RUSSIANS cast off the gloom from the looming Cold War with the West with a record-breaking bid in swimwear.
Some 1,525 revellers stripped to bikinis and bathing shorts despite temperatures of only 5C in the spring sunshine of the Siberian resort of Sheregesh.
Skiers and snowboarders marked the end of the winter season by beating their own previous Russian record for a ‘near naked descent’.
One participant Rodion Kirpichikov, said: “Emotions are overflowing. Â The sun is like Thailand, the snow is like the Alps, the party is like Ibiza.”
The resort is in the same region – Kemerovo – of last month’s appalling shopping mall fire which killed at least 64.
And much recent news out of Russia – including the bitter conflict with the West over nerve agents in Salisbury and Syria as well as an economy on the brink – has been miserable but the participants found the fun in the cool spring sun.
One, Kristina Tikhomirova,Â said: âI was told that Siberian women are the craziestÂ and most fearless and they are completely right.Â It was an explosive day.
âThe weather was super, the people are cheerful, so, if you were not here, you lost a lot!â
Irina Komarova said:Â âThereâs an carefree atmosphere of overwhelming joy so much that you donât want to return to usual thingsâ¦.there are no prohibitions.â
People came from around the world – including Uganda, Canada and Sweden – for the annual event.
âWearing bikinis and bathing shorts a total of 1,525 claimed a new Russian record for the daring downhill escapade,â reported The Siberian Times.
Last year 1,496 took part in the so-called GrelkaFest highlight closing the ski season.
Stanislav Konenko, editor of the Russian Book of Records, confirmed the achievement.
âThis is the coolest record,â he said. âIt’s very pleasant to be here, always a really positive atmosphere. Preparation for the record is always at a high level.
âThere were no gross violations of the rules for setting the record. All the issues were resolved on the spot.ââ
Sheregesh, in Kemerovo region, is Siberia’s most developed downhill skiing resort, located in the Gornaia Shoria region of the Altai mountain range.
Originally constructed as a mining settlement, in Stalinist times there was a local Gulag nearby. Its 12,000 inmates built the local railway line.