Rest in Dombaj
Russian resort village Dombai is a 120 km from Cherkessk in Karachai-Cherkessia Republic. Its location at the foot of the Main Caucasian Range makes it a popular place for recreation among skiers and mountain climbers. People come here to ski and snowboard from the Mussa-Achitar Ridge, to conquer Mount Belalakaya or Alibeksky Peak, to admire the gorges and waterfalls of the Teberda Nature Reserve.
This article contains information about Dombaj: the best time to go, what to do, what the prices are, where to stay, and how to get there.
When to go on vacation
Dombai is an all-season resort, so the choice of time to go depends on the wishes of the tourist. From December to April in the village go for skiing, and from May to August – for climbing and hiking. The climate of the resort is temperate with lots of precipitation. The average temperature in August is +24°C, and in January it is -15°C.
Where to relax
The infrastructure of Dombai is developing rapidly. In the village there are hotels, mini-hotels, ski resorts, apartments and private houses for rent.
Ski piste at Dombai (Photo: kpopov0 | Pixabay)
The greatest influx of tourists is observed during the New Year holidays, when hundreds of vacationers come to Dombai for skiing. Hundreds of tourists come to Dombai for skiing during New Year holidays, especially on the heights from 1,630 meters to 3,012 meters, and consists of about 10 pistes of different levels of complexity.
Total length of the ski trails in Dombaj is 20 kilometers. Tourists have access to both ‘green’ slopes for beginners and complicated ‘black’ slopes, which are conquered only by experienced skiers. A network of ropeways that consists of pendulum elevators, chairlifts, and rope tow elevators provides access to the top of Mussa Achitara Ridge. To get up to the slopes, you need a ski pass, which costs from 1,400 rubles per day.
What to see
Alibeksky waterfall in the mountains of the Teberda Nature Reserve (Photo: Alexey Bok | Fotobank Lori)
Dombai was founded in the 1920s, so it can’t boast any historical sights. However, there is a lot to see for tourists and vacationers. Many guests come to Dombai for a walk in the Teberda Reserve, where you can see beautiful waterfalls, rivers and lakes.
- Khutysky, Alibeksky and Chuchursky waterfalls
- Alibek and Amanauz Gorges
- Dzhamagatskie narzans
- Nature museum in the manor of the Teberda reserve
Entertainment in Dombaj
- Down skiing and snowboarding
- Horse rides
- Hiking along the eco-trails in the Teberda reserve
Dombai is a mountainous land of turbulent rivers and beautiful waterfalls, forests and valleys. The unusually picturesque nature attracts many vacationers and tourists who can diversify their leisure by going on an excursion. Tours here are conducted by local residents, professional guides.
Excursion around Dombai.
This is a tour-constructor, where you can choose your own route of the walk in advance. You can visit Mussa-Achitar Mountain, Dombai-Ulgen Gorge, Chuchhur Waterfalls, Alibeksky Waterfall, Sentin Temple and Kosyginskaya Glade together with a guide, who will tell you about the culture, history and customs of Dombai.
Order tours online
The cost of the tour depends on the size of the group, usually it is from 400 rubles per person. To choose and order individual or group tour is convenient online.
Rest with children
Thanks to the salubrious mountain air and easy “green” slopes at the resort often come families with children. It is better to stay in the village on the Dombayskaya glade, where there is a large tourist complex with hotels, places for recreation and entertainment.
A visit to the zoo in the manor of the Teberda reserve will leave pleasant memories. Junior-Dombai” children’s camp is functioning all the year round. It organizes entertaining events and teaches children skiing and snowboarding.
The cost of a trip to Dombai is affordable for many tourists. On average a week of vacation for one guest costs from 23 000 rubles in winter and from 20 000 rubles in summer.
Hotels and hotels
There are a lot of hotels, mini-hotels and guest houses in Dombaj. The best option for accommodation are considered hotels on Dombajskaya glade, which are closest to the elevators and ski slopes.
Prices for accommodations depend on the season. You have to pay from 25 500 rubles per week for a single guest room in a 3 star hotel in winter and from 19 000 rubles in summer. Accommodation in a guest house is cheaper from 11 800 and 9 000 rubles respectively.
You can book a room via the service Ostrovok.
