Photo: Shutterstock

Places to Ski in Moscow (Even When There Is No Snow)

It looks like this winter’s going to be one of the warmest in Moscow since record began. According to the forecast of the Hydrometcenter (Hydrometeorological Centre) of Russia, the average temperature in Moscow will be more than 4°C above the climate normal. Nonetheless, the city parks, as always, have prepared 62 ski runs for the winter sports season, five of which are all-weather! That’s what we’re going to talk about!

Here is How It Works

You would think that you can't argue with the nature and the wretched skiers are among the first victims of global warming… But that’s not so in Moscow, where modern technologies: snow cannons and snowcats are always ready to help. They are absolutely the same as the ones that groom the slopes of world’s best ski resorts. In order for the trails not to melt with the winter’s warmth, they are ‘taught’ to withstand the whims of nature. So, if there are no white feathers in the sky at all, the special pulverizing cannons shoot a layer of man-made snow, which is much denser than natural snow and is harder to melt. This snow cushion is carefully smoothed out by snowcats –tractor-type machines with incredibly wide caterpillar bands and huge bulldozer blades. The snowcats carefully groom the runs every time there’s precipitation and literally cut the ski track. Thus, thanks to the competent compacting work of the snowcats and the cannon cushion, the ski run does not melt even when the temperature rises above zero Celsius and gives joy with the crackle of snow to those who love to ski in the warm wintry Moscow.

Sokolniki Park: on your mark, get set, go!


The first all-weather ski run this season opened in Sokolniki back in the fall, on November 27. Actually, seasoned skiers swear that the city’s longest groomed ski trail (17 kilometers) also runs through the park, and the total length of snow trails is 45 kilometers. However, you can ski in any weather and absolutely free only at 2y Luchevoy Prosek; it is here where one and a half kilometers of happiness begin for those who love the classic or the skating stride. This trail is nurtured and cherished: its snow cover, which can even handle a couple degrees above zero, is renewed daily. The trail (750 meters each way) is fenced in and lit by street lamps in the evening, so even after a hard day at work you can still go out for a quick ski run in the park.

Yet another heat-resistant run in Sokolniki is at the 5y Luchevoy Prosek. Its length from Mitkovsky Proezd to Poperechny Prosek is 3 kilometers. There are 4 lanes of 750 meters each for classic stride skiing. By the way, the park administration has already announced weekly relay races for anyone who wants to participate.


You don’t have to drag bulky ski equipment with you. You can rent skis, poles, and boots at the Run Club at 11 Mitkovsky Proezd, near the 2y Luchevoy Prosek. The rental office is open on weekdays 10:00 am to 9:00 pm (sports equipment can be rented until 8:00 pm) and on weekends from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm (sports equipment can be rented until 7:00 pm). One hour of ski rental costs 200 rubles and two hours is 350; cloakroom services included. If you present an ID you won’t have to leave a security deposit, while those who wish to remain incognito have to pay a security deposit of 4,000 rubles. 

+7 (499) 39-39-222

For Amateurs and Pros: Ski runs at the Moscow-850 Park

Photo: Comprehensive improvements have made the Moscow-850 Park one of the best sports and recreation areas in the city. In winter time, there are two ski runs open here groomed by snowcats. If there’s not enough snow, the snow artillery comes to the rescue: the water for the snow cannons comes directly from the Moskva River. The Mar’ino District trails are among the longest and the most picturesque in Moscow parks. In addition, they are illuminated in the evening. The “amateur” trail is 8 kilometers long: it starts at the Brateevsky Bridge and meanders all the way to Kapotnya, which you may not even recognize these days: the embankment reconstruction was on such a scale this year that you can take tours, including skiing tours, just to see it now. You may choose either skating or classic skiing. The second 5 kilometer-long run is for trained athletes, such as biathletes, for example. Traditionally, anyone who wants to is welcome to take part in the annual Ski Track of Russia National Competition, whose circuit legs runs though the Moscow-850 Park.

Photo: спортвао.рф 

Ski equipment rental is next to the shopping mall at 10 Porechnaya Street (on the Moskva River side) and is open daily from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. You will have to leave your driver’s license, your Social Security ID or 3,000 rubles as security. An hour rental for cross-country skis is 250 rubles; two hours costs 350 rubles; three hours costs 400 rubles.

Olympic Sport at the Olympic Village Park


The south-western part of Moscow also boasts of an all-weather track for the Olympic sport. The Olympic Village Park makes snow on one kilometer of ski run for the eager skiers. When “live” snowfall comes, two more lighted runs are opened: 3 and 5 kilometers long. However, if you keep hearing the stern “Watch out!” behind you and have no idea whether it is classic or skating stride that suits your red pom-pom hat best, ask the pros for help. You can participate in group training al fresco at Voronin Sport Ski Club at the central pavilion in the park. Workshops led by world-class athlete start at 1,500 rubles and you can master your new skills here too, at the ski machines or by renting high-class equipment starting at 300 rubles/hour.


Severnoye Tushino Park: shoot the snow

Photo: Severnoye Tushino Museum Park 

There is an unmelting ski run at the Severnoye Tushino Park as well. Actually, it’ll be there really soon: since winter is not in a hurry to shower its gifts on Moscow, snow shooters have been set at the outposts. They are to shoot a 300-meter ski track in the central part of the park, to the right of the central square, near the Alleya Slavy. The track is not long and that’s a con, but it’s all-weather, which is a pro. In addition to this short promenade along the Tushino Reservoir there are two picturesque runs: one of 1,000 meters (in the northern part of the park) and one of 1,700 meters (in the southern part). The former is near the pier on the embankment, the latter starts at the entrance to the park at the crossing of Svobody and Fomicheva streets. However, to enjoy the views, you have to bring the skis with you, there is no rental here. In addition, none of the tracks is lighted at night, even though they are open 24/7. Mind you, it is quite likely that these small inconveniences will be removed next season under the My District Program.

Lazurnaya Run in Alyoshkinsky Forest: Available to all and sundry!

Photo: Shutterstock 

Alyoshkinsky Forest is well known to Moscow skiers. It’s not too warm here in winter; as a rule, the temperature in the forest is several degrees below that in the residential districts of North Tushino. However, it is very beautiful here: a main 7.5-kilometer circuit is being prepared for experienced skiers in the picturesque Severnoye Tushino Natural-Historical Park. And it’s convenient here too: the beginners or those who want to relax, will enjoy a track of one and a half kilometers: even, easy and lighted. The width of the groomed track allows the skiers to choose either the skating or the classic stride without getting in each other’s way. If there isn’t enough fresh snow, it is made using snow cannons and then patched along the entire track. So why is this track called Lazurnaya? It’s simple: it starts at the Lazurny Sports and Recreation Centre, where dozens of champions were raised, so the trainees of this children’s sports school are sure to pass you again and again as you go along the track.

By the way, it is here, at 26 Vilisa Latsisa Street, that there is a somewhat unique rental office. Not in its prices, although the rental of a ski package (skies, boots, and poles) is 150 rubles an hour and only 200 rubles for two hours. The key advantage of this particular rental is that it has special equipment for people with disabilities. And warm locker rooms too.

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