So what else to do on the peninsula in winter, if you want active recreation? What kinds of winter activities are available on the peninsula? In general, they can be divided into three main types: mountain, water and air sports. The Crimean Travel Portal has prepared a selection of the most interesting options that will surely inspire fans of active winter recreation.
Mountain extreme on a "snow blanket"
The most popular places for skiing, sledging, tubing and snowboarding are Ai-Petri, Chatyr-Dag, and Angarskiy Pass.
If there is a real winter paradise in Crimea, then it is on Ai-Petri, at an altitude of more than 1,200 meters. The dense "snow blanket" remains on the slopes of this mountain from December to March, sometimes even to April. Both professionals and beginners appreciate it, they like both climate and the terrain (many gentle slopes) and the ability to rent the necessary equipment. Tourists who have enough of sliding down the slopes are offered an inexpensive stay at a camp site, located here on the plateau of Ai-Petrinskaya Yayla.
For those, who are eager to conquer the mountain peaks, the Angarskiy Pass is, of course, the closest from the Crimean capital. This is the highest point of the Simferopol-Alushta highway (more than 750 meters above sea level). There are ski slopes organized as far back as in Soviet times that are suitable for skiing with all kinds of equipment − from skis to ice cubes and "vatrushkas" (tubing). But most of all the Angarskiy Pass is adored by fans of sledging, because of the relatively gentle slopes. This is a favorite place for parents with children.
Finally, for the extreme adventurers, who are not looking for easy ways, there is Mount Chatyr-Dag, which can only be reached on foot. And this, just look, is more than 1,500 meters above sea level, going up will take 1.5-2 hours. Moreover, the snow here lies almost as long as on the Ai-Petri plateau. In general, if you manage to reach this almost inaccessible summit, you will be rewarded with pleasure of riding both a sledge and a snowboard.
In addition, the Crimean mountains are able to give unforgettable escape to climbers and speleotourists. Many tourist groups (they are easy to find in social networks) offer to make simple climbs or go on a one-day ski trip to reach the caves. And everything you need, including a safety system, ice axes, helmets, etc., is provided on the site.
For example, climbing the Cold Couloir to the most beautiful peak of Chatyr-Dag − Angar-Burun (1,453 meters) is offered. And on the way back everyone is welcome to visit the Cold Cave. The organizers rate its difficulty level as "no experience, but much desire". In this case the main condition is that there are no health problems, in particular, with the heart and musculoskeletal system.
In general, there are hundreds of caves in Crimea. And most of them are inaccessible without equipment and experience, but there are the caves that can be visited without special training. Among the most popular caves prepared and equipped for tourists there are: Marble, Emine-Bair-Khosar, Kyzyl-Koba, Three-eyed, Skelskaya and Yalta caves.
Visiting Poseidon the "Frosty"
There are places in Crimea for scuba diving and where to fall under the charm of an underwater abyss − with its mysterious labyrinths and grottoes, sunken ships and artifacts… And all this in winter, when the average sea temperature is +8…12°C (46-54°F).
The most popular dive sites are in the vicinity of Sudak, Sevastopol, Olenyovka, Eupatoria and Balaklava. Here diving is organized for professionals and beginners − from the shore and dive boats. True, in winter the whole fauna is sleepy and hides away, but the water is more transparent, as experts say. With the beginning of the cold season the sea often storms, however, for experienced divers this should not be a problem.
If you are not ready yet for such an extreme acquaintance with the Black Sea, but are eager to swim in the winter waves, try winter swimming. Again, in social networks, you can easily find supporters of such a pastime. According to experienced enthusiasts of such invigorating swims, one needs to get involved in this gradually and better from mid-autumn, when both the air and the sea are getting colder gradually, and it is more comfortable for the body to get used to low temperatures. Of course, when you go ashore, you must immediately rub yourself with a terry towel, put on warm clothes and drink hot tea, precautiously brought with you in a thermos.
The surfers are also eager to catch an invigorating wave in winter, when the north-east winds blow in Crimea. The best place for it is on Cape Tarkhankut or near the village of Popovka, and in general − on the West Coast. If you have your own board and wetsuit, you can go surfing on your own. If not − search the Internet for tourist clubs offering this service.
Besides, fishing can also be attributed to winter activities. Many boat and small yacht owners offer avid fishermen to throw fishing rods off the coast of the Kerch Peninsula, in Balaklava, Sudak, Theodosia, and the South Coast. There is even such a service as "underwater fishing". Of course, fishing in Crimea is regulated by laws, which should be read through in advance.
The invigorating wind of freedom
And finally, in winter you can fly paragliders. The places for paragliding are plotted on the map of Crimea. In particular − Laspi, Ai-Petri, Demerdzhi, Belaya Skala (White Rock), Mount Klementyeva, mountain peaks in Simferopol district. Just keep in mind that up in the air it is usually 4-6 degrees cooler than on the ground. And accordingly, it is necessary to dress warmer and not forget about headgear.
Paragliders are offered different categories of flights − from Light (for example, a 15-minute hover over Mount Klementyeva, in the villages of Kacha and Stroganovka) to Max (this is 40 minutes over Ai-Petri). There is nothing to worry about: professional instructors with many years of experience are at your service (in tandem with them you will enjoy the invigorating wind of freedom), free photography in the clouds and effective training are included.
Why not to take a breath of extreme air in jumping with a parachute? You will remember this event for a long time. Moreover, the colder it is the weather, the more transparent, even more like crystal the air is. In the off-season, there are usually few who want to "dive into abyss". Respectively, there are no queues, and instructors can pay more attention to you. For example, one sports school located in Koktebel offers two options: to jump either with an instructor from a height of 3,000 meters (training takes 30 minutes), or on your own from a height of 1,100 meters (it will take 6 hours to learn).
"Pirouette after pirouette I draw on slippery ice…"
Figure skating evokes the most romantic, airy associations in many people. And when it is more logical to go in for the figure skating, if not in winter? In Crimea there are many skating rinks organized at the bases of sports complexes and large shopping malls. You can skate both ‘for fun’ and to enhance your professional skills. Among the additional services there are group or individual classes with an instructor, skates sharpening service, rental of protective equipment, etc.
And one more news: in Simferopol, on Gurzufskaya Street, there is a unique ice complex, which opened in late December 2019 at the initiative of the famous Russian skater, Olympic medalist Ilya Averbukh. The goal of the project is popularization of winter sports in Crimea. They plan to train young athletes year-round and free of charge, not only in figure skating, but also in curling and ice hockey.