Sunday, December 18, 2016

Ski Trip

Last weekend, a bunch of Khentii volunteers traveled to the capital to go skiing. Mongolia has one ski resort with a variety of slopes. The Sky Ski resort is located about 10 km outside the city. The resort offers a number of rental packages that are quite affordable. Ski rental for three hours was only 50,000(a little less than $25).

I planned this outing with the intention of hitting the slopes in the middle of the day when the temperatures were predicted to be above zero. Really the cold wasn’t too bad. The only times that it was bitter was when one was rapidly flying down the beginner’s slope (or other slopes, but I wouldn’t know what that is like).

Sally and a number of our group had never been skiing before. She handled it very well. The only times she fell was dismounting from the ski lift: once by herself and once with my help when I knocked her over getting out of the lift at the wrong angle. Some of the others in our group had a harder time… well really only one person who got to ride the lift three times before throwing himself from it at the dismounting platform near the top in a mad attempt to escape.

As for me, this was my third time skiing and I was pleasantly surprised to see how easy it comes back even after an eight year hiatus. I was almost ready to hit the intermediate slope, but decided I would wait until my next skiing adventure.

After a fun filled trip we returned to the city and enjoyed a nice meal with a great group of friends.
A quick word about Ulaanbaatar in the winter: UB’s traffic is a profound problem. From what I understand, it is far worse than a lot of bigger cities in Asia. The city was built with a population framework of about a quarter million, but now the population is well over 1.5 million. It is honestly a lot quicker to walk to most destinations, but sometimes you still need to take a slow cab. With winter more people are taking taxis and that doesn’t help the situation at all. In addition to traffic, UB has a very serious problem related to smog. I will discuss this more in a later blog post, but for now travelers to UB during the winter need to be aware that the smog is extremely bad. UB in the winter is one of the most polluted cities in the world.


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