Route: Almaty Region (Kazakhstan)
Best Period: December-March
Route Complexity: The route involves skiing only on the "black slopes" and using old soviet style drag lifts for pulling you up to the hill. For experienced riders only. Good physical training requires, it is necessary to have a set of avalanche equipment.
Height Difference: 500 meters, lowest point - 1900 m a.s.l., highest point - 2400 m a.s.l.
Description of the Ski-Base:
Elik-Sai Ski Basei is a freerider's dream! It is located 40 km far away from Almaty on the territory of the Ile-Alatau National Park in at the altitude of about 1900 m a.s.l. The base was opened in 2003 and almost immediately became very popular among the real fans of freeride skiing. The peculiarity of this base is its authenticity and simplicity, wonderful relief in the forest zone, variety of ungroomed slopes with steep gradient, as well as abundance of snow and successful exposition of the slopes. Here you will not find expensive cafes, chair lifts and luxury hotels, but this is the highlight. On the base there are 4 rope drag lifts with the hook type of the Soviet times, capable of pulling to height of 2400 m a.s.l., from where it is easy to reach the nearby Bukreev peak (3010 m a.s.l.). The base is also famous for the amusing names of some slopes, such as "vegetable garden", "bottle" or "bathhouse".
Departure from Almaty at 08:00 towards Besagash settlement, from where you will drive towards the mountains. After getting into the Kotyrbulak gorge, you will enter the territory of Ile-Alatau National Park. Then you will pass Almatau tourist base and soon enter Elik-Sai gorge with its small and modest ski-base.
Arrival to the base at approx. 09:00. Preparations, renting the rope hooks and short briefing about how to use them on drag lifts.
The most interesting part starts at 10:00. You are adopting the ascent on drag lift with using rope hooks and will start to ski on the local slopes, which are very diverse there. You will start from the main slope next to the second drag lift, then you will continue to ski in nearby located couloir «bottle» and wide slope "vegetable garden" with series of bumps with different sizes. After you will move to ski on the slope "bath-house".
At lunch time, you wil have a rest on the deck of a mighty pirate ship. Sunbathe, snacks, recovering and go to look for snow adventures again. In the afternoon you will be skiing in the upper part of the slopes from the third and fourth drag lifts. At the end of the day you will make descent to the neighboring gorge, where "Pioneer" ski resort is located. After making descent, you will have to walk a little in the forest to come back to Elik-Sai gorge.
* Also, upon arrival to the ski-base, depending on the weather and snow conditions and physical training of participants, an option of arranging backcountry on Bukreev peak will be considered.
Final descent at 17:00, packing stuff, memorable photo with new friends and local freeriders (this place can't be imagined without new friends, an exchange of experience and fascinating stories). Return to Almaty at around 19:00.
Poles (for skiers)
Avalanche equipment (ABS system or avalanche safety kit: shovel, probe and transceiver)
Freeride backpack with volume 20-30 litres with ski/snowboard fixation
Thermos with tea
Personal AID kit