Perhaps surprisingly, Russia is one of the most exciting places in the world to enjoy extreme sports, even though you might not hear about them as often as you do in the States. Here we take a look at some of our favorites.
Extreme Urban Climbing
The popularity of urban climbing has increased greatly in the past few years. This is partly the fault of Max Polazov, an extreme sports junkie who has made breaking into some of Moscow’s highest buildings and then hanging off the edge of them while recording the entire feat on camera or by taking photographs, the newest craze in Russian extreme sports. Now 22 years old, Max has been breaking into buildings since the age of 17.
Obviously, many people think Max (an assumed name) is off his rocker, but he insists that he takes his sport seriously and prepares well ahead before hanging from ridiculously high roofs or ledges. On February 17th, 2012, Max told the UK’s Daily Mail that: ‘Many think that I am a madman or they do not realize how much experience I have. While I’m hanging from a building I perfectly concentrate my body and I plan carefully ahead. Fear isn’t present when I do this, I must have complete mindfulness.’
People who take part in urban climbing are known as ‘roofers’ and are constantly at loggerheads with the law, as a lot of the time they have to break into the buildings in order to climb them.
Cave diving is risky business. Only around 50 of Russia’s estimated 50,000 registered divers venture into the icy depths of Russia’s caves. That’s a mere 0.1 percent! The first Russian cave diving expedition took place in 1994, when a landslide exposed the mouth of a cave near Orda village in the Ural Mountains. Igor Lavrov, a well-known scientist, and Victor Komarov, an experienced cave diver, took it upon themselves to explore the caves. Today, explorations into the Ordinskaya Cave, (so named because of it being in close vicinity to Orda village) have made Russia a favorite diving spot. The water may be bone-numbingly cold, but the witnessing the un-spoilt beauty of the longest underwater cave in Russia is completely worth it.
This sport is pretty similar to bungee jumping but, according to many, is a lot more dangerous. Firstly, instead of jumping off into an open, natural space, you jump off a building, bridge or some such urban height. Also, you aren’t tethered to an elastic cord. Oh no. All that’s keeping you from plunging to your death is a mountain climbing rope. Yeesh. And people have died doing this sport. In fact, the founder of the sport, an American named Dan Osman, died while jumping off a rock formation in Yosemite National Park in 1998. Years later, rope jumping is now a favorite sport among the youth in post-Soviet Russia.
If you’re taking a trip to old Russia and want to get involved in some of the latest and most popular extreme sports, take these options into account. You’ll find there’s no shortage of willing participants to go along with you for the ride.