You can use the hotel search engine Avianity to select hotels and check prices. The site offers 160 housing options and options with discounts of up to 60%.
In the private sector of Dombaj tourists can rent apartments, flats, cottages, large country houses. If you want to spend a week at the resort you have to pay from 12 000 during the ski season and from 8 500 during the summer period.
To check the prices and to book an accommodation you can visit the site of Sudno.ru. The service offers to rent a house or an apartment from the owners, without overpayments and commissions.
There are 20 restaurants and cafes in the resort, and some of them are located right on the ski slopes. Most of them offer Caucasian cuisine. There you can taste khinkali, chahohbili, mutton shashlik, dolma, khachapuri. The average bill is 200-400 rubles.
Popular restaurants in Dombaj
- Crocus restaurant
- Restaurant “Aryuchat
- Snow Leopard Restaurant
- Restaurant “Museum”
How to get there
Although the resort is located at a distance from major airports, federal and railroads, it is easy to get here. You can get to Dombai by plane or by train, with a connection in Mineralnye Vody, by car, by bus or by cab. The quickest way is by plane and transfer.
The nearest big airport to Dombaj is situated in Mineralnye Vody, which is 194 km from the resort. Aeroflot, Ural Airlines, Pobeda, S7 Airlines and other carriers fly here.
Address of Minvody Airport: Stavropol Krai, Mineralnye Vody, Ter. Airport (Yandex Maps | Google Maps)
Ticket prices to Mineralnye Vody
- Moscow – Mineralvody from 1 200 rub.
- St. Petersburg – Mineralvody from 2 000 rub.
- Yekaterinburg – Minvody from 1 800 rub.
- Ufa – Minvody from 888 rubles
- Perm – Minvody from 2 200 rub.
- Surgut – Minvody from 2 700 rub.
Top cheapest air tickets to Mineralnye Vody
The cheapest tickets to Mineralnye Vody, bought with Avianiti search.
Seven-day tour to Arkhiz and Dombaj ski resorts from the Crimea
Dombai glade, as the main valley of Dombai is called, is located at an altitude of over 1600 meters. It is an area located in the Caucasus, with mountain gorges and picturesque mountain ridges, near the Teberda River, one of the spurs of the Kuban River (on the territory of the Teberda Nature Reserve). In the south is the Main Caucasus Range.
The famous hotel “Tarelka” is an echo of Soviet futuristic architecture.
Dombay ski resort is located right between the highest point of Europe – Mount Elbrus and the Black Sea. Its highest point is Dombai-Ulgen, 4,046 m high. Dombai is located in Karachay-Cherkessia Republic.
Advantages of Dombai ski resort
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Dombai is snow-topped mountains, pine forests, alpine meadows, violent rivers turning into mountain waterfalls in some places. The Dombaj valley is surrounded by mountain peaks with the following names: Belali-Kaya (3,861 m), Black Tooth (3,600 m), Dzhuguturlu-Chata, Ine Peak and Ertsog. The highest altitude in Dombai belongs to the mountain called Dombai-Ulgen (4046 meters).
Rest at Dombai has some advantages in comparison with other ski resorts. Winter temperature rarely drops below 5°С. The sun is very warm in the daytime and all the holiday-makers return home with tanned faces. The resort is suitable not only for lovers of active recreation and beginners, but just those who want to breathe the fresh air.
Not only lovers of skiing come to Dombaj in March, but also those who like calm and measured rest against the background of waking up nature, long walks and excursions.
With the advent of spring many routes are available:
- The way to the Dombai-Ulgen Gorge is uncomplicated and short, the first section is easy to overcome, using the cable car. Once there, you can walk through the coniferous forest, ride horses;
- The road through the Gonachkhir Gorge leads to the picturesque Lake Tumanly-Kel. In March, the reservoir is still covered with ice, and a stunning landscape opens up all around;
- Devil’s Mill Canyon is only 1.5 km from the resort village and is one of the most difficult places to reach, but the amazingly beautiful nature is worth the effort.
Walks around Dombaj will be interesting and informative for children as well. To diversify family rest you can visit Bison Reserve or Teberda Natural Biosphere Reserve.
