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Cat Ski Kyrgyzstan

An incredible powder paradise is waiting for you in the eastern Tian Shan Mountains. Cat ski Kyrgyzstan is done with one of our Pistenbullys. These machines normally prepare slopes, but we use the cats to take you to the most challenging off-piste slopes. You sit comfortably in our handmade cabin. The driver drives you to the most beautiful peaks. Once at the top you will draw fresh lines with a local guide. All day long

As always we are predominantly working with local partners and local guides. As a non profit tour agency we are supporting tourism in developing countries. That means that you will have a local experience and that locals have a decent income. Moreover do we help foster local initiatives to grow (winter)tourism.


After arriving at Bishkek airport, we will take you via the north coast of Lake Issyk Kul to Karakol. The city of Karakol is the hub of freeriding in Central Asia. The gigantic Issyk Kul lake creates a micro-climate with considerably more snowfall than elsewhere in the region. At the beginning of the afternoon we arrive in the fourth city of Kyrgyzstan. We can acclimatize in Karakol. Walk around the city, visit the bazar and do the last groceries.

Then we continue for the last stretch to Jyrgalan, 60 km further east. The further east, the more precipitation. That's why we do cat skiing in the eastern village of Jyrgalan. The powder paradise of the country.

We quickly check in at our guesthouse and get ready for the first day of cat skiing. We go through the safety procedure and check your equipment. Then we enter the cat for the first drops. We have marked several routes for the Pistenbully. Via these routes the cat reaches an altitude of 3400 meters. The descents go down till the village of Jyrgalan at 2300 meters. Your legs will be seriously challenged.


The old mining village of Jyrgalan used to smell like coal. Jyrgalan used to be the site of extensive mining during the Soviet Union. Today the industry has disappeared and the huge snowfields are left behind. Together with Destination Jyrgalan, we are bringing new life into the region. The village has rapidly developed into a tourist center in eastern Kyrgyzstan. Local guesthouses and yurt camps have been built. Moreover, there is a real tourism office with an apres ski bar (called Buchenwagen). Our cats leave from the village. You drive between the cows and sheep to the first slopes. It will be a true adventure.

Horse Kyrgyzstan


Nearly 10,000 hectares of terrain is available. This varies from mellow tree runs to faces of 40+ degrees. In the morning we decide where to go. Assume that you can do at least 6-8 runs with 4000-6000 meters of verticla each day. We mainly focus on the northern slopes of the Gora Tavlytor. This peak of 3652 meters provides the necessary shelter. The cat reaches an altitude of 3300-3400 meters so snow is guaranteed.

At an altitude of 2500 meters we have built an ice bar where we usually have lunch. From here you have an amazing view over the foothills of the Tien Shan mountains. On a clear day you can even see Kazakhstan. The icebar is centrally located in the cat ski area, it is an ideal place to recharge.

Ice Bar Kyrgyzstan
Ice Bar in Jyrgalan

On bad weather days we usually stay below 2900 meters. Here is the tree line of this region. We have marked several tree runs and can even descend to the village of Jyrgalan. There haven't been days when the cats couldn't drive.

Snow Cat / Pistenbully

At the moment our fleet consists of two Pistenbullys. These German powerhouses plow with wide caterpillar (cat) tracks. Since 2018 we use a Pistenbully 300 Polar and rom 2022, a Pistenbully 600 has been added. Both have a cabin for 12-16 people. You get in at the back with a handmade staircase. The skis and snowboards are placed in boxes on the side. Sometimes we have to cover more than 1000 meters vertical. That is why we do everything we can to make you sit as comfortably as possible.

For the Wizkids among us: the Pistenbully has 461 HP and a maximum speed of 25 km per hour. This is the best snow cat for the conditions in Kyrgyzstan.

Pistenbully Kirgizie
Pistenbully in Kyrgyzstan


We stay at the Ala Kul guesthouse in Jyrgalan. This cozy guesthouse is run by a local Kyrgyz family. They provide meals and entertainment. The twin/triple rooms have their own modern bathroom and are fully equipped.

We have built a yurt camp at our freeride base.These felt tents are the traditional homes of the Kyrgyz nomads. A yurt consists of a wooden frame with a round opening in the roof (the tunduk). You can even find this tunduk in the Kyrgyz flag. We have adapted the yurts to the winter temperatures. This means that there is a protective layer and that there is a heater inside. Next to the yurt camp is a Russian sauna tent for you to relax after an intensive day on the mountain. When available, you can spend a night in a yurt. There are usually 8 sleeping places per yurt.


