Skiing in Mongolia

Skiing in Mongolia

Chris 0 Sky Resort 2

For the uninformed, Sky Resort is the one ski resort in Mongolia, and, yes, just like the title says, I fell……. Twice.  Now in my defense one of them was not my fault.  The kiddies (since this was a school trip for the ski club) got ahead of me, and they didn’t seem to understand the word stop.  Now this could have been due to the nature of all kids to run ahead when faced with a fun activity.  On the other hand it could have been due to a translation issue since I don’t speak Mongolian.  I leave it up to you to decide.  Anyway, it was in my rush to get ahead of them that I slipped and fell before I even got to the lift.

Back to the Sky Resort, Mongolia’s only ski resort (opened in 2013 according to Wikipedia, 2009 everywhere else).  It is located 13km outside of Ulaanbaatar, or about 20minutes from the school and my apartment.  It’s basically you go down to the main road and make a right and drive until you get to the site.  The resort is located on Bogd Khan Mountain, a frequent hiking spot for the people of Ulaanbaatar.  FYI- this was first written back in the winter of 2015 for the previous version of Visas, Vittles, and Vacations.

Bogd Khan
Bodh Khan

Looking towards the city

 

The city from the ski slope

Ulaanbaatar

 

They also have Camels for some reason
Camels

Don’t ask me why they have camels

 

Sky Resort by the numbers

Top elevation- 5,150ft (1,570m)

Base Elevation- 4,524ft (1,379m)

Vertical drop- 627ft (191m)

Trail Map

9 Trails

4 green squares

2 blue circles

1 black diamond

1 beginners slope

1 sledding hill

Longest trail- 0.66 miles (1.07km)

7 Lifts

2 quad chairs

2 T bars

3 moving carpets (I know it sounds weird but they are actually pretty nifty)

Snow- as reported in the winter of 2015.  The resort uses both natural and manmade snow, but more manmade as it does not snow much here in Mongolia

Base- 8inch (20cm)

Powder- unknown

Snow- as I skied

Base- I don’t know how thick it was, but I was skiing on ice a majority of the time

Powder- nonexistent in several places, but there was a good layer in most spots other than the beginner slope

Season- Late November to early April

Hours of operation

9am to 10pm

2 hour lift ticket and rental- 18,000 turgiks (9.25$ USD)

Ski Resort info review- 2.9 out of 5 stars

 

The Skiing

Me- It’s been a while since I’ve been skiing

The other chaperone- When was the last time you went skiing?

Me- Ten years ago, I think, maybe longer

The other chaperone

Me- Don’t worry, it’s like riding a bike I’ll be fine

The other chaperone- if you say so

 

Anyway we finally arrive and get the kiddies’ skis, boots, poles, and lift tickets and we are off like a herd of…. Well a herd of something anyway.  The equipment is a bit old and worn, but the boots fit well, even if they are a bit bigger than I remember my old ones being.  The skis are clearly shorter, and not by a little bit.  My old skis are 205’s (if I remember correctly) and I got the longest pair they had, 170’s.  The length wasn’t actually much of a problem and it might have actually helped a bit since it’s been so long since I was skiing.  The problem was the skis weren’t waxed or properly treated, or the snow was weird.  My vote is for the skis not being treated properly.  Thus I ended up sticking to the snow quite a bit in the flat areas and on the beginner slope.

The beginners slope was a little icy but short, gently sloped, and quite wide.

This small run is serviced by a moving carpet also known as a magic carpet (yes it is the actual technical term).

Yes, it is exactly what it looks like, an inclined version of one of those airport walkways.  It’s actually pretty easy to use and my beginners had very little trouble with it.  (Mainly going up the slope to get on).  And, no, you do not slide backwards down the mat at all.  I had four kids who had skied before, and one who was a newbie.  After several runs, three of the more capable skiers headed out with the other chaperone, while I remained behind with the task of teaching the other student how to ski.  Let me be frank here: teaching kids to swim, been there done that, teaching kids how to row, that was my bread and butter in NJ, teaching kids to ski, not so much.

Well, there is a first time for everything right, and people flip while rowing and crash while skiing, that makes them similar enough, right?  Oh, and they both need water.

Crew boat flip

 

Ski crash

 

Ok, maybe they aren’t all that similar.  Either way I think I managed to demonstrate proper posture, and how to turn.  My stroke of genius (well I thought it was genius) was to ski right next to the girl so our skis were touching.  This way I could use my weight to push her into a turn and show her what it would feel like.  I think I had at least some success by the time the other teacher returned and we switched groups.

I was now with the best three skiers of the group, while the newbie and weakest skier remained on the bunny slope.  So we headed for the first quad chair lift, which was a little slow….. Ok, no, it was ridiculously slow.  Seriously, I think it took almost ten minutes to reach the top.  On the upside we did get a fairly long run out of it Tenger an 800m green square.

 

All of the kiddies made it down the slope safely, even if they didn’t turn very much.  (crazy little speed demons) Thus began the real adventure or the trip up the second chair lift, which was even slower than the first one.

Yes, it gets that close to the rocks.  I could grab a sample if I wanted to.

 

This time the slope was a blue circle Zaisan 1070m long.

 

Me- Now I want you guys to practice turning on the way down and take it slow the first time

Kiddy 1- Ok

Kiddy 2- Woohoo………

Kiddy 3- I can’t stop!

Me- #$#%%^@!@#%^^%*($#@…….. You two go slow- I need to catch up to kiddy number 3

As with many things in teaching plans, do not survive first contact with the students.  As I sped off to catch up with number three, numbers 1 and 2 blew past me and I didn’t want to speed up and potentially cause problems going past them.  Much to my relief, and probably my job, they all made it to the bottom safely.  Now much to my stupidity, we went back up to do it again, but this time I resolved to teach kiddy 3 how to turn and stop.

The plan worked reasonably well, and kiddy 3 did do some turns and make it down the slope slower, except the poor kiddy crashed this time.  However, skiing is like rowing.

            Rule 1

Rowing- You’ve never really learned how to row a single until you’ve flipped.

Skiing- You’ve never really learned to ski until you’ve crashed

            Rule 2

Rowing- It’s not a matter of if you flip, but when you flip.

Skiing- It’s not a matter of if you crash but when.

These rules apply to everyone from beginners to experts, and even instructors.

 

Ouch…. That kinda hurt and maybe I shouldn’t take pictures and ski at the same time.  On the upside it has been a good recruiting tool to get more kids to come out for the ski club.  Who wouldn’t want to see their teacher crash and lose his skis?

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