- The best entertainments for all the family in Russia
Skiing season: when season opens and closes
Skiing season in Dombaj is long. It is connected with the fact that the valley is surrounded by mountains and protected from winds and temperature changes. Officially the skiing season at Dombaj opens at the end of October and closes at the end of April. Experienced tourists consider that it’s better to go to Dombaj in March and February, when the snow cover reaches its maximum. Beginning from mid-March the winter still retains its rights in the mountains, but the snow starts to melt actively. Some athletes ski in the mountains until mid-May, but the snow on the peaks is already sticky from April.
Where is it located?
The resort is located at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains in the Teberda Reserve.
The Dombai ski resort is situated at an altitude of 1650 m, and the plain itself, where the resort’s main infrastructure is situated, is surrounded by mountains from all sides.
Immediately behind the mountains one can see the Black Sea, which ensures a mild microclimate in this region.
Although the season in Dombaj is traditionally considered to be December-May, the best time for skiing is February and March. The bright mountain sun and a lot of snow create ideal conditions for skiing holidays.
Infrastructure of Dombaj
During the last decades the level of service at the resort has increased. Dombaj is one of the developed ski resorts of Central Russia and can be compared with European resorts. Apart from active rest and walks in the nature, holidaymakers can visit restaurants, bars and discos. Many restaurants serve Caucasian cuisine. People who keep to vegetarian diet have no problems with meals.
On the slopes of Dombaj there are no abrupt descents and elevation differences. This makes them versatile for people with different level of training. There are Alpine camps for beginners that help to choose the best equipment. At the foot of the mountains there is a specially designated area for those who have no experience. You are acclimatized and trained with an experienced instructor for two days. Besides alpine skiing camps, there are also other places where you can rent the necessary outfit for active recreation.
Skiing is not the only kind of active rest at Dombaj. If you want a bit of extreme, pay attention to paragliding with instructors, riding quad bikes, horseback riding. Lovers of outdoor excursions to waterfalls, lakes and ancient temples would be fine.
The resorts Bolshoi Vudyavr, Aikuaivenchorr, Kukisvumchorr
|Nearest airport, km||Highest point, m||Length of trails, km||Difference in altitude, m|
|Murmansk – 210 Apatity – 33||850 – south face 1060 – north face||35||650|
Resort website – bigwood.ru
BIGWOOD is a complex that has been existing for many years and has undergone significant changes in recent years. There are modern high-speed ski elevators, well prepared pistes, there are illuminated trails for night skiing. Now there are eight elevators on the slopes with the difference of 650 meters, which serves 35 km of different level slopes. The limited number of the hotels is compensated by the great number of the apartments for rent in Kirovsk.
photo by Konstantin Antipin
The infrastructure of the resort itself is minimal: ski service, rental, instructor service, snow park, luggage room, cafe-bar, children’s room and parking. Kirovsk has a swimming pool, spa clubs, fitness centers and bowling. In Kirovsk you can go after skiing to the Alpine Botanical Garden, the children will certainly enjoy the snow village, the older children – to the museum and exhibition, the adults – to the art park “Mysterious Forest.
Here are installed modern high-speed ski elevators, well prepared slopes, there is an evening skiing. Height difference 650 meters, there are 8 elevators and 35 kilometers of prepared tracks.
“Bolshoi Vudyavr” is the highest mountain resort in the North-West of Russia, which is the first in the region. It is located on the southern and northern slopes of Mount Aikuaivenchorr. There are trails of all levels of complexity, from “green” Here are slopes of all levels of complexity – green, which are ideal for skiing and learning, ending with black slopes for those who have plenty of skiing experience. Slopes are prepared on European level, all of them are certified by FIS. Slopes of the resort have a total length of 25 kilometers. 15 out of 23 slopes of Bolshoi Vudyavr are equipped with snow guns.
The elevation drops are 480 to 520 m, the elevation is up to 1,020 m above sea level.
Specifics of skiing in the Khibiny Mountains:
The best time for skiing is spring, when the daylight hours are long. The resorts are suitable for skiers and snowboarders of all levels.
- The Bolshoi Vudyavr and Gorodskoi Slope resorts have well-prepared slopes;
- The Kukisvumchorr skiing resort is rarely prepared, and only the lower turns of the elevators are prepared there;
- There are 20 runs of varying difficulty levels and 5 elevators, including rope tow lifts, chairlifts and gondola lifts;
- Kukisvumchorr has only 3 rope tow lifts.
