A Ski Break on the Quiet Side in Sirberia

Many people assume Siberia is an inhospitable wasteland of frequented by bears and convicts, largely due to the more than 14 million people who were deported to the Gulag prison camps there between 1929 and 1953. But head to teh eastern slopes of Russia yourself and you will soon find this assumption is incorrect.  Stretching from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, Siberia covers a whopping 5.2 million square miles. It accounts for 77 per cent of Russia's territory but is home to only 25 per cent of its population. Meaning, lot of uncrowded slopes!

Mountainous Shoria, Sheregesh, a small Belgium-size territory on the bordeer of the Altai and Sayan Mountians in west Siberia. Not only does this region boast the best snow in Russia, the population density is five people per sq km, so the lifts should be empty. The highest peaks are Mustag and Zelanaya mountains at 1,570m and 1,270m high respectively.  There are six lifts and the longest slope is more than 4km.

Once you've defrosted (temperature have been know to drop to -68C) sink your teeth into some hearty Pelmeni or 'Russian dumplings', filled with beef or pork or both that are served with sour cream or butter and salf. If you want to give your arteries a rest, go for a fish dish.  Fish soup, stuffed pike and, surprisingly, caviar cakes - not a delicacy here - are plentiful.

The other palce to seek out is Gladenkaya. This umpretentious ski spot was hit by fire that level most of the trees, which makes it abit colder than usual.  After this, fighting for a place in the Chamonix lift queue should be a dodle and if you're desperate to avoid crowed of precocious snowboard gangs, snobby Euro glitterati or humans in general, then Siberia might be worth the destination for your next ski break.