Rest in Dombaj in winter 2022-2023: where to go and what to see
If in summer the connoisseurs of hiking and long walks tend to come to Dombai, in winter it is just a ski kingdom. Almost all excursion routes at this time of year are closed until the snow melts and warms up. But the slopes and elevators are full of those wishing to ski and ride for days on end.
Recreation in Dombaj in winter is all about mastering skis and snowboards, conquering new pistes and learning tricks, there are variants for everyone in the season 2022-2023. Even for those who for various reasons are not ready to get up on skis. The peculiarities of the climate and “shelter” of the village from the bad weather by the Main Caucasian Ridge allows to spend most of the time outside. The average winter temperature is around -5 C, the sun shines brightly and there is almost no wind.
In winter, as at any other time of year, you can stay in an unusual hotel in the form of a flying saucer. Photo: Tatyana CHERNIKOVA
Ice rinks are poured for guests within walking distance, where children and adults have fun. They like to organize sledging and ice skating, rent snowmobiles and quad bikes.
Those who like extreme rest even book hang glider flights.
In the evening, no matter how you spent the day, you can relieve fatigue in the sauna, swimming pool, bowling or at the disco.
Holidays in Dombaj in winter 2022-2023 will be remembered for a long time.
See the winter waterfall and open the ski season in December
December is the most unstable month in terms of skiing holidays. Snow cover is unstable during this period and the temperature drops to +18 C on the Dombajsky glade.
But it is already possible to ski anyway. Even if there isn’t enough snow along the whole length of the slopes, the slopes are trimmed with snowcats and ready to be used by riders.
In December you may take an easy excursion route and see the natural sights of Dombaj. Photo: Tatyana CHERNIKOVA
In the beginning of winter you can walk several uncomplicated excursion routes. The main attractions of Dombaj are its natural beauties: rivers, mountains, forests, waterfalls. And although they are most popular in the warm season, some are available in winter. Not far from the village is a beautiful gorge Gonachhir, nearby is the Russian glade (named after the Russian geologists who explored this place in the 19th century), where you can see the beautiful panorama of the mountains.
The most interesting winter route is to the canyon Devil’s Mill. Under a small observation deck on a rocky ledge in December, the mountain river is still bubbling, though not as powerful as in summer.
If you don’t feel like walking, a cable car takes you up to the observation decks of Mussa Achitara Mountain where you can just admire the views. In addition, local guides organize excursions to the Teberda Nature Reserve.
Recreation in Dombaj becomes more crowded by the end of December, the resort is ready for the New Year, the hotel owners decorate the village and fill ice rinks.
The average air temperature is -3 degrees during the day and drops to -8 at night. But on the slopes of Muss-Achitar, where the ropeways are built and where the ski tracks are arranged, it is much colder: -9…-11 degrees during the day and -17…-19 degrees at night. This allows to keep snowy slopes for skiing.
Skiers and all the tourists will need sunscreen and sunglasses. At the top the sun shines so brightly that you can sunbathe. And if you take into account the reflection of the snow, such solar activity can be dangerous for your skin.
Have a sled relay race and snowball duel in January
During the New Year vacations, families come to Dombai with their families. Photo: Tatyana CHERNIKOVA
The peak of winter holidays in Dombaj is scheduled for the beginning of January 2023 at the height of the Christmas vacations. All the hotels are full and the slopes are loaded. It snows every night, and in the eternal dispute between skiers and snowboarders the first to make the downhill slope wins.
Companies and families come here to celebrate the New Year. All kinds of entertaining events are conducted here at this time. During the New Year holidays the Decade of Sports is celebrated here with all the Caucasian breadth: local competitions in skiing and snowboarding, relay races in sledging, snowball duel, skating competitions. Good to know that age restrictions are quite conditional. Among the participants of such competitions, the youngest was a 4-year old athlete, and the oldest was 81 years old. In parallel, animators work, creative teams perform and there are folk festivals.
At your free time you can go on a tour to the Central Manor of the Teberda Reserve – it’s just a few kilometers from Dombai, and guests can come there all year round.
If you don’t like such busy schedule of the resort, come to Dombai in the second half of the month. There are fewer people, prices are lower, and the snow is in abundance.
