Elik-Sai is the powder heaven you have been dreaming about. Close to Almaty, this ski shack has 4 T-bar ski lifts made in Kyrgyzstan, but without too many manicured slopes. No crowds, some basic prepared runs for beginners, and going up, 45-degree tree runs, pillow lines, lots of untouched pow and a direct link to the backcountry peaks of the Trans-Ili Alatau for splitboarders and ski hikers. As a freerider, you will find kindred spirits gathered here.
To make arrangements and find out if the lifts are working, try the following telephone numbers.
- Pavel: +7 777 586 45 58
- Anatoly: +7 705 226 09 81
- Dmitry: + 7 777 353 43 55
- Ivan (ski instructor): +7 777 177 19 69, +7 707 177 19 69
4 T-bar lifts run along several slopes.
- A 350 m training slope
- A gentle 450m descent for beginners.
- A narrow, unprepared, dark red 600m unprepared slope
- 350m and 500m real black stuff at 45 degree angle
And there is more! You can stay overnight for 2500 tenge per person. The shack has a stove, running water, a fully-equipped banya and an outside toilet. There is a kitchen and dining area with pots and pans and a gas-stove.
Price for the cable car is 2500 tenge for a day of skiing from 10 to 17:00. Ski rental: approximately 2500 tenge.
Adored by the kindergarten crowd, a snowtubing trail runs all weekends and holidays. Even night skiing is possible on appointment. You can learn how to ski here as well, but I would suggest other places for that. Elik-Sai is for enthusiasts. More pictures can be found here.
Elik-Sai lies hidden behind the Almatau (now Pioneer) ski base. Have a look on our map for a general idea of where it is (about 40 minutes out of Almaty), then check the aforementioned photoreportage for a detailed map. Take the red road to go up, the blue road to go down. The last bit is 4WD only, and keep a snow shovel in the back. If you do not have a 4WD, park your car on the basketball court of Almatau and do the last 400m on foot.
If you do not have a car, taxi drivers will usually only go as far as Besqaynar village, so the last bit to Almatau needs to be negotiated separately.