According to CachedHealth, Terskol is a village in the Elbrus region, which is officially part of the Elbrus settlement. It is located at the foot of the famous mountain, on its southeastern side. And it is also a famous mountain resort, one of the steepest in the country – not figuratively, but literally: the elevation difference on the territory of Terskol reaches 850 m. Its uppermost parts are at an altitude of almost 3 km above sea level. It has a classic mountain climate, and snow lies on the surrounding slopes from October until late spring. But just in the spring season, Terskol is not very pleasant: a strong hairdryer blows.
Not far from Terskol, just below the village, is Cheget – the most extreme place (and one of the cheapest) for freeride fans in the country. And above – the lifts to Elbrus. This is what determines the main value of Terskol: this is a place where it is convenient to set up a camp, if you want, both there and there.
Nature in the Terskol area is predictably beautiful, and those who are not particularly keen on skiing will enjoy it here too.
Until the end of the Great Patriotic War, there was only a small mountain village on the site of the present Terskol. But in 1944, the Balkars were deported here, and later a “technical” settlement was built on this site to serve vacationers. In principle, the purpose of Terskol remains the same today: mainly those who are somehow employed in the resort infrastructure of the Elbrus region live here – a little more than a thousand people. First of all, of course, this applies to ski tourism, which in fact is the only way Terskol lives.
How to get there
A plane or a train with a transfer, a direct bus or a private car directly to Terskol – these are the main ways to get into the heart of the Elbrus region. Each of them is good in its own way, but they all have disadvantages: inconvenient connections and transfers, long travel times or high cost of tickets. It is more convenient to choose, of course, based on the thickness of the wallet.
By plane, it is most convenient to fly to Mineralnye Vody or Nalchik. From there, change to a bus (from 300 RUB), a taxi (from 3700 RUB) or a shuttle bus (from 1500 RUB). The prices on the page are for May 2021.
The nearest railway stations are also in Minvody and Nalchik, as well as in the city of Prokhladny and Pyatigorsk. Tickets are traditionally purchased to medical resorts – to Mineralnye Vody and Lermontov Pyatigorsk. The cost of a seat in a reserved seat is from 2700 RUB, in a compartment car from 4200 RUB. From the stations to the slopes, the path is similar to the “airplane” one: a bus, a taxi or a transfer, which, by the way, is often offered to be booked in advance at the hotel.
By bus or car
Relatively inexpensive and comfortably can be reached by direct bus from Moscow or St. Petersburg. Pros: tickets from 3000 RUB, comfortable seats, hot water, dry closet and all the delights of European buses. Minus – from the capital at least 17 hours on the road. Finally, you can go to Terskol by your own car: the M-4 Don highway leading to the Elbrus region is quite wide and comfortable, gas stations and cafes are constantly encountered along the way. But there are also disadvantages: 1600 km one way, a couple of unpleasant mountainous areas closer to Elbrus, and guests of the Azau glade also have paid parking. From Moscow, the path will go through Rostov-on-Don, Mineralnye Vody, Baksan and Tyrnyauz.
Skiers may need transportation in only one scenario: if they arrive without a car, and their hotel does not organize a transfer to the slopes, which is extremely rare. In all other cases, buses will simply not be needed: minibuses with guests start from all hotels every morning to Che and El. They bring them back according to a clear schedule. If you wish, you can even walk to Cheget in about 20-30 minutes along a very picturesque path between the pines (1 km). It will not work to the Azau glade, where the ski lifts to Elbrus begin – 4 km of the way is not so easy in ski boots.
Taxis are another popular mode of transport, especially for evening après ski. The cost of trips between the villages of the Elbrus region is about 300 RUB, it is better to negotiate the price in advance.
Terskol has a good choice of hotels – from the most budgetary (where the cost of an overnight stay will start from 500 RUB) to quite a pretentious institution like Ozone (from 3100 RUB per night). But there are much more offers for renting apartments in the village, because large companies or families with children often stop here – this is much more profitable. However, it should be borne in mind that from Terskol hotels you will have to get to the slopes every morning by transfer or your own car. But you can not overpay, as in the case of accommodation in the glades of Azau or Cheget.
