In Kyrgyzstan there is a lot of mountains, but areas of ski-touring the most popular are:

1. Terskey Eastern Ala-Too , a neighborhood of Karakol.

2. Kyrgyz Range, near Bishkek. Can be divided into skitour near ski resorts in winter and glaciers in the valley of the Ala -Archa spring and summer.

3. Suusamyr Valley and pass Too- Ashu

4. District Arabel Suu River

5. Arslanbob

6. Ak-Tuz, Chon-Kemin

7. Lenin Peak and around.

Karakol region

The most interesting and varied area is considered to be the Eastern Issyk-Kul region, Karakol district. The Lake lies at an altitude of 1600 meters above sea level. Its dimensions are 180 km in length and 70 km in width, depth in the deepest point-702 m. The lake basin is surrounded on all sides by powerful mountain ranges. The western part of droughty, rains are rare, snow almost falls out. All air masses are carried by the winds to the East, to Karakol. Here, the high mountains prevent further advancement of clouds, and most of the precipitation falls on the northern slopes of Terskey Ala-Too chain.

Climate combined with mountainous terrain creates ideal conditions for skiing. A weak infrastructure opens up endless possibilities for ski touring and freeride enthusiasts.

Issyk-Kul lake Basin is located at an altitude of 1600 meters, with the height of the main ridge of more than 4500 m average length of valleys is 25-30 km. Only some of them (about ten valleys) are longuer, to 100 km. The most interesting ski area lies at an altitude between 2500 and 3700 m. They are ideal for day backcountry tours.

In the Karakol region the main areas for ski-touring are: Jergalan; Chon-Ashu; Ak-suu;  Karakol ski-station; Yrdyk yourt camp; Djety Oguz.

Driving with a car from Karakol takes about 1 hour to any place. Get up on skis at an altitude of 2200 m, usually at the highest villages, where access roads are stopped. For arriving to the interesting slopes, it is necessary to go for about one hour along a valley, smoothly going up. Somewhere as Karakol ski station it is possible to use a skilift or a snowmobile. Total altitude gain from the car to the top is of 1000-1500 m and more, at a distance of about 10 km. Time to approach up is 4-5 hours, so per day can be done 1-2 descents.

Winter weather also contributes to a comfortable journey. The proximity of a large lake creates a warm microclimate without strong wind and without extremely low temperatures. The number of sunny days prevails over the bad weather. Large cyclones are rare and short enough. As well, while light snowfalls it is also possible to do a good ski-touring.

Season duration is about 3 months from January to April. You can ride longer, but the lowest part snow condition is poor. First snow normally falls already in November, creating a substrate. Snowfalls are not long, not more than 30 cm of snow per each one. By the end of the winter snow layer is of 1.5-2 meters. But in practice the  important point is the slope exposure and form of landscape. The southern slopes are often without any snow; from the western snow carried by the wind to the eastern. It is interesting that during the winter, the snow is not compacted much and almost never become a firn (neve=hard snow surface). Therefore, as a practice shows, a classic ski-touring skis are not very good here, it is more recommended to have wider ski (ab 100 mm in the waist). For snowboarders also poorly proven snowshoes.

Downhill terrain is very diverse. You can find both flat snowy field with a slight excess for beginners and steep couloirs between the rocks for crazies riders. There are two main ski areas - forest and higher forest zone. Forest is from mostly firs, rarely pines and hardwoods. It needs some skills, because forests are sometimes dense, stumps and windbreaks. But in the forests the snow is longer as a powder.

Fir forest in Terskei Allatoo chain found up to an altitude 2800-3000 meters. Higher are bald (hairless) mountains. From there we have the majestic views to Lake Issyk-Kul from one side and peaks of five thousand meters from another. As well there is a vast expanse and a large selection of slopes to ski there. Sometimes there is a blow crust that keeps the bad. This condition is enhanced by the spring snow. The most attractive sector for skiing is between the north and the east directions, where the greatest amount of snow.

Total for the day goes about 1000 meters (height ) slope interesting , the rest rolled out flat , on his trail .

Karakol view from Google.Earth.

Karakol ski area

Susamyr region

Another ski-tour area is Suusamyr Valley. This is a huge area covered with mountains - almost a thousand square kilometers, suitable for skiing. The valley is located at an altitude of 2200-2500 meters and has a width of 3 to 5 km. A federal road passes here, and the whole year-round the road is maintained in good condition. Ski-tour logistics arrives of the combination of the road and two tourist bases. 1.Ski station - Too- Ashu (3000 m) , located near the pass of the same name and 2.Suusamyr base (2200 m) in the valley, on the main road.

Mostly ski-tours of the area of ski station Too-Ashu start right from the hostel. Altitude gain is typically up to 1000 meters, slope of 25-30 degrees. Climb up takes ab. 4-6 hours, and often you can ski down much lower than the base is. In the case, you have to be ready to come back to the hotel (with car, etc).

Development of the rest of the area requires a car driving within 1-1.5 hours to the start point. Only a couple of routes available from the base Susamyr. Often you have to put your ski directly on the pavement, because too much snow to go off the road without skies. Then again, one or two hours you have to go along the almost flat plane valley to approach good skiable slope. To access the South slope of the valley we still need to find a crossing over the river on the ice. Point to go back here often determined the lack of sufficient light time. Per day it is possible to ski a mile height at a distance of 10 km. Slopes are not homogeneous, steep sections are replaced by gentle popping out.

The Susamyr valley is limited from all sides with Kyrgyz ridge and ridge Susamyr Too. Due to good snowfalls, dry sharply continental climate and low temperatures here formed dry and powder snow. Intensity of solar radiation on the way smooth severe frosts. -20°C below zero is the usual daytime temperatures. At night, the thermometer often falls to -30°C. So season backcountry better to start from the beginning of February, you can continue to mid-April. By this time it produced a hard snow cover on the slopes of all exposures. Snow level usually is 1.5-2 meters. In late April, there are still a lot of snow, but as a result of daytime warming creates a hard crust. As a result, both rising up or descent is not a great pleasure.

Susamyr stretches extended from West to East, formed the southern slopes of Kyrgyz Range and the northern ones with ridge of Susamyr Too. Depending on snow conditions, you can always choose the most preferably oriented slope. Because of the low temperature, state of snow varies little with exposure. The wind has a greater impact on the structure of snow. The relief is very diverse - from large gentle slopes to steep couloirs to drop. The only thing that there is not here - it is the trees. Snow is dry, crisp, powder, biases often 30 degrees or more, and at the angles lower 15° skis just do not want to slide. Avalanche danger is constantly kept high enough. And in conjunction with large areas of avalanche accumulation you should be very careful in choosing the slopes for skiing .





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