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ALTAI, KAZAKHSTAN

Altai Mountains  |  10 days  |  Dec-Mar

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A truly special journey.

The Altai Mountains of East Kazakhstan offer a dream-like powder touring experience. Hokkaido-like snow, Lord of the Rings terrain, amazing hospitality, and the quiet solitude of a remote backcountry lodge.

Watch the film:

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OVERVIEW  |  the experience

THE BACKSTORY

By now we've all heard about powder skiing in Japan, but Kazakhstan? We first heard tales of the Altai Mountains while on a similar exploratory journey to Siberia, one month before Putin invaded Ukraine. In February 2024, we went to experience a new ski operation in East Kazakhstan, Altay Mountain Lodge, and our minds were blown.

It felt like Japan in many ways, but with aspen trees, Siberian pine, and spruce. And no other people – like being at a backcountry lodge in Canada, where you have a whole tenure of terrain to yourself for the week.

The living is super comfortable and well thought out – this operation is the creation of longtime professionals in the lodge-based ski guiding realm. Four spacious modern yurts, along with a bathhouse and banya (sauna) make up the compound. Snowmobile assists get you deeper into the mountains, and a professional chef keeps you well fueled with high caliber cuisine all week long. Wild mountains, deep snow, and wonderful hosts.

THE JOURNEY

 

On this journey we travel to Almaty, Kazakhstan, a city of 2 million people right at the base of the mighty Alatau Range. These peaks rise to over 16,000’ (almost 5000m), and are worth a day trip to de-jet-lag and shake out the legs. A short taxi ride from the city, Shymbolak is the largest ski area in Central Asia. Here we enjoy an easy day of lift-accessed skiing, before journeying on to the Altai.

 

The next day we head for the airport and fly 1.5 hours to the city of Ust-Kamenogorsk in East Kazakhstan. From here, a 3-hour van ride takes us past the mining town of Ridder, into the mountains. Arriving in the dark, we load our bags and ourselves onto comfortable snowmobile toboggans for the 15 minute ride into the the yurts.

 

Here we have six full days of powder touring – with opportunities to explore these beautiful mountains and settle into the vibe of this amazing place. 

Overview
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ITINERARY  |  the flow

B = Breakfast included, D = Dinner included 

​Day 1 — ARRIVE ALMATY / SKI SHYMBULAK in the ALATAU RANGE

Almaty arrival day. As many flights land in the early morning hours, there is plenty of time for some easy ski area laps at Shymbulak, the largest ski area in Central Asia. The highest peaks in this range rise to over 16,000' (almost 5000m).  You may also consider arriving an extra day or two early to explore the city and work out the jet lag. We stay at a hotel in the city.

Day 2 — FLY TO UST-KAMENOGORSK / TRAVEL TO THE YURTS

We fly to Ust-Kamenogorsk in East Kazakhstan, about 1.5 hrs from Almaty. From here it's a 3 hour van ride, followed by a 15 minute snowmobile ride into the Altai Mountains. We settle into our cozy yurts for the week. B, D

Days 3–8 — SKI TOURING in the ALTAI MOUNTAINS

Six full days of exploring these beautiful mountains, seeking beautiful tree runs and powder snow. B, L, D

 

Day 9 — FLY to ALMATY

We say goodbye to this magical place and fly back to Almaty for our final night in Kazakhstan. B

Day 10 — DEPARTURE

Outbound flights can be planned for anytime on this day.​ B

Itinerary
Details
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DETAILS  |  the logistics

GROUP SIZE

This a small group, low ratio experience limited to 6 skiers & 2 guides.

COST INCLUDES

  • 7 days of guided skiing in the Altai Mountains and Alatau Range

  • 8 nights lodging (double occupancy)* including 2 nights in Almaty

  • Flights from Almaty to Ust-Kamenogorsk, transportation to/from the yurts

  • Most meals as stated in the itinerary, prepared by a professional chef

* single occupancy upgrade available in Almaty at additional cost.

NOT INCLUDED

  • Flights to/from Kazakhstan

  • Alcohol, some meals in Almaty

  • Additional activities outside of the itinerary

PRE-TRIP INFO

ARRIVAL

Fly into Almaty International Airport (ALA). There are many flight itineraries of varying lengths to get to Almaty, ranging from 18-26 hrs from the US west coast. Common connecting hubs include Frankfurt, Istanbul, Doha, and Dubai.

 

DEPARTURE

Departures from Almaty International Airport can be arranged for any time on Day 10.

ALTAI MOUNTAINS, 

KAZAKHSTAN

2025 DATES

Feb 7-16, 2025

Feb 14-23, 2025

10-DAY COST

$4650

CUSTOM DATES

Custom dates and itineraries are available for private groups and individuals. Please contact us for more info and availability.

Dates & Cost
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