- Off-piste skiing is popular in the Khibiny, where the annual Khibiny Open Cup competitions are held. The mountains have a high avalanche danger all winter long. It is necessary to have equipment and skills.
In winter in Khibiny it is possible to see the northern lights right outside your house or hotel! But it is better to live in places where there is less light from streetlamps, for example, in the “Snow Valley”.
Photo by Konstantin Antipin
Where to live
Most of the skiers live in Kirovsk, renting apartments from private individuals. There are a lot of apartments for rent, the demand is great in winter. The closer to the ski resort, the more expensive it is. The most popular are houses #70-90 on Olimpiysky Avenue. In the area around 25 kilometers the rent rate is 20-30% lower, there are regular buses to the ski slope.
Hotels and Service
All hotels are old, “Soviet type”. Not so long ago hostels were opened. For 2022 it is better to rent a decent apartment in the private sector.
The advantages of the mountain skiing season in Khibiny:
- Interesting nature;
- Small queues at the elevators, not to compare with skiing in Krasnaya Polyana;
- Low prices for accommodation and services;
- A long season – from November to May.
- You can see the northern lights!
Disadvantages of skiing season in Khibiny:
- Poor infrastructure;
- Polar night, although the slopes are very well lit;
- Frequent avalanches in the mountains;
- High avalanche danger outside the slopes due to heavy snowfalls and wind drifts.
Dombaj pistes scheme
Total length of the trails is 20 meters with the longest trail of 5,4 km. Marking of the trails is made according to generally accepted standards. Green color trails are suitable for beginners. They do not have bumps and are regularly raced. Bumps can be encountered on blue colored trails. These are intermediate level slopes for those who would feel bored with ordinary ones and would like to improve their riding technique. Red slopes are steep, and there are practically no flat areas. They are suitable for experienced skiers. There are practically no hillocks on red slopes, and even if they appear, it will happen in the evening.
There are also slopes for those who like extreme rest. These are so-called “black slopes. They are characterized by steep turns, slopes and deep snow. You can get to the beginning of the slopes by helicopter. The most popular routes are located on the slopes of Semenov-Bashi mountain. The length of the track is up to 4 kilometers.
Ski elevators and ski pass system at Dombaj in 2022
Nowadays there are three kinds of elevators at Dombaj: old Soviet elevators, modern gondola or chairlifts, and a pendulum ropeway. The highest point, which can be reached by a chairlift, is 3,168 meters.
There is no unified system of ski-pass use at Dombaj, and the cost of the elevators depends on the type you choose. On the Soviet ropeway you have to pay in cash. The ropeway consists of 5 turns, the 5th turn is duplicated by the “Yugoslavian” road. You will have the option to pay separately for each section or buy a single ticket.
The ski pass system operates on a modern cable car, which consists of three lines. Prices in 2022 for the ski pass depend on the duration of the ticket and the possibility of benefits. Holidaymakers over the age of 65 and children from 3 to 10 years are eligible to purchase a discounted pass. It’s also possible to buy tickets for separate lines or for one-day use of the elevators.
Best hotels of Dombaj
The residential part of Dombaj is located compactly in a small area. You can safely book any hotel in Dombaj, so the distance to the nearest elevator will not be more than 1 km. Besides you can choose from a wide range of hotels and apartments depending on the desired accommodation and budget of the trip.
One of the options for hotels Dombaj near the elevator is a hotel “Aryuchat”. Funicular is located 100 meters from the hotel. All holidaymakers can have lunch or dinner at the hotel restaurant with dishes of Russian or Caucasian cuisine. The hotel is suitable for recreation of a large company in a two-storey room.
Another option to relax is to rent an apartment in Dombai. In a modern residential complex, there are apartments “Vershina”. Guests can stay in two- or three-bedroom apartments. The apartments are equipped in “chalet” style with wooden furniture and finishing of natural materials.
If it is not only active rest that matters to you, choose Belalakaya hotel. All guests are served breakfast in the morning, and their rooms overlook the mountains. In addition to nature walks, you can take advantage of the swimming pool, sauna or fitness center.
