In the centre of Karakol, in eastern Kyrgyzstan, the Ryce Ski Rental opened in 2015. Together with his staff, Maksat Aitkulov has created a fantastic store with second-hand material from the Netherlands, France and Austria.
Ski rental Kyrgyzstan
In 2012, Peter Hofman came in contact with Maksat Aitkulov. A mountain guide graduate of tourism school, Maksat was eager to start a full-fledged ski rental business. He was renting out old equipment from a shipping container at the time. Ryce Travel Foundation has purchased equipment, and we try to improve the quality together every year. For example, many snowboards were added this year and some freeride skis.
With the help, we are trying to improve the safety of skis and snowboards. In addition to providing materials, we also offer tips on maintenance. Maksat visited the Netherlands in 2015, and Jan Willem van Dijken of the Herqua winter sports store in Hoogeveen explained waxing and sharpening.
Today, maintenance is performed more frequently, and Maksat has access to professional (hand) grinders and wax. Last season, unfortunately, there was not enough wax present. The local solution: candle wax. Thus, it is still occasionally struggling, but fortunately, there is an upward trend in the quality of the material.
They also opened a second small ski rental to enable local people to ski as well. At this branch, rental prices are a lot lower. In addition, the local ski school can rent equipment here for free. Thus, we can enable more people to learn the sport of skiing. It is, therefore, a significant boost to see that the number of local students has increased tremendously.