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Backcountry Skiing in Kyrgyzstan

Babash-Ata Mountain | Kyrgyzstan
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to go backcountry skiing in Kyrgyzstan

  • Trip Highlight

    Explore the solitary wilderness of Kyrgyzstan’s backcountry

  • Trip Highlight

    Test your skills on some of the best powder in the world

  • Trip Highlight

    Experience Kyrgyzstan’s fascinating local cuisine and culture

It’s a total mystery why Kyrgyzstan is such an underrated backcountry skiing destination. The powder there is deep, runs uncrowned, and the prices are ridiculously cheap. For anyone looking to expand their backcountry skiing horizons, the Khrebet Babash-Ata mountain is a great place to start. The mountain is a backcountry paradise. The 20 meters of annual snowfall combined with the freezing temperatures results in some of the best backcountry powder out there, rivaling much more expensive European and American tourist destinations, but with none of the overbearing crowds. The scenery here is also stunning, with picturesque snowy peaks above and sprawling walnut forests below. It would be a shame not to mention the locals and their culture, as overwhelming hospitality, comfy homestays, and unique culinary experiences are the norm here. For your next skiing adventure, look eastward — Kyrgyzstan’s backcountry is sure to welcome you with open arms.

Season

Mid-December through March

Nearest city

Bishkek is a couple of hours away from Khrebet Babash-Ata

Duration

10 days

Skill level

Intermediate to advanced

Itineraries

Book this adventure

10-Day Private Intro to Backcountry Skiing

10 days

Head to the central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan for ten days of exploring, enjoying great food, learning about new cultures, and most importantly — backcountry skiing on some phenomenal slopes! Explore Kyrgyzstan’s exotic capital before heading to the Khrebet Babash-Ata mountains for days of guided backcountry adventures with experienced and trained guides! The food, the accommodations, and the travel have all been taken care of — all that’s left to do is to ski your heart out!

Trip Highlights

Itinerary

Day 1: Bishkek

As you arrive at Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, meet up with your guides who will take you to your hotel and make sure you’re all set for the rest of the trip!

The rooftops in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Day 2: Exploring the capital

Spend a whole day acclimating to your new surroundings by exploring Kyrgyzstan’s largest city. Engage in the culture and take the opportunity to taste some local specialties.

A mountain and the Bishkek rooftops

Day 3: The trip to Arslanbob

Take a local flight from Bishkek to Osh, Kyrgyzstan’s second-largest city. After a short layover, your guides will drive you to Arslanbob. The scenic drive serves as the perfect introduction into the Khrebet Babash-Ata Mountain’s beautiful backcountry.

A forest near a mountain in Kyrgyzstan

Days 4-8: Fun in the backcountry

Get ready for 5 full days of touring throughout the Khrebet Babash-Ata Mountains! Kyrgyzstan’s cold temperatures and high amounts of snowfall create some truly spectacular powder, which you get to ride to your heart’s content! When you’re off the slopes, enjoy the local culture, interact with the friendly locals and participate in their traditions.

Some skiers ascending a slope in the Kyrgyzstan backcountry

Day 9: Return to Bishkek

When you’ve had your fill of touring, say your goodbyes to the beautiful village and travel back to Bishkek via car and plane.

A skier pointing on a slope in Kyrgyzstan

Day 10: Departure

The tour ends and your journey home begins!

Some scenic mountains in Kyrgyzstan

Extra contingency day

This tour includes an extra contingency day, so if you experience travel delays, bad weather, or any other form of delay in your itinerary, it’s not a big deal!

Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in the Khrebet Babash-Ata Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the Khrebet Babash-Ata Mountains, Kyrgyzstan, please refer to the UK Government’s official travel advice for Kyrgyzstan and the US Government’s Kyrgyzstan travel advisory.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get in this adventure:

    • Experienced, certified ski guides with extensive knowledge of the area
    • A full day of exploring Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s largest city
    • All in-country transportation, including domestic flights
    • Five full days of backcountry ski touring
    • All in-country accommodation
    • Food and snacks
    • An extra contingency day in case of travel delays

What’s not included:

    • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
    • International transportation to Kyrgyzstan
    • Transportation from the Manas airport to Bishkek
    • Excess baggage charges
    • Travel and rescue insurance

How fit do I need to be?

In order to enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to have a high level of fitness. The tour is strenuous, and you will be on your feet for 5 full days. While there is terrain for all skill levels in the Khrebet Babash-Ata mountains, you will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging blue or black-level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.

What if I’ve never backcountry skied before?

Backcountry skiing isn’t just for pros looking for the ultimate thrill ride, it’s also beginner-friendly, meaning anyone with challenging blue or black-level resort experience can have fun in the backcountry. If you’ve never backcountry skied before, heading out with a guide is your best bet. They’ll take care of the planning, introduce you to the basics, like skinning uphill, and teach you how to manage the terrain. They also have the experience and avalanche training to keep you safe.

What equipment do I need to bring?

For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:

    • Alpine touring skis, telemark skis or splitboard with skins (can be rented)
    • Touring boots and poles (can be rented)
    • Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
      • Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
      • Lightweight snow shovel
      • Avalanche probe
      • Harness for glacier travel (for advanced touring)

For personal items, we recommend bringing:

    • Helmet
    • Sunglasses or ski goggles
    • Gloves and hat
    • Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
    • Ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
    • Down jacket or vest
    • Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
    • Warm and comfy clothes for the home-stay
    • One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
    • Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
    • Water bottle and 1L of water
    • Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
    • Food you can eat on-the-go
    • First aid kit
    • Sunscreen
    • Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L backpack)
    • Camera — optional

Can I rent equipment?

All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:

    • Avalanche safety pack, including backpack, beacon, shovel and probe can be rented in Bishkek
    • Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented in Bishkek
    • Splitboards can be rented in Bishkek

Ski rental locations are in Bishkek and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.

Group sizes and age requirements

    • This tour is not private. For the group tour, the usual guest-to-guide ratio is 4:1.
    • If joining alone, you’ll be placed with peers that share a similar level of experience.
    • Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.

Ski touring in Kyrgyzstan can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis. If you plan to ski with anyone under the age of 18, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

If your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Deposits and cancellation policy

A non-refundable deposit of $200 per person secures your reservation. The balance of program fees will generally be due 90 days prior to the starting date of the program. It is your responsibility to adhere to the fee payment schedule. Late payment will result in cancellation of program reservations and forfeiture of all fees paid.

If you decide to cancel the trip, the following policy applies:

  • Up to 30 days before your adventure: Full Refund will be issued
  • 29 days – 72 hours before your adventure: Full Refund in the form of Northeast Mountaineering credit will be issued
  • Within 72 hours of your adventure: No refund will be issued
  • In the event that you have a positive COVID-19 test and need to cancel within 72 hours, you will be issued a Northeast Mountaineering credit for your adventure
  • If Northeast Mountaineering cancels your adventure due to weather or another unforeseen reason, you will receive a Northeast Mountaineering credit.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Arslanbob, most people fly into Manas International Airport half an hour north-northwest of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital. From there, you can rent a car, take a bus, cab, or private shuttle to Bishkek.

Upon arrival in Bishkek, you will be met by your guides and transferred to the hotel. After a day of sightseeing and acclimating to your new surroundings, your guides will arrange your flight from Bishkek to Osh and the drive from Osh to Arslanbob, where your tour will take place. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ski ability of the group.Northeast Mountaineering

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