January is the coldest month in the resort. Daytime temperatures in the village keep at -5 degrees, at night they fall to -12. On the slopes is much cooler: daytime temperatures are -12 … -15 degrees, and at night -20 … -22.
That is the case when you need to outfit correctly: not to feel warm and not to get cold at the same time.
Go horseback riding and hang gliding in February
In February, the weather at the resort is very variable: sunny days alternate with cloudy days, and the snow falls much less frequently. But up there is still enough for skiing. At the beginning of the month, slalom and snowboard competitions of different levels are regularly held here: some of them are interesting to watch, and in some of them experienced riders can even take part.
At the end of February there are often horseback riding tours for tourists. Photo: globallookpress.com
For several years in a row in February in Dombai is held all-Russian youth festival “KatadZe. Russian-Caucasian Wave (RCW)”. These days the resort holds a lot of sporting and educational events.
By the end of the month horseback riding tours are offered more actively. Children go for a ride in Dombaj and surroundings during all winter, and when it gets warmer they offer the whole horseback riding tours.
Skating rinks work in February, tubing is still popular, paragliding and hang-gliding season opens. The starting point for the lovers of flights is the upper line of the cable car on the Mussa Achitara mountain. For beginners there are flights with instructors.
By the end of February, the first excursion hiking routes, such as the Alibek Gorge, begin to open.
In the last month of winter in Dombaj you can feel the approaching spring heat: it’s rather frosty at night, and the sun warms up more in the daytime. On the Dombaj glade the average temperature is -3 degrees, and at night it freezes down to -10. Daytime temperatures on the slopes, where skiers ski, are -11 … -13, and nighttime temperatures are around -18 … -20.
New Year in Dombaj
New Year vacations in Dombaj is a real winter fairy tale with a holiday atmosphere. Photo: pixabay.com
To celebrate the New Year in Dombaj is like being in a fairy tale. There are mountains, forests, snow-covered houses all around. People around are happy and smiling, because everyone here at this time of the year has a rest and becomes friendly.
If you are planning to go to Dombaj with children please keep in mind that some hotels place the kids for free in the room with their parents. If you want you can order meals at the hotel: choose only breakfasts, half board or full board.
A New Year’s Eve banquet is paid for separately: as a rule, hotels prepare for guests a sumptuous Caucasian dinner, invite artists and organize entertainment programs. The price starts from 5000 rubles for adults, from 2500 rubles for children under 14 years old and free of charge for kids under 6 years old.
The holidays here are all spent about the same. During the daytime they go skiing, have lunch in cozy cafes with a view of the mountains. And in the evening go down to the village, where they make snowmen, walk, skate, go to the sauna and sit by the fireplaces. And even if everyone’s pastime is similar, everyone takes away from Dombaj New Year’s Eve with his own emotions and impressions.
Active rest in Dombaj in winter
Both experienced sportsmen and beginners feel comfortable at the renewed slopes. Photo: globallookpress.com
A few seasons ago Dombaj opened two new ski trails and four new areas for skiing with the total length of 18 kilometers. For this purpose even the famous symbol of the resort – the hotel “Plate” was moved higher. Old slopes were enlarged and all slopes were united into one complex, so that people would ski without problems from one category of difficulty to another. For the tourists’ convenience and safety there are signs showing the height, length and difficulty of each trail, as well as information about the transition to other trails. Those who miss the thrill of the “black” and “red” sections may want to go Freeride for a fee.
The resort also offers other types of entertainment. For instance, you can rent sledges for 200 rubles per hour or ride a quad for 2000 – 2500 rubles per hour. You can also go to the Mukhin Gorge in Teberda, where you can ride a snowmobile all day for 5,000 rubles. Or order a paraglider flight with an instructor.
Not so long ago speedriding was added to other kinds of activities – it is exactly for extreme people. It is better to call such sportsmen paragliders-freeriders, but in fact they are skiers with parachutes, who skate on the untreated slopes.
There are a couple of ice rinks in Dombaj. In the evening you can swim in the pool, go to the sauna, go to the disco, play billiards or bowling.
Dombay ski resort
Ski season: December 20 – April 15. Elevators start working from 8:00-8:30. The 5th turn closes around 17:00-17:30. In bad weather the elevators may not work.
