Facing the wind at the Festival of the North

The traditional international Festival of the North, or the Polar Olympics, held annually in Murmansk region, dates back to the 30s of the 20th century. By that time, the climate of the Polar region was no longer considered as extreme, and long winters and hills contributed to the popularity of skiing among adults and children. The first classic cross-country skiing competitions in Murmansk region were held in 1934, and athletes from 5 cities - Moscow, St. Petersburg, Murmansk, Petrozavodsk and Vologda - participated in them.

Later the Festival of the North embraced ice hockey, field hockey, reindeer sled races, ski slalom, junior competitions among schoolchildren, etc. The ski marathon was held in the region for the first time in the way familiar to us in 1974, by that time the Polar Olympics had already become an international-scale event and involved athletes from Bulgaria, Hungary, the German Democratic Republic, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Finland, the USA, South Korea and other countries.

Nowadays the competition within the main winter holiday of the Polar Region for sturdy and hardy people includes more than 13 sports such as biathlon, speed skating, snowkiting and even soccer.

We honor the traditions of the North and cherish the heritage of Murmansk region that is why we have been supporting the annual competitions as part of the Festival of the North for five years. This year we have established a special nomination for snowkiters - "The Fastest Guest", and on the final day of the festival, the First Children's Ski Marathon was held with our support, which was attended by 300 young athletes aged 5 to 9 years. To see how the Festival of the North was held this year, watch our new video.