Mikhail, skiing and Russia.

Mikhail is the Decathlon Webmaster in Russia. We asked him to comment on the relatively new sports of skiing and snowboarding in this country.

 

 

Hello Mikhail. How long has Wed’ze been selling in Russia?

Since 2006, when Decathlon opened here. Now there are 16 Décathlon stores in Russia – and all of them sell Wed’ze gear!

 

Is winter in Russia very different from winter in France?

The big difference is the temperature! It’s very cold during the winter, but that’s not a problem as we have the right clothing! We are a country of traditions and experience. We have always worn down, wool and fur garments to keep out the cold. Here, for example, 90% of women have fur coats. And when it is really very cold, we buy woollen boots called Valenki. They used to be made from dried sheepskins without soles. Now you can buy them in felt with soles with a huge choice of models to meet all tastes!

 

 

Which are the most popular winter sports?

Historically, Russians adore skating, ice hockey, tobogganing and Nordic skiing. But over the last few years, Alpine sports have grown very fast. Skiing, of course, but also snowboarding for fun. Russians enjoy the Great Outdoors. These new sports are very popular because they add to the ways we can be outside!

 

Who are Décathlon’s customers?

85% of our customers are people who are discovering the sport and who want to do it with us. We are glad they trust us to help them learn gliding and riding. For winter sports, Wed’ze is in a strong position and we even have products designed specifically for our climate – products which don’t exist anywhere else.

 

Which is the most popular sport, skiing or snowboarding?

70% of our sales are for skiing. But snowboarding is very popular as it has a fun image, even more so than in Europe. Young people prefer snowboarding as they think it is cooler.

 

What resorts are the most popular?

There are popular resorts in all areas. In Siberia, there is Chereguech with a season which lasts from November to May. In the Caucasus, there is Donbaï and the region around the Elbrouz, Russia’s highest mountains. In the extreme west of the Caucasus, there is the valley of Krasnaïa Poliana, which is twinned with Les Houches in Haute-Savoie, not far from Wed’ze HQ!

 

 

Which resorts are famous for top level skiing?

The valley of Krasnaïa Poliana has hosted the Freeride World Tour. Donbaï and the region around the Elbrouz. There is helicopter skiing in Kamtchatka, in the extreme west of Siberia – a magic region where you ski under the volcanoes and can swim out of doors in natural hot springs at 40°C. A fantastic place to ski, with downhills down to the sea! Many French TOs organise holidays there.

 

Are Russians familiar with French resorts?

Yes, especially Courchevel, the 3 Valleys, Chamonix and the Mont Blanc. When you talk to Russians those are the names they mention spontaneously.

 

Thank you Mikhail!

Emily - EN
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