If you like Hockey then Omsk is an excellent place. At the end of 2004 Avangard became the national champions in Russia.
Russian hockey is a bit slower as the rings are larger. This is soon to change as they want to become more competitive internationally.
Omsk has the highest paid team in all of Russia. As of 2005 during the NHL freeze out many American players went to Russia and Omsk because they pay more than the NHL.
Avangard's current team captain is an American from the New York Rangers.
Equipment: Hockey is popular among the youth in Russia. If you had a desire to buy equipment i'm sure someone could help you find a place where the equipment is sold.
Garatke is a sport that is very popular in Omsk, although I never heard of it until we were there. Vladimir is an incredible player, he has won many regional awards for playing. The sport is odd to me. The player holds a long, heavy stick, which he throws at a set of smaller sticks about 20 feet away. It is done outside on special garatke “fields”. The smaller sticks are set up in different designs, which all have names like “airplane”. It is kind of like bowling, but with a big stick instead of a ball that is thrown instead of rolled…make sense?
Anyway, on both of my visits I went to Red Star Stadium to play with Vladimir. I was really bad at first, but as got the feel of the stick I got much better.
Equipment: A big stick and a bunch of little sticks...and teh garatke field.
Just outside of the city there are some decent fresh water lakes for fishing.
One evening Vladimir got a call from a friend that he was thinking about going fishing the next morning. I was invited along, and what a trip that was! We went by car, on roads that had more potholes than asphalt, down near the Kazhakstan border. It was extremely rural, but a nice fishing spot they felt comfortable at.
One funny side note, while we were fishing this huge herd of cows walked by and began grazing right around our car. eventually they moved on, but it was quite a strange site, as these were the first livings thing we saw that day besides fish and birds.
It was a very productive fishing day. I started on the banks of the lake, and only caught about 6 fish in four hours. But, after I got in the raft in the afternoon (see picture) things really began picking up. In the end, I caught 26 fish, mostly small, but one that was about a foot long (well, maybe not a foot long, but it was pretty big).
Even though we got home late at night, we still had quite the fish feast. Nina got the crappy job of gutting the fish, I just watched...thankfully. We had pan fried fish, beer, and pickled vegetables.
Equipment: You better have your own, all you need is a stick, line, bobber, and hook...and of course bait.
Run every January on Xmas day. Record low of -40!
Equipment: Lots of wicking layers, windproof top. Icebug shoes if you can but normal trail shoes OK