Route: Almaty region (Kazakhstan)
Season: April - June
Complexity: for fit experienced freeriders.
Maximum landing altitude: 3500 – 4200 meters
Length of descents: ~ 3000-5000 meters
Aircraft's type: helicopter MIL Mi-8. Capacity is up to 16 people.
There are few high-mountain areas near Almaty city with zones of glaciers and most favorable for organizing heli-skiing:
Cirque of Bogdanovich glacier. Located in the gorge of Sauryksay river, upwards ski resort “Shymbulak”. It belongs to the Left Talgar river basin. This cirque is very popular among tourists and mountaineers, as it has the maximum accessibility from the Small Almaty Gorge. The glacier is named after famous Russian scientist, geographer, geologist, ethnologist, Professor Bogdanovich, who researched the causes and consequences of the catastrophic earthquake in Verniy on January 4, 1911. The most popular and suitable for skiing in this area is the Karlytau peak with height of 4100 meters.
Cirque of Tuyuksu glacier. This area, first of all, is famous for the fact that there is a T-1 glacier station located there at an altitude of 3450 meters, which was built in 1956. The cirque of Tuyuksu glacier is the upper part of the Small Almaty river basin, flowing down from the northern slope of Trans-Ili Alatau ridge and located between Small Almaty and Kumbel spurs. The Central Tuyuksu glacier itself is symmetrically located in the center of the cirque closing the valley and stretches from south to north. This glacier is a classic valley glacier, with a clearly defined feeding area and an elongated tongue. The glacier is located on the slopes of Pogrebetskiy peak and flows into the valley. The slopes in the upper part have degree of 35-40ᴼ and are broken by numerous crevices. The most suitable for skiing are: Molodezhniy peak (4,150 meters), Tuyuksu glacier shoulder (4,150 meters), Pogrebetskiy peak (4,231 meters).
Glaciers of Ozyornoe (Lake) gorge. Ozyornaya (Lake) river has two sources, formed from melting of the glaciers flowing down from the main ridge of Trans-Ili Alatau. The main source originates on Ozyorniy pass, in the moraines of Perevalniy (Intersecting) and Cherniy (Black) glaciers. The second source begins in the circus of Timofeev Glacier of Kyzylsai Gorge, from the foot of the Tourist pass and Gryazniy(Dirty), Timofeev and Mutniy (Turbid) glaciers. Cirque of Ozyornaya (Lake) River occupies a vast territory and stretches in the latitudinal direction from the east to the west. The most favorable for organizing heli-skiing are: Satpayev peak (4,317 meters), Lokomotiv (4,209 meters), Ozyorniy (Lake) (4,130 meters).
Dmitriev Glacier. For the first time, the Ditriev Glacier was visited in 1936 by V. G. Gorbunov who gave named the glacier after S.E.Dmitriev, the first researcher of Trans-Ili Alatau glaciers. The glacier is the largest in the entire basin of Left Talgar gorge. It has tipe of hollow glacier. The glacier begins with the main range of the ridge, where in the center there is a peak located at 4468 meters above sea level, to the east of it there is the peak of CDKA, and further, in the southeast corner - peak of Constitution. Dmitriev Glacier is mainly facing the northeast. The average height of the rear walls of its cirque is determined at 4350 meters above sea level, the lowest part of the open tongue lies at an altitude of 3550 meters above sea level, ice buried under moraines can be traced to an altitude of 3300 meters above sea level and below.
Transfer by comfortable car or minivan from Almaty city to the helipad. Travel time up to 1 hour.
Preparation and testing of equipment, short instruction from the pilot and guide.
Transfer by helicopter to glaciers area.
Guided freeride skiing/snowboarding in the glaciers area. Spot for riding will be chosen by the guide according to the abilities of the participants, snow and weather conditions. Cirques of Bogdanovich Tuyuksu and Dmitriev glaciers, Ozyornoe and Kumbelsu gorges will be taken into consideration.
During one heli-day it will be possible to make up to six descents.
The lines of descents are passing zone of glaciers at an altitude of over 4000 meters, altitude sickness may be occured.
After the final descent departure to the starting point of the helicopter part of the program.
Transfer back to Almaty city by comfortable vehicle. Lunch on the way in local cafe in Almaty.
- Freeride skis/snowboard
- Ski/snowboard boots
- Poles (for skiers)
- Comfortable functional clothing for riding (base layer (thermal underwear), gore-tex jacket and pants, additional layers of clothing for insulation, downy sweater or vest)
- Avalanche equipment (air bag system and avalanche safety kit: shovel, probe and transceiver)
- Freeride backpack
- Goggles with a spare lens for bright sunlight and cloudy weather
- Thermos with hot tea
- Water tank
- Personal AID kit
- Snacks (bars, muesli, nuts, fruits, special mount nutrition)