Dombai resort is one of the biggest ski resorts of Russia. Dombai is situated in the Caucasian mountains, on the territory of the Republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessia, at an altitude of 1600 meters above sea level. The resort is a part of the Teberda state reserve, and on its territory there are three gorges connected: Alibek, Amanauz, and Dombai-Ulgen.
The name of the ski resort is translated from Karachai as ‘bison’. Many centuries ago, huge herds of these animals grazed in the Dombai valleys. Over time, people exterminated the bison, but the memory of them has been preserved in the name of the mountains. By the way, on the territory of the reserve in the town of Teberda, the bison are living again – they were brought from North America a few years ago.
Dombai is an all-season resort. From December to April winter active sports are practiced here. Hiking is most popular from May till August. During the golden autumn tourists come here for peaceful rest in the mountains. During a year Dombai receives up to 200 thousand tourists.
Prices at the Dombai ski resort 2022
The cost of elevators at Dombai depends on the number of lifts (single lift, for several lifts or “Dombai ski pass” for a certain number of days) and the type of ropeway. The resort operates:
- A new set of ropeways: 1 lift will cost at least 700 rubles (500 rubles – discounted); a ski pass for 1 day – 2000 rubles (1400 rubles – discounted); a ski pass for 3 days of 5 – 5800 rubles (4000 rubles – discounted); a ski pass for 5 days of 7 – 9500 rubles (6500 rubles – discounted), a ski pass for a week – 13100 rubles (8900 rubles – discounted).
- Old line of ski lifts: 1 lift – from 150 rubles (depending on the elevator).
- “Yugoslavka”: 1 lift – 100 rubles; 1-day ski pass – 500 rubles.
- Pendular cableway: 1 lift – 300 roubles for tourists, 200 roubles for skiers and snowboarders, 150 roubles for children up to 10 years old, free of charge for children up to 5 years old.
- Bogel ski lift: 500 rubles.
To get a discount ticket are: children from 3 to 10 years old; persons over 65 years old; war veterans.
Before the trip we recommend to check prices on the official site:
Hotels in Dombaj
There are several dozens of hotels of different star classification in the vicinity of Dombaj. Most of the hotels are small Alpine style chalets. There are also boutique hotels with unique design, several large hotel complexes, recreation centers with bathhouses and barbeques, traditional Russian wooden houses and budget houses made of CIP panels.
The most unusual object of accommodation is considered to be the hotel “Plate”, made in the form of UFO. The hotel is located at an altitude of 2,250 meters. The rooms have breathtaking panoramic views over all of Dombaisky peaks.
Panorama: the Tarelka hotel at an altitude of 2,260 meters.
The most budget-friendly option is apartments in Dombai from private individuals or rooms in the homes of locals. In reviews of Dombai tourists note unassuming service and modest furnishings, but a very favorable price.
Recreation in winter in Dombaj is, above all, an active pastime: skiing on slopes of varying difficulty on skis and snowboards; snowmobile tracks; slides for sledding and snow tubing; ice rink. You can order a paraglider flight or heli-ski service, i.e. a helicopter ride to the mountain slopes.
The area of skiing ranges from 1800 to 3200 meters. Lovers of skiing can choose from a wide range of slopes of various complexity, which have a total length of 20 kilometers:
- Green slopes. Simple and flat trails for beginner skiers. Trails without bumps and difficult terrain.
- Blue slopes. Trails for intermediate level of skiing with varying relief. Ideal option for those who want to improve their skiing level.
- Red slopes. The most difficult slopes with increasing levels of steepness. They are suitable only for experienced skiers and snowboarders, as there are almost no flat areas.
Watch the detailed information about the pistes of Dombaj online in the special material “Dombaj Webcams”.
Well-developed network of elevators of different kinds lets tourists choose the most comfortable ways to get to the mountain.
New complex of ropeways
The new complex was built from 2004 to 2008. Currently, it is one of the most modern ropeway complexes in Russia. The production of ropeways was made by a European company. Today the complex includes 3 stages:
- Dombai-1. A gondola-type aerial ropeway with 8 seats is situated at an altitude of 1590-2277 meters. It can serve up to 2,400 people per hour. Travel time is 6.1 minutes.
