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Kazakhstan - Powder in the Kazakh Altai

In December 2019 we have been to the Kazhak Altai for the first time and have discovered it´s beauty on skis. We are absolutely excited about the terrain, snow and people.

Price: 2290 EUR

Dates & booking

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A Lot of Snow in the Early Season

We’ve been visiting the Altai at the start of the winter season for many years. No matter if we’re out and about with the snowcat or touring ski, the masses of snow and the quality of the powder that this region receives in the early winter has never been disappointing.  The Altai Mountains stretch at its southern most foothills far into northern Kazakhstan and even has some peaks that reach 3000m. Thanks to the northern location, even early winters, as early as October, see heavy precipitation. Our cosy mountain lodge is located in the middle of a beautiful ski area. The garage next to it houses two snowcats, which are somewhat reminiscent of Soviet times.

With eight people on board, it’s off to the surrounding mountains by snowcat. A beautiful, snow-covered, snow-covered mountain range awaits us. Many of the summits and amazing skiing locations will be easily accessible via snowcat and others will require a climb with skins. This is one adventurous trip that is bound to leave you with long-lasting memories. 

Itinerary

We will fly from central Europe to Ust Kamenogorsk, located on the edge of the Altai mountains. From here, we will travel 2h by bus to our lodge, which is near the mining town Ridder. We will then have the next six days ahead of us to discover the almost never-ending mountainous world with our ski.

After each of our eventful days we will return to an already-heated Russian Banja and will shortly after be served with an evening meal. We will have the option of vodka or beer to wash it all down and then we shall head to bed, already looking forward to the next day. A generous and hearty breakfast will give us the energy that we need for the day. On the following Saturday we will head back to Ust Kamenogorsk, stay their for the night and fly back to central Europe via Moscow the next morning.

Our base

We will be accomodated in a mountain hut in an idyllic side valley. The warden will serve us local hearty cuisine. A strong breakfast will give us plenty of energy for the day. Lunch and tea will be transported in the snowcat, when we come back in the late afternoon a hot soup will be served. Right after it is time for the sauna.

The shower system is rather simple, hot and cold water is mixed by ourselves and then we pour it over us. After the sauna the day ends with a tasty dinner and a beer. Our home for the week for sure is simple and we will sleep in 4 bedrooms.

Snow and Terrain

In the Kazhak Altai huge amounts of snow already fall early in the winter and in the beginning of December usually the snow height is more than 3 meters already. Most of our runs are located at an altitude of 800 and 2000 meters and lead through typical light siberian forest. The trees make sure we also have a good visibility and contrast when skiing in snowfall. The terrain is about 25-35°, ideal for an early winter snowpack.

The last run of the day brings us back to the lodge and is a bit challenging in parts due to more dense trees.  

Our Snowcat

Our snowcat is originally from Japan and already has served for quite some years. Vasily, our mechanic and driver, is familiar with all the technique. The cat offers space for 8-9 people, pretty unhurried it brings us up to the mountains. To our home district, the Prachadnoi Mountains, it is about a 1 hour drive.

With a good mix of snowcat and ascents on skins we could achieve many runs last December.

Our Helicopter

Last December we have been doing heliski pioneering work once again. Although the terrain is just perfect for heliskiing, no one made it so far. We managed to organize a MI8MT helicopter from the city of Ust Kamenogorsk, that is about 70 Kilometers away. Andrey our pilot is flying this heli for more than 30 years already and he was very sure from the beginning that he can fly us to every possible landing spot safely. And yes, he really proofed his excellent flying skills.

For sure we also would like to organize a day of heliskiing on our next trip. Compared to other heliski districts worldwide, the cost for heliskiing are pretty low here. Per drop off we need to calculate 120 Euro. Just the flight with the 5000 horse power strong engine is pretty impressive.

The Most Important Details at a Glance

Requirements and Equipment

  • Controlled and safe skiing in every type of terrain (off-piste). Freeride experience is necessary. 
  • Ascents of 1000m with ski skin and touring bindings may be required. A good level of fitness and freeriding skiing equipment that can also be used for touring is therefore necessary. 
  • Enthusiasm and flexibility is required on these kinds of adventurous trips.

Included in the Price of 2290 EUR

  • 6 nights in the Mountain Base with full board in shared rooms
  • 1 night in the Hotel Galavar in Ust Kamenogorsk 
  • All transfers from/to Ust Kamenogorsk 
  • 7 days accompanied by a UIAGM certified mountain guide 
  • Daily snowcat transfers

Not Included

  • Flight from central Europe to Ust Kamenogorsk (from 500 EUR)
  • Option of evening meals in restaurants
  • Tips
  • Helicopter per day approx. 600-800 Euro

Travel Preparations

Meeting Requirements and Fitness Level

A realistic self-assessment and an appropriate fitness level is required to join our trips. In order to enjoy a long day of skiing and to reduce the risk of injury, it is important to get in shape and possess a good level of fitness.

Travel Requirements

Please contact your own ministry of foreign affairs for the travel requirements to enter Kasachstan.

Current Country-Specific Information, Vaccines and Health

Please contact your own ministry of foreign affairs for current information about your destination.

 

Travel Insurance

Please note that there is a potential risk of injury on skiing trips. In addition to travel cancellation insurance, comprehensive medical and accident insurance that cover the costs of search and rescue, as well as transport costs, are imperative. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you are insured before departure.

Comprehensive medical and accident insurance that covers potential costs of search and rescue operations as well as any medical costs is mandatory for all of our trips abroad.

It is required that you state this information during registration in our registration form in order to ensure 24h emergency assistance. 

Links to Insurance Companies:

Please also check your credit card policies as it is possible that these already include insurance.

Booking

To sign up for a trip, please click on your preferred date and fill out the booking form carefully.

Please also note our terms and conditions .

Any Questions?

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