Mongolia’s new snow and ice festival sets Guinness World Record


Mongolia in winter:
 The inaugural Mazaalai International Snow and Ice Festival is taking place just outside Monglia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, until the end of January.

<strong>Cool runnings: </strong>Festival attractions include 16.4-meter-long ice slide.
<strong>Guinness World Record: </strong>Though it's only been open for a few days, government officials say the festival already set a Guinness World Record -- most people to descend an ice slide in one hour.
<strong>Thrill with a chill:</strong> Officials say 408 attendees helped secure the record, all whooshing down the ice slide, one after the other.
<strong>Protected bear: </strong>A five-meter-high sculpture of the country's protected Gobi bear (Mazaalai in Mongolian) and her cubs was carved to raise awareness of the critically endangered animal.
<strong>Sky Resort: </strong>The free festival is taking place at Mongolia's Sky Resort, a year-round golf and ski resort on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar.
<strong>Ice skating: </strong>Other festival attractions include a 56.4-meter-long snow and ice sculpture with a large ice skating rink.
<strong>Night lights: </strong>At night, the festival's carvings come alive with light.
<strong>Dwindling numbers: </strong>In addition to the main sculpture, a further 52 ice bear statues were created to represent the 52 Gobi bears that remain in the wild.
<strong>Let it snow: </strong>The free event "marks a major milestone in the development of Mongolia's winter tourism sector," Mongolia Culture Minister Nomin Chinbat said in a statement.
<strong>Mongolia in winter:</strong> The inaugural Mazaalai International Snow and Ice Festival is taking place just outside Monglia's capital, Ulaanbaatar, until the end of January.
<strong>Cool runnings: </strong>Festival attractions include 16.4-meter-long ice slide.
Mongolia’s snow and ice festival (Photos)

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Famed for its beautiful open spaces, lush green valleys and traditional nomadic culture, Mongolia has long been considered a destination best visited in the summer months.

However a new event has been launched to lure international travelers in search of an authentic Mongolian winter experience.

The inaugural Mazaalai International Snow and Ice Festival, which kicked off on January 14, takes place till January 28 at Sky Resort, a golf and ski resort on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar.

The free event marks a major milestone in the development of Mongolia’s winter tourism sector,” Mongolia Culture Minister Nomin Chinbat said in a statement.

“Over the next two weeks, visitors will be captivated by our winter landscapes and the beauty of the sculptures on display, and I hope many more from around the world will be inspired to visit our country during the winter season.”

Though it’s only been open for a few days, the event reportedly already set a Guinness World Record – most people to descend an ice slide in one hour.

As part of the opening festivities, 408 attendees helped secure the win by whooshing down the festival’s 16.4-meter-long ice slide, one after the other. Photos of the event show a Guinness official on hand to witness the successful attempt.

Other attractions at the festival include a five-meter-high snow and ice sculpture of the country’s protected Gobi bear (Mazaalai in Mongolian) and her cubs, aimed at raising awareness of the critically endangered animal.

A further 52 ice Mazaalai statues were erected at the festival to represent the 52 Gobi bears that remain in the wild.

The festival includes 52 ice sculptures that were carved in the form of the country's endangered Gobi bears.

The festival includes 52 ice sculptures that were carved in the form of the country’s endangered Gobi bears.

There’s also a 56.4-meter-long snow and ice sculpture with a large ice skating rink.

On January 17, the festival hosted the Mazaalai International Ice Competition, featuring 24 artists from six countries including China, Thailand, France, Russia, the US and Mongolia.

Mongolia: A destination for all seasons?

There’s a reason visiting Mongolia in winter might not appeal to everyone – capital Ulaanbaatar is widely considered one of the world’s coldest cities, with temperatures in January averaging anywhere from minus 15 to minus 30 degrees Celsius (5 to -22F). Temperatures can get much colder in the country’s northern region.

Meanwhile, flights to some remote areas of the country don’t operate in the winter months.

But visiting this time of year has its advantages, including cheaper hotel/tour rates and those dramatic snow-covered landscapes. The country hosts a variety of unique winter events, including the annual Khuvsgul Lake Ice Festival, which takes place on Mongolia’s largest lake in early March.

Culture Minister Chinbat said the new Mazaalai International Snow and Ice Festival is part of the government’s goal to welcome one million international tourists per year to Mongolia. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, Mongolia received 637,000 international travelers according to the World Bank.

The country has already taken several measures as part of its goal to hit that seven-figure digit, including expanding its list of countries from which citizens can visit Mongolia without a visa, a policy that will be in place through the end of 2025.

Meanwhile, talks to launch direct flights between Mongolia and the United States this year are reportedly underway.https://gunakanlah.com

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