2 of the Best Places to Heli-Ski in Central Asia
Where should I go heli-skiing this year? Kyrgyzstan’s Tien Shan Mountains provide a heavenly setting with untouched slopes and excellent snow quality.
Looking for a vacation with an adrenaline rush? Heliskiing is a great way for ski lovers to break free of their normal restraints and go skiing outside the box. Jumping out of a helicopter onto the top of a towering peak the urges you down a fresh, untouched slope gives the word “adrenaline” a whole new meaning, and there’s no better place to heli-ski than Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyzstan is a tranquil Central Asian country just west of China and south of Kazakhstan with more mountains than it knows how to handle. It’s the proud, peaceful home of both the Tien Shan and Pamir Mountain Systems, standing high above its Central Asian neighbors. Ninety percent of the country is clothed in mountains, 40% measuring over 3000 meters, and contains several 7000+ meter peaks. With gorgeous snowcapped backdrops, remote ranges, and too many untouched slopes to count, Kyrgyzstan offers some of the best heli skiing opportunities in the world.
Heli skiing in Kyrgyzstan is available between November and May depending on which area skiers choose to visit. Average skiing altitudes are between 3000-4500 meters. Two of the most popular destinations for heli-skiing in Kyrgyzstan are Suusamyr and Karakol.
HELI-SKIING IN SUUSAMRY, KYRGYZSTAN
The Suusamyr Valley is famous for its natural beauty and quality heli skiing options. Located 130km from the capital city of Bishkek, the pristine slopes of Suusamyr are sandwiched in between the Kyrgyz Ala-Too Mountain Range to the north and the Suusamyr-Too Mountain Range in the south. The Suusamyr Valley itself rests at an elevation of 2000-2600 meters; however, the peaks of the Suusamyr Mountains reach up to 4500 meters.
Heli-skiing in the heights of the Suusamyr Mountains is an unforgettable experience due to its wide variety of slopes, exposures, and descents. The area is consistently covered in snow from November to March, with depths of up to 2.5 meters. Temperatures are known to dip as low as -35 degrees Celsius at night, making the snow light and powdery. Heli skiers in this area conquer between 3-5 new slopes each year, constantly expanding heli-skiing options and exploring new areas in Kyrgyzstan.
HELI-SKIING IN KARAKOL, KYRGYZSTAN
Heliskiing around Karakol is popular because Karakol sits adjacent to the world’s second largest alpine lake, Lake Issyk Kul. The lake itself is 6,236 km² and rests at an elevation of 1600 meters, encircled by layers of snowcapped mountains. It’s within these mountains that heli-skiers can tackle the slopes of the Terskei-Alatoo Mountains. Days in Karakol are often sunny with clear, blue skies. Heli-skiing in this area of Kyrgyzstan will put you within sight of several 5000+ meter peaks and massive glaciers. Heli-skiing in Karakol is available from November to May, with snow reaching a depth of 1.5-2 meters.
Skiers itching to experience the best heli skiing in Central Asia should set their sights to Kyrgyzstan. Not only is there great snow quality, spectacular scenery, and virgin slopes, but the personality of the country itself will leave travelers wanting more. Asian hospitality and a long-enduring nomadic heritage seep into every crevice of the mountains, making the country and its people one-of-a-kind, guaranteeing a heli ski vacation that skiers will never forget.