Oleg Tinkov, the Russian banking billionaire, is offering his brand new superyacht as the base for what could be the most adventurous and extravagant ski holidays ever devised.

The son of a Siberian coal miner, Tinkov, 52, is a former competitive cyclist who made a fortune selling everything from dumplings to electronics and founded Russia’s biggest online bank.

He already rents out his collection of holiday homes, each devoted to one his favourite sports and all called La Datcha. They include lavish ski chalets in Courchevel and Val Thorens, a fishing lodge in the Volga delta, a villa in Baja California for offshore fishing and water sports, and a Tuscan palazzo designed as a base for road biking (Tinkov is also the former owner of a Tour de France winning cycling team, with whom he liked to ride out on training runs).

The latest La Datcha is a 77-metre, six-deck yacht, equipped to carry a dozen guests in utmost luxury but also in safety to the furthest corners of the planet, including the polar regions. Created by the Dutch shipbuilder Damen Yachting, the so-called “expedition yacht” can be self-sufficient for 40 days without docking, has a strengthened “ice class” hull, and a crew of 25.

Hidden below deck are a submersible, various jetskis and tenders, two snowmobiles and a fully equipped hangar containing two helicopters. Having a second aircraft gives a back-up and rescue capability, enabling guests to go heli-skiing in extremely remote places. The yacht is due to sail Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula and Kuril Islands between April and June 2021, offering the chance to descend volcanic slopes that have never been skied before. In December 2021 and January 2022, it will head south to offer skiing in Antarctica.

“Skiing a run in perfect powder is an amazing feeling but if you take that run and put it on a smoking volcanic island in the middle of the ocean, it takes skiing to an entirely different level,” says James Morland, the founder of Elemental Adventure, a specialist heli-ski tour operator that has run pioneering trips to the Kuril Islands since 2016. It is offering heli-ski trips on La Datcha for 12 people from €1m per week.

Tinkov himself is unlikely to be able to enjoy the yacht in the near future. He is currently in London being treated for leukaemia while also fighting extradition to the US on charges that he under-reported his assets to tax authorities. At a hearing last week the case was adjourned until March because of Tinkov’s ill health.


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