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Ski resorts near Almaty city offer a wide variety of services, from high European standards with modern cable cars, luxury restaurants and high level of service to the small authentic family ski centers with soviet drag-lifts, uncleaned roads, old school atmosphere and good- hearted hosts, always ready to help and show the secret spots. Usually Almaty ski resorts start winter season in the middle of November and finish in April, quite long chill season and many opportunities for finding slope of your dream. Shymbulak, Ak-Bulak and Elik-Sai are the best choice for freeriding, where you don’t need to spend energy for transitions and can access the wild slopes by ski-lift. Winter freeride covers altitudes from 1900 to 2900 meters and can offer pleasant riding in forest zone among Tien-Shan spruces with a view to impressive rocky mountains or glaciers. Spring brings you higher to alpine zone, where altitudes vary from 3000 to 3500 meters, where t’s possible to hit good lines with steeper gradient.
Enjoy riding off-piste in tree line and highland zones in close proximity to the ski resorts. Shorts climbs on skis or splitboard with combination of hiking, and you will find yourself standing over a smooth untouched slope with shining snow. Elik-Sai, Ak-Bulak and few other small ski resorts will be good start points for sidecountry, where you can ride in tree line area and alpine zone with altitudes from 1900 to 3000 meters. Shymbulak mountain resort has the longest skiing season, which in good years can last till May, and will let you stay not far from the lifts, when all other resorts are already closed. So, you can climb even higher, to the highlands and glaciers area. Altitudes here vary from 3000 to 4000 meters.
There are lots of wild, less-visited and, sometimes, completely unexplored gorges and peaks in Almaty region, so everyone, who goes to explore them, feels like a real discoverer. Staying in kazakh yurt, mountain hut or soviet cozy trailer among the wilderness, enjoying pristine nature, acquaintance with local culture of nomads, trying new exciting routes, having fun on friendly mellow slopes or surviving on challenging steep ones, it’s just a part of experience you will get on our exclusive backcountry programs. Only authentic adventures, warm, hospitable atmosphere and brightest emotions. Season of backcountry in Almaty mountains can be divided in two seasons: winter and spring-summer time. Starting from December and till March you can choose the routes in tree line zone with accommodation in the Backcountry Yurt Lodge among the wild and impressive slopes of Karash ridge or move further and try more challenging adventure in Ketmen ridge with accommodation in the wooden hut. From mid April to the and of June you will be offered backcountry routes in the big mountains of Zailiyskiy Alatau. Big Almaty Gorge with staying in authentic mountain shelter at an altitude of 3350 m.a.s.l. and upper reaches of Small Almaty Gorge, cirques of Bogdanovich and Tuyuk-Su glaciers should be taken into consideration. This experience will be most appreciated by advanced or pro riders with very good fit level. Backcountry in Almaty mountains can be light and fun in winter or brings you to the more exciting and steep couloirs and walls in spring and summer time, where you definitely get a huge dose of adrenaline rush.
Kazakhstan mountains offer ample space for realization of your most ambitious ski- mountaineering plans. Many peaks and couloirs are still non-skied, and you can become the first, who will ride them and make a daring line, that will remain in the history of the region. But you should be ready for the fact, that you will have to sweat, cause the approach to the desired lines can take couple of days or even more. On the territory of Almaty region there are such amazing powerful mountains as Northern and Central Tien Shan, where the heights of summits vary from 4000 to 7000 meters. The highest point of mountains near Almaty city – Zailiyskiy Alatau, is Talgar peak with an altitude of 4979 meters, and the highest point of all Kazakhstan is Khan-Tengri peak, reaching an altitude of almost 7000 meters. The scale of these mountains amazes and opens up endless opportunities for ski-mountaineering routes of various categories of complexity. The most popular areas for ski mountaineering in the mountains of Zailiyskiy Alatau near Almaty are Small and Big Almaty gorges with the most easy accessible spots, cirques of Bogdanovich and Tuyuk-Su glaciers with well-organized base camps on altitude of 3200 – 3400 meters. Those, who like more severe adventures in the most remote and completely wild areas, will definitely like expeditions with accommodation in tents and longer approaches to the routes.
If you are an experienced freerider, want to see Almaty mountains from a bird’s eye view and test yourself at an altitude over 4000 meters, then this adventure is special for you. It is worth to try heli-skiing in Kazakhstan at least in order to sit on board the famous Mi-8 helicopter, known since Soviet times and which is the most massive twin-engine helicopter, not only in post-Soviet countries, but throughout the world and look at fantastic shapes of glaciers, mountain gorges and watersheds through porthole window. This massive bird is capable of throwing up to 15 people to a height of more than 4000 meters, to cherished peaks, to which only the approach takes several days. Heli-skiing season in Ile Alatau mountains starts in April and lasts until the end of June. The price in comparison with European and American helicopter companies is much more attractive, a day of skiing accompanied by guides costs approximately 500-600 US dollars, depending on the number of people in the group. On average, a group of experienced riders can make up to six descents per day, which will remain in a memory for a lifetime.
Choose any point on the map of Kazakhstan mountains, take your backpack, pair of skis and go travelling with us to the most remote corners. Participation in expeditions is a completely different level of backcountry and can be properly appreciated by only select number of experienced travellers, who get used to be in the wild environment for a long time, enjoy authentic and simple way of life and stand high intensity of physical exertion. In remote corners of Kazakhstan mountains, there is no infrastructure, mobile communications and marked trails, approaches to the routes can take several days, and it is not always possible to use forces of horses, porters or a helicopter to carry food, heavy stuff and equipment. But it makes Kazakhstan mountains special, they are harsh and at the same time hospitable to those, who understand them and ready for hardships and trials, that will turn into the most wonderful unforgettable adventure of life, if you have enough preparation, the right equipment, skills and experience of staying in the wild mountain environment for a long time. In winter, in the mountain valleys of Zailiyskiy Alatau near streams and rivers, it is possible to organize stationary tent base camps, from where you can make radial exits to peaks up to 3000 meters high. In spring and summer time you can move to the zone of high mountains and glaciers, here preparation already requires more detailed attention, you have to rely on your own skills and experience. Such expeditions become even more severe due to long transitions, where altitude can reach 4000-4500 meters in the mountains of Zailiyskiy Alatau and almost 6,000 meters in the mountains of Central Tien Shan, and overcoming technically difficult parts of the routes can cause problems, if you’re not good in mountaineering.
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