For more than five decades, the Elbrus vicinity region of the Kabardino-Balkar Republic has been a popular place on the tourist map of Russia visited by tens of thousands of sportsmen and winter sports fans from all over the world. They are attracted by the opportunity to conquer Elbrus, the highest mountain in Russia and Europe. Its height is 5,642 m.
The modernization of the legendary resort and the work to bring ski infrastructure in line with the highest world standards were launched in 2014 under the management of JSC NCR. The priority measures implemented during preparation of the ski trails for the 2014/2015 season include the alignment of the skiing areas, demolition of the old buildings and structures, arranging drainage channels on the slopes, expansion of existing slopes and providing extra protective structures. This work has resulted in an increase in tourist flow to the Elbrus vicinity region: about 212,000 thousand tourists visited the resort in 2015, about 320,000 visitors - in 2016 and already 342,000 tourists - in 2017.
According to sociological surveys, the bulk of the tourist flow to Elbrus resort are holiday makers from the Krasnodar territory, Saint-Petersburg, the Rostov region and Stavropol territory. More than half of the guests (57%) are residents of Moscow and the Moscow region. Over 55% of tourists come for recreation with their friends, a third - with their families that is 8% higher compared to the ski season 2016/2017. About 61% of Elbrus tourists note that it is not the first time they come to the resort, 63% of visitors plan to come once again to the resort in winter and a third - in summer operation season.
In 2015, JSC NCR invested over one billion rubles in the further upgrade of the popular resort. The funds were allocated to Construction Stage 3 of the ropeway Mir Station – Gara-Bashi Station up to 3,847 m elevation, and to designing and equipping ski runs. The Elbrus ropeway is the most elevated one, with no equivalents in Russia and Europe; the lift also provides free access to the most elevated skiing zone in Europe. In addition, it was made accessible for use by low mobility persons.
At the present time the resort has the following infrastructure: 15.4 km of well-kept pistes; 7 ski lifts (including 3 modern gondola lifts), about 800 beds of different comfort level (including private center).
Joint-Stock Company Northern Caucasus Resorts in cooperation with leading foreign and Russian experts developed a site design of the SEZ territory within the boundaries of the Elbrus municipal district. Based on the approved SEZ site design, JSC NCR is preparing a utility development plan of SEZ to define the engineering, transport and mountain ski infrastructure facilities to be built in Elbrus ATRC. Including in 2018, within further development of Elbrus ski resort infrastructure, it is planned to construct a new road from Gara-Bashi station to Mir station of about 2.5 km of the red difficulty category.
For the future, the Elbrus ATRC Further Integrated Development Project provides for development of Azau Meadow to ensure a comfortable and safe stay of tourists in the outrun area. Provisions are made for construction of additional accommodation and engineering facilities, allocation of parking space for visitors’ cars, setting up the service area for vacationers, as well as the conditions for the development of catering outlets, rental stores and first aid stations.