaped trails with stairs, platforms, benches, which open seven waterfalls to travellers at at the time. Each day they are visited by three to five thousand men and women. The future most common is the rodelbahn, a railroad with sleds on wheels, which is situated at 1,100 meters higher than sea amount.

We launched this attraction two decades in the past and evaluated its money product, but we could not even believe that our anticipations would be so exceeded. Now we are going to enhance the rodelban, we will make lighting, and it will operate in the night.

BTN: This summer season season was incredibly uncommon. On the 1 hand, there is the pandemic, which has undermined tourism, and on the other hand, there is the explosive demand from customers for travel inside the nation. How did you survive the quarantine, and how do you consider the final results of the summer time?

AB: Obviously, like for other vacationer websites, the quarantine was a difficult time for us. It is good that we had a rather effective wintertime period, respectively, it was doable to retain all our employees. After the quarantine, the resort opened on June 20th. Weather ailments built it possible to increase the summer months period until November 15th.

We strategy to begin the winter season season on December 25th. As for the figures in figures, they will be about 1.6 million for this yr. It is not considerably considerably less than in 2019.

BTN: What are you waiting around for in the wintertime? How are the reservations likely?

AB: Judging by the summer season period, by how weary persons were of sitting in 4 partitions throughout the quarantine, we are going to have a busy wintertime. These days we have a probability to demonstrate all those who previously did not know what Rosa Khutor was and went skiing in Italy or France that our state also has quality resorts.

We have excellent resorts, fashionable ski lifts, every summer season we refine and prepare pistes, and we have 102 kilometres of them, we have quite certified staff. So there is every thing to make these who arrive to Rosa Khutor this winter season for the very first time want to appear again once again. I can say that now the resort lodges for the January holiday seasons are by now booked just about entirely, the reservation for the remaining wintertime months is at the pace of very last 12 months.

The wintertime season’s major function will be the launch of the new ski raise from 2,320 meters earlier mentioned sea level to the southern slope. Skiers and snowboarders adore to ski on the southern slope – it is far more open, there are wider and gentler pistes. But so significantly only two lifts function there. They are chairlifts, and they can typically be shut because of adverse climate problems. Consequently, queues accumulate, and it marred the skiing. The new raise will be a form of doubler. It will be closed, gondola-type, with cabins for up to ten people today. This will considerably reduce the queues.

BTN: This will be the 30th raise at Rosa Khutor. How a lot of workforce does it acquire to serve your full family?

AB: These days, our vacation resort employs much more than 2,500 people. Jointly with companions and tenants, this figure is about 3,500. And if we talk about guests, it is about 15 thousand people a day with each other with them at the resort. A authentic little city! For us, our staff are significant. We have a massive area, and we also have unique services that are not readily available anywhere else in the nation. For case in point, the avalanche support. We searched for specialists for it amongst meteorologists all more than Russia. We also have the country’s to start with specialist lifeguard unit. It was complicated with staff in the pre-Olympic period. Yes, we attracted international professionals, but someone experienced to undertake their knowledge.

For instance, the snowcat motorists. You have to have to know how to push on mountain slopes and not be fearful to push this sort of large and high-priced cars and trucks – just about every prices additional than a million euros. We imagined about it and invited the guys who utilized to get vacationers around the mountains in jeeps. And it was a wonderful final decision. In the pre-Olympic interval, our people showed true heroism. We worked working day and night time.

BTN: How do you system to rejoice your anniversary?

AB: We know how to organize holiday seasons, but this yr we abide by the present-day situation and observe all the demands of division of the Federal Company for supervision of purchaser rights safety and human welfare in the Krasnodar region .

BTN: What is new at the resort this year?

AB: As you understood, we think huge, so our approach is to revive the purely natural, climbing tourism, which when existed in the Soviet Union, and these days is popular all over the planet. Regretably, there are numerous challenges with the enhancement of this way in our place. There are so many gorgeous areas in Russia, but it is impossible to see them. Most often they are located in specially safeguarded spots.

To open them to travellers, big alterations in the regulation are needed. But currently it is time to fix these difficulties. For the 3rd yr in a row, we organised a conference devoted to the advancement of nature tourism in our country, with highly regarded experts’ participation. Stage by stage we solve this challenge. It is not quick, but I am confident that the time will appear, and you come to Rosa Khutor and will be ready to acquire a backpack, decide on an ideal route and walk it.

Already right now, we have a lot more than 70 km of hiking trails at the resort, but we want to significantly extend the network of these routes and build a system of glamping, wherever you can stay overnight. Consider me, when you wander in the mountains, through the woods, all all-around silence, you get unforgettable practical experience and emotions. It will be probable to test this type of recreation at Rosa Khutor up coming calendar year.

More Info

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

Find out far more on the formal web site.

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