At the end of 2016, Russia’s Ministry of Sport officially recognized snow volleyball as a sport.
A month after it was recognized, the first official snow volleyball competition was organized in Saint Petersburg, in conjunction with the celebrations for the Orthodox Christmas. This is the 12th time that the event has taken place, but this time it is the first under the new status of ‘official sport’. The event was supported by the Russian Volleyball Federation, the North-West Russian Volleyball Association and the local Sports Committee.
During the event, which spanned over six courts, 48 teams from Saint Petersburg and from a region of Moscowed performed at Sestroretsk beach. The location previously hosted a number of beach volleyball tournaments, including a stop for the the annual EEVZA Beach Volleyball Tour.
The events weather was not ideal, with temperatures falling below -25°C and not much snow. Despite the weather, over 150 players of all ages participated, with fans in attendance to cheer on the participants.
On the men’s side of the tournament, Pavel Rakusov/Sergey Nolandt (Moscow Region) took first place at the event, with Marina Postolakiy/Ekaterina Lomako (Saint Petersburg) took gold.
Snow volleyball is a rapidly growing sport, with the second edition of a European Tour set to take place in 2017. There are expected to be at lead six stops – Czech Republic, Switzerland, Slovenia, Austria, Liechtenstein and Italy. Recently, Iran has been in the talks of hosting their own snow volleyball tournament at Dizin Ski Resorts in February.