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Developing sustainable ski tourism in Central Asia

Situated at the foothills of the Himalayas, Central Asia is filled with pristine mountain areas and fresh powdery snow. During the post-Soviet era these regions had great difficulty surviving. The bad economical situation and the privatization was beneficial for a minority of people. Prices rose and more than half of the citizens live below poverty line. Natural resources are hardly found in most places, cold winters destroy crops and bad infrastructure results in high transportation costs. We believe the economy can be stimulated differently: by sustainable tourism. Winter activities are increasingly becoming a source of income. Some countries already abolished visa obligations for several EU countries.

People start up Home Stays and Bed and Breakfasts and nowadays most visitors come from Russia and Kazakhstan. The Ryce Foundation tries to create a tourists flow from Western countries. We are supporting local businesses who want to develop sustainable ski tourism. We don’t want to establish a new Zillertal or Whistler. The most important thing is that Central Asia perserves its identity and use this to lure ski fanatics who want to experience a completely different culture/nature. We are creating a source of income for local people during the harsh winters.

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“After a few months travelling around the region we feel an obligation to do something in return. The Central Asian people have an entrepreneurial spirit, but the resources are limited – Peter Hofman, founder of the Ryce Foundation”


In 2012 we drove to Central Asia by car. Unexpectedly we were caught by the unique hospitality of the region. Despite limited resources, the people are always there for you. They share everything they have, and feel it as an obligation. After a few months travelling around the region we feel an obligation to do something in return.

What we do

In a stimulative way we are supporting local entrepreneurs in developing sustainable ski tourism. The snow conditions in Central Asia are very rich but the facilities are poor. The Ryce Foundation is promoting the region in Europe and abroad. We have supported locals to start up a ski rental shop, we are organizing ski trips, we are teaching English and avalanche awareness.

What can you do?

All help is highly appreciated. At this stage we are looking for (second hand) ski and outdoor gear to furnish the ski rentals. The current gear is outdated and the Ryce Foundation want to help locals to improve the safety standards in the rental shops. If you book a trip with us you are guarenteed that revenues will go to the local people and that we support local economies.

News & Updates

The progress of developing sustainable ski tourism in Central Asia