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Backcountry Winter Holidays Tour In Almaty (7 Days)

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Must Visit City
Almaty Region
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Combination of freeride from ski-lifts at Shymbulak and Ak-Bulak resorts and backcountry in the wild picturesque gorges of Almaty mountains. Involving into the local culture, exploring the oldest food market of Almaty, and visiting the . .
Country: Kazakhstan
City: Almaty Region
Duration: 7 Day(s) - 6 Night(s)
Tour Category: Ski Tour
Departure Date: Thu 01 Jan '99
Package Itinerary

Combination of freeride from ski-lifts at Shymbulak and Ak-Bulak resorts and backcountry in the wild picturesque gorges of Almaty mountains. Involving into the local culture, exploring the oldest food market of Almaty, and visiting the nature miracle of Kazakhstan – Charyn Canyon.

Route: Almaty – Shymbulak – Ak-Bulak – Trans-Ili Alatau – Charyn canyon

Season: December - March

Route Complexity: intermediate and advanced level of complexity. For fit and well-trained skiers and snowboarders with a confident level of riding on wild terrain. *It is required to have set of avalanche equipment.

Height difference: the maximum height is 2800-3700 m.a.s. Daily elevation gain during backcountry is approx. 1000-1200 meters. Length of descents is from 3 up to 6 kilometers. The steepness of the slopes is from 15 up to 45 degrees.


Day 1. Almaty – Shymbulak ski resort – Almaty

Meeting the guide and hotel pickup at 08:30. Transfer to Medeo Gorge (1690 meters above sea level) by comfortable tourist vehicle. Getting to the Shymbulak ski resort area by cable car. Having ridden about 20-25 minutes above magnificent fur-trees up to the altitude of 2260 meters above sea level, you will get to the 1st level of the ski resort, occupied by fancy restaurants, ski & snowboarding school, and mountain hotel.

The resort was founded in 1954. Since the mid-1950s, «Shymbulak» served as a training base for Soviet skiers, the USSR and Kazakhstan championships were held on its slopes. The total length of the slopes is 25 km.

On the ski slopes, there is the system of snow cannons, which allow to start the season earlier and extend it until April, and sometimes even till May. Shymbulak has its own special atmosphere. The resort attracts skiers who like ironed slopes and snowboarders who prefer extreme downhill skiing with breathtaking jumps and turns. On sunny days, «Shymbulak» gathers thousands of tourists.

Skiing from the lifts and trying local freeride and backcountry spots – “Shkolnik”, “Dry Log”, “Cone”.

Lunch will be arranged in a stylish café at the highest point of the ski resort on Talgar pass. There you can relax sitting on the soft sofa, take sunbathe and listen to the lounge music. If you are tired from the sun you can sit inside and enjoy the thematic movie, communicate with local skiers, and drink special herb tea or sweet punch.

After a fantastic day spent at Shymbulak, coming back to Medeo station by cable car. Transfer to Almaty. Approximate arrival time - 19:00.

Overnight in a hotel in Almaty

Meals included: B, L

Day 2. Almaty – Ak Bulak ski resort - Almaty

Departure from Almaty at 08:00. Transfer to Ak-Bulak ski resort, which is located nearby Talgar town. (45 km). Arrival on the territory of the ski resort at approx. 09:30. Preparation of the equipment and instructions from the guide.

At 10:00 ascent by gondola cable car (length is 2351 m), which delivers to the slope with altitude 2006 m. above s.l. Then ascent by chairlift to the highest point of the resort with "black slopes" only at an altitude of 2664 meters.

The steepness angle of freeride slopes in this zone is from 22 to 55 degrees. Parts of descent pass both in open spaces and in the forest, among the Tien-Shan firs with lots of drops. A huge mass of white fluffy snow and an amazing panorama of surrounding high mountains will leave the brightest impression.

Built in 2006, «Ak Bulak» Ski Resort is a quite young resort. But because of its popularity, it has become one of the most attractive sights of Almaty. There are all conditions for comfortable and fun rest. There are 4 ski lifts on the resort territory, and the total length of all ski slopes is 10 km. You can also ride on tubes and visit the local ice rink.

A special Ski Patrol operates at the resort, which not only monitors athletes' behavior on the slopes but also monitors safety at all downhill sites. The main advantage of the resort is that it is located in a surprisingly beautiful place, in the heart of the Soldatskoye Gorge. Due to its good location, «Ak Bulak» has excellent weather during the whole winter season.

