December always tries our patience. We're all itching to get on the slopes, but mother nature often has other ideas. This year has been no exception - the weather has been swinging between the extremes of full-on arctic winter and late summerish temperatures. Finally, a few days before Christmas things are starting to look good. We decided to head up and check things out for ourselves.
When you can see this much of the vegetation on the top slopes, it means it's still very, very early season.
The snow cover on some runs is still fairly thin and soft, so we get a few warnings to ride carefully from the managing staff. Taking it easy on our way down though proves quite difficult!
While the scenery surely tells us it's finally winter, there's still work to be done on the ski runs - some spots are not firm enough yet. Hopefully a few more days of grooming will fix that.
In the meantime, the snow factory works full time to produce enough snow for a good base. As the daylight starts fading we head down to the Yastrebets ski runs.
Soon these slopes will be buzzing with people, but right now we have the mountain all for ourselves.
With the lifts sitting quiet and still the cold evening serenity is broken up only by the sound of the snow cannons...
...and our own high-speed turns.
The conclusion? Without any doubt, the waiting is over. Winter is finally here! Despite doing only one run, for us it already feels like the last one never really ended.
We send off the last bits of daylight and dive into the clouds, knowing that in only a few very short days we will return. Only this time we won't be alone.