The two main skiing regions in the Elbrus region are Mount Cheget and Elbrus-Azau. On the one hand, from Terskol to Cheget an order of magnitude closer – only 1 km against 4 km to Elbrus. On the other hand, only brave daredevils ride here, who are not afraid of creaking and staggering lifts in the wind, unkempt slopes and the lack of lifeguards. Elbrus is more “soft” in this regard, but you will have to go to it. In total, both zones offer skiers 12 km of cable cars and 35 km of pistes.
Elbrus is good in terms of skiing: there are wide blue slopes with small elevation changes, and rather extreme red and black slopes. It will be equally comfortable for both beginners and experienced skaters. An important advantage of El over Che is modern lifts: not so long ago, a new line of high-speed gondola was opened here. Cost for 1 day 1400 RUB.
Cheget (or Che) is a place for professional athletes, it is better for beginners not to meddle here. Here is one of the most difficult tracks in the world, and the famous Cheget hillocks have become a kind of test of the level of skiing. If you resist them, consider yourself an ace. No, don’t go to Cheget. There are no reusable ski passes for several days for local ski lifts, there is a subscription for the day – 1400 RUB and a one-time sightseeing lift for 550/600 RUB.
What to bring
Terskol (as well as Elbrus in general) souvenirs are very useful knitted things made of goat down, much less useful felt hats, and it is not known whether they are useful, but tasty dried lamb and smoked cheese. As something of this kind, you can bring the horns of the tour, the horseshoe of a horse or a dagger. Sweet tooth should pay attention to halva, honey or herbs for long winter tea gatherings. The largest selection is at the spontaneous bazaars of the Cheget and Azau glades.
If a part of the mount breaks or you just need to update your uniform, you can go to Alpindustriya, the largest sporting goods store in the entire Elbrus region. In addition to it, there are a couple of outlets in Terskol that sell both ski equipment and everything you need to climb Elbrus and for mountaineering in general.
Cafes and restaurants
There are not so many cafes in Terskol – skiers eat either on the slopes or at the hotel, but it’s hard to stay hungry. The most popular place in the village is called “Dome”, although all locals and experienced people call it simply “Turtle” – for the peculiar shape of the roof. Hearty Caucasian cuisine, a disco hall, no Wi-Fi and lunch in the region of 700-1000 RUB are its main differences.
Entertainment and attractions of Terskol
There are practically no entertainments and attractions in the village – only mountains, but what! A single monument stands under the bus station, dedicated to those who died on Elbrus during the war. Another “cult object” is the Elbrus Defense Museum, the highest mountain in the world (3500 m above sea level). Its exposition is small and not rich, but it makes an indelible impression: it is difficult to imagine these peaceful and serene slopes full of enemy units of the Nazis.
Near Terskol and in it you can see many mountain rivers, lakes and waterfalls. Here originates Baksan with the gorge of the same name.
Nature in the Terskol area is predictably beautiful, and those who are not particularly keen on skiing will like it here too – and not only in winter. Thanks to the specific landscape around, you can see many remarkable and rather impressive waterfalls, such as Maiden’s Braids or Terskolsky. They can be easily reached on foot in about three hours. The first waterfall is distinguished by many individual jets, thanks to which it got its name (a toponym for a purely tourist destination). The second is turbulence and a bowl in which the most frost-resistant can bathe.
There are practically no entertainments and attractions in the village – only mountains, but what!
If you move a couple of hundred meters away from the village, you can stumble upon a mineral spring of the narzan type, Achi-Su. Both locals and everyone else drink water from it with pleasure. The only “but”: it does not withstand storage.
Those who intend to go mountain climbing are required to register with the control and rescue service of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, which is based in Terskol.
In terms of infrastructure, this is perhaps the most developed camp site in the area. There is a sauna, outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball and volleyball courts, a gym; hold movie screenings, discos, concerts and other entertainment events.
The climate of Terskol is mountainous and temperate. Winter is usually quite comfortable, with a lot of snow. The only downside is the strong dry wind blowing from October to May. Its speed can reach 25-30 m/s.