No other city in the New East offers such easy access to skiable backcountry — a 30-minute drive from the centre of Kazakhstan’s former capital takes you to a number of nature reserve trailheads that will lead you to 700m vertical drops. While most Almaty residents prefer to ski and snowboard at the city’s recently renovated resorts Shymbulak and Ak Bulak, the city’s growing freeride community is exploring new lines in the neighboring peaks and valleys. The extensive network of summer hiking routes makes for punishingly steep ascents to peaks such as Three Brothers (2850m), Furmanovka (3000m), and Bukreev (3000m). Even when Almaty is clouded in smog (as it often is), it’s clear in the mountains, with views beyond Almaty out across the steppe and to the Tian Shan bordering Kyrgyzstan. Low mountain temperatures keep fresh snow light for days and the near absence of any backcountry skiers means that bowls of powder and steep lines through untouched forests are entirely yours for the taking. In Almaty, the ski season lasts nine months: brothers Sergei and Vladimir Ivanovskiy of Adrenalinic Silence lead backcountry expedition to higher summits like Peak Tourist (3935m) in June.
There are routes you can book here.
Video (there are subtitles in English): Freeride and backcountry 2018. Kazakhstan, Almaty.