We have a fantastic group of freeriders on site. Roman Nasyrov is the driver of the Pistenbully. Aleksey Balabyn is the lead guide during the descents. The tail guides are Maksat Aitkulov, Vasily Nemchenko and Vadim Karaulykh.

All guides know the mountains like no other. They all have their diplomas from the KMGA Guide School in Karakol. This means that they have the necessary certificates in avalanche science, mountaineering, first aid and knowledge of snow composition. Due to the current political and financial situation, they do not have IFMGA certified diplomas yet.

The après ski bar (Buchenwagen) is run by our friends Vasily Bazhinov and Kostich Kulakov. Here you are always welcome to enjoy a drink after a long day in the snow.


Electricity is available everywhere. The plugs are the same as in Europe (220V and 50Hz). Wi-Fi is available in the guesthouse. You can also choose to purchase a local SIM card. The range even extends to the cat ski terrain.


The Kyrgyz cuisine is a really tasty mix of Turkish, Chinese and Russian influences. Usually we will have bread, eggs and/or porridge for breakfast and a lunch on the mountains. After an intense day skiing we will prepare meals like Kurdak (beef and potatoes), Laghman (noodles and vegetables in spicy sauce), Plov (rice with meat and carrot), Borscht (beet soup), Ashlan Fu (rice and vegetables in spicy sauce), Beshbarmak, Mante (dumplings) and all kinds of salads


In the guesthouse you have access to modern bathroom and toilets. At the yurt camp we have long-drop toilets and on the mountain we have an improvised toilet. You can always find a wild tree for stone, of course.


The biggest treat in our yurt camp in the Russian style banya. This very hot sauna tent is located next to the yurts. Temperatures can reach 90 degrees so it will be quite refreshing to have a dip in the snow afterwards. Traditionally the Russian sauna is a ritual of at least 5 sessions of 10-12 minutes and only after the 4th or 5th time you are ‘allowed’ to cool down in the snow.


We can arrange transportation from any place in Kyrgyzstan or Southern Kazakhstan. The ride from Bishkek International Airport Manas will take about 5-6 hours. From Karakol it’s a 1 hour drive and from Almaty it will take 5-6 hours as well. Please let us know if you want to be picked up in Almaty. This transfer is not included in the price


We run several standard tours per season. But you can always contact us for customized cat skiing tours We apply a minimum of 3 cat skiing days and a minimum group size of 6.

Cat Ski Kyrgyzstan for you?

  • Adventurers looking for something different than the Alps
  • Experienced skiers/snowboarders with freeride equipment (ABS, beacon, probe, shovel)
  • Powder and first tracks lovers


  • Transfer Bishkek – Karakol and vv
  • 6 nights in Ala Kul guesthouse Jyrgalan
  • 1 night in Olive Hotel Bishkek
  • All meals and drinks during these meals (3x daily)
  • City Tour Bishkek
  • English speaking guide during the entire tour
  • Local KMGA guides
  • 5 days of cat skiing Jyrgalan
  • Shovel, probe and beeper
  • Visit to Fairy tale valley
  • Farewell dinner in Bishkek
  • Local taxes


  • Flights
  • Meals and drinks not included in the 3 daily meals
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Tips and souvenirs
  • Freeride ski/snowboard rent (€150 per week)
  • Insurance
  • Avalanche airbag

Cat ski Kyrgyzstan

  • 8 days Cat Ski Kyrgyzstan
  • Full board, excl. flights
  • Hot Springs & Ice cold rivers
  • 5 days cat skiing
  • Bishkek and Jyrgalan
  • Powder, powder, powder
  1. L. Nemeth:

    Unbelievable cat skiing trip to Kyrgzstan! I was a little nervous at first, but the team at Ryce took care of me every moment of my trip. When I arrived to Karakol, I was whisked off to a beautiful yurt camp in Jyrgalan, the freeride capital of the region. The guides were incredibly experienced, something you cannot overlook when skiing in the back country, and always put safety first. My second day of cat skiing we had over a foot of fresh powder which, on top of the powder already in the slopes, meant it was waste deep in some areas.
    I would recommend this trip to anyone looking for some amazing skiing in central Asia. Though pack your sense of adventure, because Kyrgzstan is very different from the Swiss Alps! But if you are looking for a unique, once in a lifetime ski adventure, this is definitely for you.

  2. Mikhael:

    Jyrgaland is my new hotspot for cat skiing

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