This year we are heading to Kazakhstan for an amazing week of snow festivitities around the Almaty region. Don’t expect massive ski resorts, boring nightlife or Wiener Schnitzels. Get yourself ready for camels, ultra modern gondola’s, bustling nightlife, Pistenbully droppings and a valley of castles. Above all, it’s gonna be a memorable experience: Skiing in the Northern Himalayas of Kazakhstan.
You will encounter a unique world in this beautiful country. We will show you all the top-spots of the region and you’ll be amazed like we have been amazed so many times. We could offer you a clear itinerary but it could be at the expense of the adventurous nature of this trip. Hereby we publish a succinct program so you’ll have an idea what to expect. On Sunday the tour will start from the city center of Almaty. We are driving to the resort of Shymbulak, the biggest ski resort of Central Asia. This was the stage of the 2017 Winter Universiade (the Olympic Winter Games for students). The highest point is at 3200 meters and we have some really challenging runs in front of us. After diner we can chill out in the guesthouse and prepare ourselves for the rest of the week. The most interesting ski resort is Ak Bulak, which is just a one hour drive from Almaty. It’s definitely worth the commute because a brand new gondola brings us to the mid-station at 2200 meters. Gentle slopes at the lower section are perfectly suited for beginners and intermediates. The chairlift from the mid station to the top (at 2700 meters) is a walhalla for freeriders and experienced skiers. Because the entire area is ungroomed and therefor dedicated to freeriders. That’s why we are coming back here the next day. Evenings will be spend in the Karaoke bar and in a traditional Russian banya. Ski Kazakhstan to its fullest potential.
The Ak Bulak ski area has the most challenging terrain. Although the number of lifts is limited, there are many freeride options. A super fast gondola takes you from 1650 to 2050 meters in no time. From there, a two-person chair lift departs to an altitude of 2700 meters. At the top there are no groomed slopes, but everything below 2050 meters is perfectly groomed
Lesnaya Skazka (Oi Qaragai)
The newest ski resort of Almaty was opened in 2018. In the national park called ‘fairytale forest’, quiet slopes lie between deciduous trees. The surroundings are beautiful and because Lesnaya Skazka just opened, it is nice and quiet. The lifts go like a rocket so you can make many treeruns in this ski area.
The most famous ski resort of Kazakhstan in Shymbulak. A new gondola leaves from the Medeu skating stadium to the village of Shymbulak. The former Kazakh president (Nazarbaev) did not want everyone to drive by road to this village. So nowadays you are in a gondola from 1600 to 2200 meters for 20 minutes. Many FIS competitions have been held in Shymbulak. The vertical drop is over 1000 meters and the highest point of Shymbulak is 3250 meters. Our favorite spot in ‘Bar 3200’ with fantastic views of the Talgar Glacier (5017 meters). The ski area is ultramodern and has all the latest gadgets. On a clear day you can see the metropolis of Almaty during your descents.
The deepest point of our journey can be found in the Charyn canyon. A 370-meter gorge looms from ground level. The gorge is called the Grand Canyon of Kazakhstan and during our short hike you will understand why. Many rock formations are shaped like castles. So another name of the canyon is ‘Valley of Castles’
After the Charyn gorge we continue through the Kazakh steppe to a natural hot spring. We will have a proper pool party with temperatures down to -10 degrees celsius. We sleep in bungalows skattered around the pools. The next day we drive through the National Park of Altyn Emil to Tekeli. In this remote mountain range we have a Pistenbully at our disposal. This machine usually prepares the slopes, but this Pistenbully has a cabin for 15 people. The cat takes us to pristine descents near Jetisu.
The next day will be sleeping and continue our drive through Altyn Emel National Park to Tekesu. To top the tour of we will organize Pistenbully (snow cat) droppings in the remote Dzhungarian mountain range near the Chinese border. We’ll stay in a recently opened mountain lodge near Tekeli. The local cooks will prepare fresh and local food and in front of the entrance departs the gigantic Pistenbully. The Kazakh driver will drop us off at various peaks in the area. Around 12 people fit in the machine and we will drop till we need to stop.
After burning a tremendous amount of calories we intruge ourselves with a dinner fest. We will evaluate the adventurous week and for the party people we will organize a pub crawl in the bustling city of Almaty.
Ski Kazakhstan for you?
- Adventurers looking for something different than the Alps
- Easily tackle a ‘red slope’
- Lovers of other cultures and rituals
- All transfers
- 4 nights in a *** guesthouse in Almaty City Center (twin rooms)
- 1 night in a bungalow in Chundzha (twin rooms)
- 2 nights in Jetisu Lodge (twin rooms)
- 3 meals a day (with non-alcoholic drinks)
- City Tour Almaty
- English speaking guide
- Cat skiing
- Entrance fee Charyn Canyon
- Ski passes Shymbulak, Lesnaya Skazka and Ak Bulak
- Flights (Turkish Airlines/Belavia – €250-€400 from Europe)
- Additional food & drinks (apart from the 3 included meals)
- Alcoholic drinks
- Tips & souvenirs
- Ski or snowboard rental (€ 75 per week)
- Travel Insurance
Don’t book any flights yet!
As soon as we have reached the minimum amount of reservations (5) we will send you an e-mail. If we don’t have enough participants we will, send you an e-mail 40 days prior to departure the latests. (*) We recommend flying Turkish Airlines as they take ski equipment free of charge (usually) * we didn’t have to cancel any trip due to a lack of reservations so far
12:00 AMS Amsterdam Schiphol – 16:30 MSQ Minsk
20:05 MSQ Minsk – 03:55(+1) ALA Almaty
05:10 ALA Almaty – 07:20 MSQ Minsk
10:30 MSQ Minsk – 11:10 AMS Amsterdam Schiphol
* we have always reached the minimum amount of reservations over the last couple of years
Check availability here.
Travel as a group?
If you want to travel as a group of at least 5 people, you can request a tailor-made trip. Other departure dates are always possible in consultation. Please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or via WhatsApp +31648729047