Arslanbob is the best-known place for ski touring in Kyrgyzstan. What makes Arslanbob unique is the village homestay experience, which is well-developed, and something you don’t get backcountry skiing elsewhere in Kyrgyzstan. The powder is great, the slopes are untouched beauties.
There is a big variety of routes in terms of elevation and steepness, making this the best place for beginning freeriders. You can ski through the walnut forest or on the steeper slopes of the mountains, in gorges or across farm land. Getting to the slopes can also involve horses (this is Kyrgyzstan after all).
To ski here, you must be reasonably fit and comfortable touring for long distances with your own backcountry equipment behind your shoulders – and be ready to winter camp. Ascents are from 500 to 1500 m in vertical gain, maximum elevations circle around 3,800m. In principle, the season runs from November to April, but top powder season is January – March.
Ski gear is available for rent in Arslanbob if you did not bring your own, but gear junkies will be pouting at the second-hand skis on offer. To ski here, you can contact the local tour company CBT Arslanbob, or go with an outside tour operator (get our recommendations), for higher service levels and an all-in-one approach (own transport, gear, food, guides, base camps, …).
Skiing in Arslanbob has gotten some good press in the past few years, and more tourists are coming, but that doesn’t mean people are crowding the slopes. You are still likely to be the only one trudging up the snow pack.
- A good wrap-up of a few days skiing with CBT in 2012
- Another ski report from the Jaz Jarym shepherd’s hut in 2012
- Horse skiing some easy slopes
All of these show some of the great powder, friendly people and empty slopes of Arslanbob.