You can feel the spirit of mountains and nature at Taurukh hotel. Rooms differ in finish: standard rooms and rooms with wooden furniture in the style of a rural cottage. Whichever room you choose, you will have a view of the mountains or river. The hotel is located near the entrance to the Teberda Reserve. And after an active day in nature, you can relax in the sauna.
Another one of the best hotels in Dombaj, according to reviews, is “Crystal” located 900 meters from the elevator. Here guests will have the opportunity to store skis in a separate room. All rooms are made in classical style, and the restaurant offers dishes of Russian and Caucasian cuisine.
Top 10 Hotels Dombai
Prices for recreation
It is no secret that the greatest number of holidaymakers arrives in Dombai in the winter months. This is not surprising: New Year and Christmas holidays for adults and winter vacations for schoolchildren contribute to the fact that ski lovers come to the resort with their whole families. As spring comes, the flow of tourists decreases, and with it the prices in Dombaj in March also gradually start dropping.
Prices for hotels
There are quite a lot of offers for accommodation reservation in Dombaj. In March there is not a rush in hotels like in winter months. Consequently, the cost of hotel room rent decreases.
At the beginning of spring an average daily price for a standard room amounts to 70 Euros a day. In February for a similar accommodation option will have to pay 10% more. In April the prices for accommodations drop by 20-25%.
Air travel is considered to be the most convenient and fastest way to get to the place of rest. Most fans of mountain skiing come to Dombaj through the airport of the nearest big city – Mineralnye Vody. In this case, the road does not take long, and from the air terminal you can get to the resort using cabs or shuttle buses.
In March, compared to February, airfare prices decrease by 8%, and this trend will continue next month. In April airline tickets become even cheaper by 5-7% compared to March.
A seven-day tour to Dombai in March will cost approximately 200 euros per adult in a standard double room. If you compare with February, the tours in March are 15% cheaper. This tendency keeps on decreasing in April: the prices for the tours Dombaj decrease by 5-7% comparing to March.
How to get to Dombaj from Moscow by yourself
There are two easy ways to get to Dombai in winter – by plane or by train. There are daily flights from three airports in Moscow to Mineralnye Vody. You can buy tickets almost all the time. But you should note that closer to the holidays the cost and demand for tickets increases, so it is better to buy them in advance.
When you arrive in Mineralnye Vody, you will be offered the services of cab drivers. You can choose to take a train to Dombaj directly from the airport, but the prices will be overcharged. Your budget variant is to take a bus to the railway station, and then change to a regular bus to Dombaj. Or you can also take a regular bus from Mineralnye Vody to Teberda, and from there take a cab to Dombaj.
If you don’t want to take a plane, you can get to Dombaj by train. The most convenient way is to go to Kislovodsk from Moscow. From Kislovodsk you can take a direct bus to Dombaj or bus to Teberda, and then take a cab to Dombaj. You can also take a train from Moscow to Mineralnye Vody, and from there to Dombaj in any of these ways.
Those who like to travel independently may choose a car trip to Dombai. But it is worth considering that the road to the resort is tedious. It is necessary to use winter tires and strictly follow the traffic rules to avoid conflicts with the traffic police officers.
Detailed guide on how to get to Dombai
Ferries to Dombai from Moscow
To avoid wasting time looking for the appropriate tickets and hotels it’s better to order a ready tour to Dombai. The price of the tour to Dombai with most tour operators already includes a flight on the plane or the road by bus. In addition, the price includes hotel accommodation, meals (full or just breakfasts) and medical insurance. Some agencies meet their clients in Kislovodsk, and then organize a tour for several days. The program includes walks to waterfalls and lakes, stops at mountain passes for photography, free days for skiing.
What to take with you to Dombai?
I have already told you about how to pack for the trip in the previous posts. In the mountains, in addition to the basic things can come in handy:
- moisturizing cream;
- warm socks;
- ski suit;
- warm hat;
- comfortable shoes;
- sun hat;
- gnat repellent (in summer);
- raincoat (in summer).
In addition to Dombai in the Caucasus mountains there are no less popular and picturesque ski resorts, such as: Arkhyz, Cheget (Elbrus), Azau (Elbrus).