The 17 gnarliest things to do in Siberia
Sure, you've always known that Siberia is super cold, but now, thanks to 56th Parallel -- who've taken some of the most rugged & otherworldly geography on the planet and turned it into a series of magnificent adventures -- it's also super cool to visit. Here are 17 badass reasons why:
Ride a Russian hovercraft across Lake Baikal:
Apparently those industrious Ruskies made something called The Hivus, and the amphibious beast hits speeds of up to 90kmph while flying across Lake Baikal...frozen or not.
Go ice diving in Lake Baikal:
Fun fact: at 1642m, Baikal is the deepest freshwater lake in the world. Tack on how insanely cold it is, and you have a robust (1800+) and weird (the Baikal seal) spread of species that inhabit it.
Go not-ice diving in the Bering Sea:
Kamchatka's not just the cheapest vodka at the liquor store, it's also the easternmost region in Siberia, loaded with 350 species of fish, "incredible invertebrate life", sea lions, and whales.
Drive ice go-karts:
Not only can you drive suped-up go-karts across a frozen wilderness, 56th Parallel's package lets you drive a "boogster" (Russian dune buggy) and get a rally car lesson from a "Russian race champ."
Rock climb with a champion Russian climber:
Apparently Siberia's Stolby Nature Preserve in the West Sayan Mountains is a climber's paradise full of uber-climbable rock cliffs and stone pillars called stolbies.
Snow kite on enormous glacial lakes or down enormous glacial mountains:
Strap on your skis (or snowboard) and replace your poles with an enormous, man-lifting kite as you fly-ski away into awesomeness.
Heli ski 15,000 vertical feet of volcanic mountain along the Pacific Rim of Fire:
Should snow kiting not be badass enough for you, score 4 days of the most desolate big-mountain skiing in the world on the Kamchatka Peninsula, wherein a beastly Russian Mi-8 helicopter will act as your personal chairlift.
Play paintball in a taiga forest:
Screw the flimsy, man-made courses you're used to. In Siberia, you're hunted on God's course: the desolate, unforgiving, snow-drifted woods.
Explore arctic Yakutiya where reindeer are just regular deer:
The Sakha Republic is in one of the most remote regions of the Russian Federation, and nearly 40% of Yakutiya -- its main city -- is actually above the Arctic Circle. You can go there and live like the Yakuts live, reindeer, mammoths, vodka and all.
Go ice rafting on Lake Baikal:
Who needs actual rafts when you've got huge shards of ice that can apparently safely accommodate tons of people (and their booze) for a float over the world's deepest, coldest lake?
Take an aerobatic flight above Krasnoyarsk:
Maverick aside, Russian pilots are among the most skilled in the world, and nowhere will it be more evident than when you're riding gunner in a Yak-52 pulling 6 Gs whilst doing barrel rolls, stalls, and tumbles.
Go taimen fishing on the Uda River:
Siberian taimen are the largest salmonoid fish in the world, commonly weighing in at 66lbs (w/ some on record at 220lbs), and locals call them the "water tiger" and "river wolf" because they'll freaking eat you. Alright, they won't eat you, but they'll eat that beaver standing next to you.
Ice golf on Lake Baikal:
Those wiley Siberians make the most out of their enormous frozen lake, including creating an 18-hole course on it that's run by the Irkutsk region’s ice golf federation (seriously). There're even ice golf pros to show you the ropes.
Go husky dog sledding:
Literally go over the river & through the woods, but get nowhere near grandma's house, as the taiga forests will consume a man and his huskies.
Go reindeer sledding:
Think husky sledding is too pedestrian? Then go on a similar ride, but this time Santa-style.
Just say f-it and take the Trans-Siberian Railroad instead:
And, hey, there's no shame in just seeing it all by train either. From Vladivostok to Moscow: 7 days. 9258km. And a schload of Siberia, the most epic travel destination on Earth, right out your window.