Skiing Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan without a tour

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mpkz
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Skiing Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan without a tour

Post by mpkz »

I'm planning on take a trip this December/January to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan and I'd like to get some skiing done (though it would not be a ski trip and I would use rental equiptment). I'm not a big fan of organized tours nor do I have the money for stuff like backcountry or heliskiing, so I was wondering about DIY skiing.

It seems that at least in Kazakhstan you have very big resorts with fairly modern looking (from pictures) facilities that are within a day's drive of Almaty so that's fine, though if anyone has any recommendations for a good place and a cheap way to get there I'm all ears. I'd likely be spending 2/3 days if the trail maps I've seen online are accurate.

What I'm more concerned about is Kyrgyzstan. There are a number of ski resorts listed on Wikipedia and elsewhere as being in the country, but are these places where I could rent skis / stay the night? Any idea on the best way to reach these from Bishkek or Karakol?

Thanks in advance.
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steven
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Re: Skiing Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan without a tour

Post by steven »

Hi,

skiing in Almaty is very easy, you can just take the bus to the ski resort from the City centre. http://city.caravanistan.com/almaty/skiing/

For Kyrgyzstan: in Karakol ski rent is not a problem, and there are lots of homestays. Still Need to write an article about it, tho, but rest assured that there is also a ski industry. DIY ski touring in KG is another option, see http://caravanistan.com/trip-reports/sk ... g-karakol/
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mpkz
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Re: Skiing Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan without a tour

Post by mpkz »

Thanks, I knew Kazakhstan would be fairly straightforward so I'll just try to figure Kyrgyzstan out
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SLioy
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Re: Skiing Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan without a tour

Post by SLioy »

To expand on Steven's answer:

Karakol is meant to be the nicest, though definitely not the cheapest, of the Kyrgyz options. There is accommodation at the ski resort, or you can stay in town and arrange a car to take you up and back each day.

Closer to Bishkek, these seem to be the top three: Too-Ashuu, ZiL, and Orlovka. I know the first two offer accommodation and equipment rental, and I believe Orlovka does but I don't know for sure. The sticking point is public transport, which basically doesn't exist to get to them directly. You can hire a taxi or car (I know http://ihn.kg/I offers trips out there), and the Trekking Union http://www.tuk.kg/index.php?lang=english runs excursions to all three at various times that you could tag along on as well.
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Re: Skiing Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan without a tour

Post by mpkz »

Thanks! I guess I'll aim for Karakol then
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Re: Skiing Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan without a tour

Post by mpkz »

Ok, might as well provide whatever info I managed to collect on my trip (admittedly not a lot)

1) Karakol Ski Base - really easy to get there from Karakol town. Most guesthouses can arrange transport, and there are jeeps leaving from the center of town. There is a good tripadvisor review with up to date prices, but it should be 600-700 som one way to rent an entire car, scale down the price as appropriate if you want to share, add a little bit if you want the car to pick you up from the guest house. You can arrange transport both ways.

Warning: the road there is not the best, and I saw many two crashes on the way up. Look for a 4wd car.

Rental equipment there is quite good, but warning: the only things you can rent are skis, poles and boots or boots and a board. Prices range from 600 som/day for 8 year old equipment to 1000 som for new equipment. No English spoken, and to repeat, there are no skiing clothes, helmets or goggles available for rental.

There are two restaurants, one is a cafe at the admin office at the bottom and the other is a restaurant at Kapriz Hotel. Can't comment on the hotel restaurant, but the cafe was decent and had Western toilets (so happy to have found them as they were the only ones I found in Karakol).

I didn't try skiing near Bishkek but the Kyrgyzstan Trekking Union had a lot of outings planned, so good call with that.

2) Didn't end up skiing in Almaty due to general busyness with meeting new people, but I will add that in the village of Tekeli about 400km from Almaty there is a ski resort "being built" (no lifts or signs of construction though), but the hills looked ready and I saw two cars full of people go there for skiing, they didn't have a guide. So that's an option for the extremely adventurous who have their own 4wd transport (i.e. it's not really going to be an option for anyone here :P)
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Edwin
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Re: Skiing Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan without a tour

Post by Edwin »

I was really impressed with Shymbulak near Almaty. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to ski because I visited in the summer. However, we took the lift to the top and did some extensive hiking around. From the looks of things I would love to go skiing there in the winter. The slopes are long and steep plus I suggest hiking up the nearby ridges if you are inclined to go off piste. The whole terrain there looked fantastic.
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ReadyToGo
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Re: Skiing Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan without a tour

Post by ReadyToGo »

Hi,

is there any skiing place where not only boards and boots are rented, but also the clothes, helmet, gloves and goggles?

I will be travelling in December but no with my sky equipment, despite that I would like to scape a couple of days to sky....
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steven
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Re: Skiing Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan without a tour

Post by steven »

From: http://caravanistan.com/things-to-do/sk ... shymbulak/

You can also rent out ski clothes at Shymbulak. Depending on what you need, it will cost you 2000-5000 tenge. Lockers cost 500 tenge per day with a 2000 tenge deposit.

AFAIK, they are the only ones renting it out, but there might be others too. Give them a ring before you go to ask what exactly they have. I haven't had any reports on the quality of their rentals so a report is very welcome!
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Re: Skiing Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan without a tour

Post by Edwin »

I recently finished a couple of blog posts that cover both Shymbulak in Kazakhstan and also Ala Archa National Park in Kyrgyzstan. They are both in the summer but there are lots of photos and also HD video to give you an idea of the terrain.

The first one is in Kyrgyzstan. I visited Ala Archa for the day and hiked into the Ak Sai glacier basin. It is the base camp area for Mt Free Korea and Mt Korona. I have photos and HD video in the basin and also on the trail going up there. I believe there was supposed to be an old ski area up the Ala Archa Valley although I didn't go that way on this trip. http://www.globaltravelpress.com/2016/1 ... ier-basin/ The terrain here is amazing.

The second post is Shymbulak Kazakhstan. We took the lift to the top then instead of going towards the glacier we went the other way up the ridge line to the peak there. I think it is called Shymbulak Peak, where we ended up climbing. There is photos and also HD video in this post also. http://www.globaltravelpress.com/2016/1 ... adventure/
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