Sviyazhskiye Kholmy All-Season Resort Town

Egor Aleev/TASS
Sviyazhskiye Kholmy (Sviyaga Hills), the sports and health complex popularly nicknamed "Sviyaga" by Kazan locals, opened in 2004. The downhill skiing season kicks off in November or December here, to end in March or April. The season last longer due to the fact that most of the slopes face north or northwest, getting the chilly Arctic winds. Sviyaga has four tracks 110 to 650 metres (361 to 2,133 feet) long, with a maximum altitude drop of 165 metres (541 feet) which, however, only applies to the "green" track meant for leisurely skiing. All the tracks are 2800 metres (9,186 feet) long together. They cheated on nature here by shoring up the top plateau and deploying a stationary artificial snow-making system, as well as mobile snow generators.

There is a snow-tubing park at Sviyaga, and a "practice" slope with a tow-lift.

Sviyazhskiye Kholmy boasts all the hallmarks of a relevant modern ski resort. The shop sells skis, snowboards, gear and accessories. Skiing gear rental and repair shop are also on site, as are numerous restaurants and cafés. There is also a skating rink. For the lovers of extreme adventure, there is the snow park with its ski jumps. The accommodation options at Sviyaga include private cottages, hotels, treatment centres and tour bases in and around Sviyaga.

The "small" health complex was added at Sviyaga in 2008, offering an outdoor summer swimming pool and indoor all-season one, steam room and Finnish sauna, gym and fitness club, billiards and ping-pong, massage parlour, bowling club, restaurant and bar. There is a whole town in its own right for kids, as well as a play room with game consoles, simulators and toys. The town for the little skiers includes a choice of outdoor swings and carousels.

The trapshooting facility at Sviyaga stays open in all seasons. Professional athletes train here, as well as amateurs.

Sviyaga is open all year round. The guests who come here to stay visit the health centre, go biking, sunbathing, swimming in the river, kayaking or paddle-boating, fishing, and playing golf, among other pastimes.