Climatologists believe that winter begins when the average daily air temperature passes through zero degrees Celsius in the direction of lowering. In Russia, this time varies depending on the region: the earliest beginning of winter is observed at the end of September (Yakutia), the latest – at the beginning of January (Krasnodar Territory). In the middle zone, the average daily temperature transitions through zero usually occurs in the second half of November.
There are a lot of exciting things people can enjoy in Russia during winter. Starting from a long list of events and festivals to skiing and exploring the nature. One of the places people usually visit during winter in the country is Listvyanka.
Listvyanka is located on the right side of the source of the Angara River and stretches northwest along Lake Baikal (Listvennichny Bay) for 5 km. In Listvyanka, several streams and rivers flow into Lake Baikal, the largest of them is Krestovka.
Despite the fact that Irkutsk is located only 65 km from Listvyanka, the climate of these two points is different. In Listvyanka, it has the features of the sea, although officially it is considered sharply continental. The huge water masses of Lake Baikal in the summer warm up to a depth of 200-250 meters and, like an accumulator, accumulate a large amount of heat. Therefore, winter in Listvyanka is much milder and summers are cooler than in Irkutsk, Ulan-Ude and other Siberian cities. It is also colder in spring and warmer in autumn.
What to Do in Listvyanka During the Winter
We can divide winter in Listvyanka into three stages, starting from January. This is due to the different temperature can affect the surface of the water which means also affect the things you can do around the place for fun.
Third Decade of January
In December and early January, Lake Baikal is not yet covered in ice. You can see what Listvyanka looks like in December here. After about Epiphany frosts, Baikal freezes completely, while the source of the Angara remains unfrozen. The ice line runs around the Baikal port. And the length of this section is 15-20 km. The ice of Larch Bay at the end of January is only just melting. Therefore, the safest movement on ice is the Khivus hovercraft amphibious boat. You can just go for a drive, or you can book an excursion, for example, to Peschanaya Bay, or along the southern shore, repeating the Circum-Baikal Railway on ice. Other destinations are also available.
February and Beginning of March
In February and early March, the strongest ice forms. And, of course, the main entertainment is walking on the ice of Lake Baikal. If the winter is very snowy, the ice is clean and only a small layer of snow accumulates near the coast. It’s good to skate on such ice. But walking could be hard and very slippery. Therefore, it is advised for you to bring sticks for Nordic walking. With such assistants, long walks will be a joy. We also advise you to bring sunglasses with you to protect your vision from the strong glare that would get your eyes uncomfortable.
The ice on the bay is very different. On some spots very smooth, even and very transparent, other spots cloudy or whitish. Near the shore, it is more worn out and scratched by skates, sleds and what else is unknown. The farther from the coast, the cleaner the ice. Bubbles look very unusual and very beautiful under the layer of the ice. And here, oddly enough, one does not have to travel far, just walk along the coast of Larch Cape to see this beauty. Small cracks on a very smooth surface make the ice look like marble.
In February, hummocks form along the Listvyanka banks – a pile of ice fragments. They are formed due to warming, when the temperature gaps cease to fulfill their function. At that time, on Baikal, ice is not only the strongest, but also the most beautiful and the most transparent. Therefore, beautiful photos and pleasant memories of a wonderful Siberian winter will be provided to you.
In addition to exclusively natural beauties, in Listvyanka you can see man-made structures made of ice. Various pyramids from the wreckage and real sculptures on the ice of Lake Baikal, built annually, are very popular among guests. These days on Baikal are especially crowded. Every year various festivals dedicated to winter Baikal are held. In 2019, about 20 events were held.
Don’t miss to try dog-sledding, snowmobiling and Khivus riding on the ice of Lake Baikal. At this time, all possible entertainments are available, including sports related to ice, because at this time it is the most durable time of the year for such events. Khivuses, snowmobiles, dog-sleds, skates and booers will allow you to appreciate the scale and beauty of winter Baikal.
In Listvyanka, you can have a great time combining a meeting with Baikal and a meeting with your best four-legged friends – dogs. Dog sledding is very interesting and fun. Charming husky and swift mestizo will ride you with a breeze. All those who can ride, want to learn, or at least try, should wait for local horses. Horse riding and training are usually packed in a one-day horseback riding or multi-day trips.
End of March
At the end of March, the ice on Lake Baikal begins to melt and becomes brittle. Thinner autumn ice is safer than thicker spring ice. It is the time to get off of the surface of the water and start strolling around trying Listvyanka local food and see the beautiful nature of the region covered in snow.