Skiing on the "black slopes" of the resort with a guide until 13:30. The guide knows the resort "like his five fingers" and will show you the most "tasty", interesting places, hidden from the majority of riders. Riding will be fun, intense, and full of adventures - you will not even notice how fast time is running.

Picnic lunch will be arranged on benches at the observation ground until 14:30. You will have a rest, sunbathe and admire views of the big mountains located very near, and perhaps, even see a huge and beautiful prey bird - bearded vulture.

After lunch, you will continue riding off-piste until 16:00 and then will ski down to the parking zone. Packing stuff and departure to Almaty. Arrive in Almaty at about 19:00.

Overnight in a hotel in Almaty

Meals included: B, L

Day 3-5. Almaty – Trans-Ili-Alatau mountains – Almaty

On this day we will have an adventurous backcountry in the mountains near Almaty city. Departure from your hotel at 7.30 a.m. Transfer to one of the gorges of Trans-Ili Alatau. We will take into consideration different locations and depending on snow and weather conditions decide where to go best.

Kimasar Gorge and Panorama Ridge. Maximum altitude 3260 meters. Elevation gain: 1300 meters, descend length ~ 6 km, duration: 6-7 hours.

Kok Zhailyau valley and Three Brothers peak. Maximum altitude 2850 meters. Elevation gain: 1250 meters, descend length ~ 6 km, duration: 5-6 hours. Slope gradient: 15 – 35 degrees.

Kotyrbulak gorge and Bukreev peak. Maximum altitude 3010 meters. Slope gradient: 15 – 40 degrees. Elevation gain: 1200 meters, descend length ~ 5 km, duration: 5-6 hours.

Tersbutak ridge and Young Geologist peak. Maximum altitude 3200 meters. Elevation gain: 1200 meters, distance of descending ~ 10 km, duration: 6-7 hours. Slope gradient: 15 – 40 degrees.

Mynzhylky ridge and Memory peak. Maximum altitude 3700 meters. Elevation gain: 1150 meters, descend length ~ 5 km, duration: 5-6 hours. Slope gradient: 15 – 40 degrees.

All spots described above are reached in a combination of hiking and ski-touring, because of steep parts of the ascent line. Picnic lunch during the day. Come back to the car and transfer to the 4* hotel in Almaty.

*On day 5 after backcountry before arrival to Almaty city, you will visit the open-air SPA complex - the Tau Spa center.

Staying on the territory of the spa center for 3 hours and enjoying different types of steam rooms and sauna, swimming pools with icy and hot water, relaxing on sun loungers and admiring the view of Trans-Ili Alatau mountains.

TAU SPA or “TAU Dastarkhan” (which means “mountains and welcome served table”) is a unique high-mountain entertainment complex. Located at the foothills of Trans-Ili Alatau mountains, in the picturesque Alma-arasan gorge. Nine different steam rooms will help you to relieve tension in tired muscles.

For your pleasure: Alpine, Himalayan, Turkish hammam, Japanese, Oriental Sufa, Scythians, Finnish, Scandinavian bath-houses, swimming pools with pure, salty, hot, cold water, whirlpools, sun loungers, and restaurants. There is a special bathing procedure in the Scandinavian steam room, which is provided every hour.

Transfer to Almaty city. Dinner in the local restaurant. Transfer to the hotel.

Overnight in a hotel in Almaty

Meals included: B, L, D

Day 6. Almaty – Charyn canyon – Almaty

An unforgettable journey to one of the unique natural monuments of Kazakhstan - Charyn Canyon, located 190 km far away from Almaty. It will leave a lasting impression with its grand splendor and beauty...

Meeting with the guide in the lobby of your hotel at 9 a.m. Starting the journey to Charyn Canyon by a comfortable car. It will take about 3,5 hours to reach the canyon. Meanwhile, you will know interesting facts about the history and nature of the region, about Kazakh people, their life and traditions.

Upon arrival to Charyn Canyon, you will admire the grand panorama and go downstairs to the bottom of the canyon, then walk around 2 km through the maze of the Castles Valley with its walls of bizarre shapes overhanging you.

The bottom of the Canyon has slight descent to the end of the walk, where you will get to the fresh oasis on the bank of the icy cold Charyn river, where also located eco-park with several yurts (traditional dwellings) and a small open-air café, working in the summertime.

After some rest, walking back the same path to the stairs, then car transfer to one of the observation points for another breathtaking panoramic view.

After 3 hours spent in the canyon, you will have your back ride to Almaty. For full immersion in the national flavor, you will also have lunch at the local cafe on the way to Almaty. The average time of arrival to Almaty is 7:00 pm. Dinner in a traditional restaurant with a national music performance. Coming back to the hotel at around 9.30 p.m.

