Kyrgyzstan is a Central Asian country that has earned its nickname “the Alps of Central Asia” from the vast, mountainous terrain that covers 90% of the country. Two famous mountain ranges run through it, the Tien Shan and Pamir Mountains, making it a skier’s paradise. Snowcapped mountains are the natural backdrop for much of the country and offer skiers a range of options for a ski holiday.
Heli-skiing sidesteps the ski lifts and takes skiers directly to high, hard-to-reach mountain peaks and drops them off via helicopter. These skiing tours are popular in Kyrgyzstan because the whole experience is an adrenaline rush. Qualified pilots drop skiers on mountainsides with safe, untouched tracks that are 100% mother nature.
Kyrgyzstan’s season for these tours is generally between November and April depending on which region you plan to ski. Expect to ski in altitudes between 3,000-4,500metres. Heli-skiing tours are recommended for intermediate-advanced skiers.
Backcountry tours, also known as “off-piste” or “freeride tours,” are for people that like to ski outside the lines. No trails. No boundaries. Just skiing in the wild wherever your heart desires. This is considered the riskiest kind of skiing for independent skiers because the snow pack and land has not been surveyed, maintained, or patrolled. However, for skiers looking for this kind of freedom in a tour, Kyrgyzstan’s guides can help discern which areas are safe, making it a perfect place for freeride skiing.
Kyrgyzstan is unique in that most land is available for public use. It’s easier to find an open mountainside to ski on than one that’s off limits.
CROSS COUNTRY SKI TOURS
For travelers looking for both enjoyment and exercise on their ski vacation in Kyrgyzstan, cross country skiing is the way to go. During cross country tours, skiers propel themselves forward by relying on their skis and poles, not natural elevation descents. Kyrgyzstan is frequently visited by trekkers for the natural beauty and freedom of movement that Kyrgyzstan exudes, making it perfect for “trekking on skis.” Cross country skiing tours certainly aren’t for the faint of heart, but an option for skiers looking for an open expanse of beautiful countryside to tackle.
For people looking for a laid-back getaway to just have fun with friends or family, conventional ski bases are plentiful in Kyrgyzstan. Skiing is still a rather new phenomenon in Central Asia, so ski bases in Kyrgyzstan aren’t as overrun as in places with a long history of ski tourism. There are 15 bases skiers can choose from with a wide range of sizes and accommodations. The most popular and well-developed bases are in Karakol, but there are several closer to Bishkek for travelers looking to stay in or closer to the large capital city.
If your goal is to travel the Pamirs, find travel deals to make your vacation more affordable, or venture out into an area of the world you’ve never experienced, skiing in this Central Asian country will exceed your expectations. It can appeal to people looking for adventure, money-saving, excitement, relaxation, exercise, or just a change of pace. Conquer the snowcapped mountains of Central Asia and dive into a ski vacation you’ll never forget.
Photo from source: www.dostuk.kg, photo by Vyacheslav Nazarov, photo from sources: www.mountpix.livejournal.com, www.avto-crash.narod.ru