Skiing in Kyrgyzstan: fresh powder, pristine rides and great value

The après is unusual but, for fresh backcountry riding – and a real adventure – there are few better places than Kyrgyzstan

‘We’ll have eight beers, a jug of fermented mare’s milk and a plate of the horsemeat sausage please.” As après-ski rounds go, it’s an unusual one. But then a truck stop in rural Kyrgyzstan is far from your average slope-side bar. And instead of the Alpine offering of vin chaud, tartiflette and herbal liqueur génépi, it serves Kymyz (also called kumis, a bitter, alcoholic concoction made of horse’s milk) and beşbarmaq (horse sausage served with noodles). The clientele, mostly lorry drivers, seem slightly bemused by our presence, and grin as we take turns trying the strange fare.

But if the restaurants around the Suusamyr Freeride Lodge lack the sophistication of those in Alpe d’Huez, the area makes up for it with the quality of the skiing. Our group of 15 have enjoyed fresh powder every single day. Each morning, we’ve tackled a different zone of the mountain range around our lodge and we’ve come across no one’s tracks but our own.

Each morning we’ve tackled a different zone of the mountains around our lodge and we’ve seen no one’s tracks but our own

Dubbed “the poor man’s heli-skiing”, cat-skiing makes perfect sense in a country with few ski lifts

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