Overnight in a hotel in Almaty

Meals included: B, L, D

Day 7. Almaty city

Meeting your guide in the hotel’s lobby at 09:00 a.m. for the Almaty sites city tour (5 hours).

You will start the tour with a ride to the oldest of Almaty parks - Park of 28 Panfilov Guardsmen, where one of the most beautiful wooden buildings in the world - Zenkov Cathedral is located. In the park, you will also visit the Memorial of Glory and Eternal Flame, listen to the stories of the guide and admire the beauty of the Museum of Musical Instruments. A leisurely walk under the crowns of old trees will take about 40 minutes.

The next point of interest is a popular place for townspeople - the Green Bazaar, where it is impossible to refrain from shopping.

It is a great chance to experience the atmosphere of the real eastern market, its colors, smells, and crowds. There you can obtain famous oriental sweets, dried fruits, buy local products and souvenirs, but don't forget to bargain. In the market, they accept cash in tenge (local currency), so it would be good to have some with you or there is an exchange point just nearby to the market area.

Light lunch will be arranged on the second floor of Bazar in the small coffee shop where you could enjoy meals and watch how the trading is going.

After the bazaar, the tour will continue at the Kok-Tobe hill where the tallest TV tower in the world is located (if to count from the sea level) and where you will get by the picturesque winding mountain road on the park eco-cars.

In Kok-Tobe Park you can stroll along the winding paths of the park, admire the magnificent panorama of the city from the special observation deck, throw a coin in the "apple" fountain and visit the shop of national souvenirs. The tour ends with a short ride from the top of the hill to the center of the city by the famous Almaty cableway* and dropping you off at your hotel.

* On Tuesdays, in the tour departing at 10:00, the cableway is not available. Park eco-buses is used instead.

Overnight in a hotel in Almaty

Meals included: B, L

NOTE: Depending on weather, temperature, and snow conditions, the guide can make adjustments to the skiing part of the program.


Tour Rates Include:

-Transfers in a comfortable vehicle according to the program,

-Services of professional English-speaking ski guide,

-Sightseeing 5-hour tour of Almaty city,

-Tour to Charyn Canyon,

-Ecological and entrance fees according to the program,

-Day ski-passes on «Shymbulak» and «Ak Bulak» ski resorts,

-Tickets to SPA complex,

-Meals according to the program (breakfast and lunch on Days 1-2 and 7, full board on Days 3-6), lunch-boxes on Days 3-5. Please advise any specific dietary requirements at the time of booking (traditional local cuisine includes mostly lamb or beef, dough, dairy products).

-Bottled water for each day (1,5 l per person),

-Accommodation in Almaty in a 4* hotel.

Tour Rates Exclude:

-Rental of ski and avalanche equipment,

-Meals (other than specified), personal expenses and other expenses not indicated in the program,

-Accommodation in Almaty before or after the tour (if required),

-Visa support and registration in the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan (if required),

-Insurance policy. Please, notice, that it’s required to have insurance for extreme sports for participating in this program!

Booking Terms: Full payment is required for tour reservations. Accepted methods of payment: cash in local currency, wire transfer, bank card.

Cancellation Terms: 50% of the tour price is not refundable in case of tour cancellation 7 days hours or less before the tour departure date. Tour price is not refundable in case of the tour cancellation 24 hours or less before tour departure date, as well as in case of no-show or lateness.

Group Size: Minimum 1 person, maximum 14 people.

Age Restriction: 18+

Required Equipment:

Avalanche equipment (airbag system, shovel, probe, transceiver), helmet, goggles with a spare lens for bright sunlight and cloudy weather, backpack with volume 25-35 liters with ski/snowboard fixation, proper skis/snowboard with touring bindings, proper ski-touring/snowboard boots (for skiers with a system of switching to walking mode), snowshoes (for snowboarders without split board), climbing skins, poles, ski crampons.

For the tour, You will need comfortable functional clothing for riding and ski-touring (base layer - thermal underwear, gore-tex jacket and pants, additional layers of clothing for insulation, downy sweater or vest, socks), an extra set of warm clothes, extra pair of shoes (sneakers or lightweight trekking shoes), gloves, mittens, hat, cap, neck gaiter, sunscreen, sunglasses, swimsuit, towel and flip-flops for visiting SPA-center, personal AID kit, thermos for the hot tea, water tank, head torch, personal hygiene stuff, snacks (protein and muesli bars, energy gels, ISOtonic or other special mount nutrition).

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