- Dombai-2. Chairlift type ropeway for 6 seats is located at the height of 2277-3008 meters. The hourly capacity is 2,000 people. Travel time to the top – 7.6 minutes.
- Dombai-3. Four-seat chairlift is located at the altitude of 3008-3168 meters. Travel time is 5 minutes.
Oldest turn of the ropeway
- 1st turn (1636-1751 meters) is a single-chair lift of 860 meters in length, the travel time is 8 minutes;
- 2nd stage (1700-1800 meters) – a single-chair, length – 1142 meters, the way – 14 minutes;
- Phase 3 (1719-2266 meters) – double-chair of 581 meters in length, the duration of ascent – 18 minutes;
- Phase 4 (2266-2500 meters) – double-glider, length – 1502 meters, travel time – 8 minutes;
- 5 turn (2500-3002 meters) – double-chair, length – 1700 meters, the whole way – 18 minutes.
- “Jugoslavka lift (2550-2980 meters, included in the 5th turn) is 1700 meters long;
- Pendulum ropeway – to the slope of Mussa-Achitar, holds 35 people, the ascent from 1600 to 2250 meters, 8 minutes;
- Cableway network – 4 elevators.
New Year in Dombaj
On New Year’s Eve Dombai resembles an Alpine town: street illuminations, decorated buildings, fairs with hot mulled wine and gingerbread men. A festive night includes a show program in the resort’s nightlife center and bright fireworks.
A New Year’s Eve banquet is usually included in the room rate. If your hotel does not have such an option, you can book a celebratory dinner at another accommodation or restaurant. The main thing is to do it in advance, no later than November.
The most popular place of the resort life of Dombaj is Polyana between the 4th and 5th lines with cafes and restaurants, clubs and bars. You can have a tasty and inexpensive lunch in the village itself. There are cafes with dishes of traditional Russian and Caucasian cuisine, there are restaurants of French and Italian cuisine. In the restaurant “Crocus” one can taste 17 kinds of shashlik.
Many cultural and entertaining establishments work at the resort: bathhouses and saunas (including Finnish and Turkish hamam), swimming pools, spa centers, hookah and karaoke bars.
Dombai in summer
In summer Dombai becomes the center of hiking tourism. There are easy trails for 1-2-day hikes and category routes of up to 3B difficulty on the territory of the resort. There are several climbing schools at Dombaj where you can take a lesson and immediately put your knowledge into practice. Tours to Dombaj in summer time usually include excursions to the region’s sacred sites, walks in Alpine meadows and swimming in mountain springs.
For those who do not like long journeys on foot, equestrian and jeep tours are offered. UAZ tours include visits to various mountain waterfalls, gorges, picturesque river valleys and mountain ranges.
The weather in Dombaj is mostly sunny all year round, up to 320 sunny days a year. The climate is mild continental with no abrupt temperature drops. The weather in Dombaj is warm in winter and often with snowfalls. Average temperature in winter months is 5 degrees Celsius. The snow falls as early as October, but does not become firmly entrenched until November. In the spring, snow holds up to mid-April, and on high slopes – until mid-May.
In the summertime the weather is sunny but not hot. The average temperature in July is +13 degrees. This time is the best for trekking: alpine meadows are in bloom, the night temperature is comfortable for sleeping in a tent. The greatest number of sunny days and warm winds blow in autumn.
Excursions to Dombai from Kislovodsk:
Excursions to Dombai from Pyatigorsk:
Dombay ski resort on Google panoramas. Maps
How to get to the ski resort Dombai
The resort Dombai is accessible both for motorists and those who travel by public transport. Federal highways A-155 lead to the resort.
- By plane. The nearest airport is Mineralnye Vody (230 km from Dombai). The flight time from Moscow is 2 hours.
- By train. Because of the mountainous relief there is no railway station at Dombaj directly. From far regions you can get by train to Pyatigorsk, Nevinnomyssk, Nalchik or Cherkessk.
- By car. The road by car along the federal highway (the quality of coverage is decent) will take about 2 hours from Cherkessk, 3.5-4 hours from Pyatigorsk and Mineralnye Vody.
Map-scheme of the automobile route from Pyatigorsk to Dombaj on Google. Maps