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Ural Mountains, the official divide between Europe and Asia, and between the Original Russia and Siberia, are huge. Even its Northern-most continental ranges, rising above undulating coastal tundra, stretch hundreds miles under the collective name of Arctic, or Polyarny, Ural (there are also hundreds more miles of mountain chains continuing further North over the archipelago of Novaya Zemlya).
Due to its mineral riches, Arctic Ural has been "relatively" accessible for a long time. It has longer snow season than most of the mountains of European Arctics, and the weather is a bit more stable there too, due to a greater distance from the moist winds of the North Atlantic.
That's why we developed a tradition of early- and late-season ski backpacks in the Arctic Ural. I first skied there twice in the early 80s in the crew of Olga Mazurenko, the famed Great Witch of the Tundra who always kept her trademark little broom sticking out of her backpack. In the late 80s I led four trips of my own all across the range. There is a lot to tell about these mountains' geography, history, and conditions, but for the time being, let me just share a few pictures.
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