Play on the world's largest natural ice rinkLake Baikal, Russia
Ever wondered what it feels like to walk on water? Get set for an adventure of biblical proportions as you shimmy across the surface of the world’s deepest lake on an expedition with 56th Parallel. Venturing to Lake Baikal in the depths of Siberia, you will walk, drive, slide and cartwheel across the ice. What was that cracking sound? Never fear, the one-metre-thick frozen crust will keep you dry while you peer into the icy-clear depths below.
Go in spring when the bitter cold has passed and the lake becomes the world’s largest freeway (or skate rink, if you prefer). Motor across the ice in a 4WD, killing the engine at Olkhon Island and tiny villages where you’ll stay in guesthouses, homestays and hunters’ cabins.
When you’re ready to up the adventure, go sledding, skating, snowmobiling and tubing, or strap a husky to a sleigh and tear through the forest. Complete your frozen foray with an ice raft; jump on an ice block sawn off by your crew and feast on cheese fondue, chocolate and mulled wine as you float towards the famous Shaman Rock, which separates Lake Baikal from the Angara River.
If you have the time, however, we’d suggest getting there on the Trans-Siberian Railway. It takes about four days from Moscow and tickets start at about US$190 for third-class travel.
A seven-day Lake Baikal Ice Adventure tour with 56th Parallel costs about US$2,897.
Most of the tough stuff is taken care of, but you’ll still want to watch your step as you cross the slippery ice.