New Entertainment Facility Opens in Almaty to Attract Tourists, Improve Infrastructure

ASTANA – A brand-new enterta inment facility, a rope park, was opened at the Shymbulak Ski Resort in Almaty. The park is built of ropes, logs and ladders, which are arranged to create barriers of varying complexity. The first level is designed for children and is only dozen centimetres off the ground. More complex routes are three and nine metres high. The more difficult routes are 140 and 170 metres long.

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Maksut Zhumayev, the acclaimed mountaineer, himself tries the new rope park he has built at Shymbulak.

The idea for the park comes from famous Kazakh mountaineer Maksut Zhumayev, who has conquered all the 8,000-metre peaks of the world without using supplemental oxygen. Zhumayev has 21 times raised the flag of Kazakhstan more than 8,000 metres above the surface of the Earth. He is the only Kazakh who has ascended Everest and K2.

This project represents a fresh approach to tourism in Kazakhstan. The facility offers entertainment like walking through the mountains on snowshoes and sledding on balloon tires. Zhumayev has also said that guides can walk people to nearby glaciers.

The Astana Times interviewed Zhumayev to find out more about his idea.

Does the idea of the project belong to you?

Yes, of course. Mountains are my home. I practically live there. I would like mountains to become more friendly and approachable for both locals and guests of the city. Also, I am at my peak: I have become the twelfth person on the planet to have conquered all the 8,000-metre peaks of the world, I have a family and children and now I want to think and achieve something more.

I have chosen this project because it’s close to my nature and it’s new for our country. For me, the success of this project has more value and significance than all my other achievements, since those I accomplished for myself and this project is for my country.

In your opinion, how could this project affect domestic tourism?

My new project, Kazakh Alpine Club, is something amazing. From year to year it will allow people to make nature more comfortable for the people.

I ask for grants and state support, but I do not need money if I do not have people. Our main aim is to unite the nation. How do people use leisure time actively today? Ride their bikes, go mountain climbing, rock climbing, and the usual hiking—none of these require any financial outlay. Most importantly, they don’t require any expensive infrastructure. It’s simple: Find the courage and desire to just go out into the countryside.

1359691936Overseas, facilities like these have existed for more than ten years. We will build benches, arbors and bridges over streams. Our people will have infrastructure for energetic leisure activities. They will have places to rest, special points where tourists can drink spring water and more.

We signed a memorandum on cooperation with the Austrian Alpine Club in October. That means we are recognised. The Austrian side will provide us with instructors and technology, and they will fulfill their own interests.

My goal is to create infrastructure for tourism in Kazakhstan that is meeting worldwide standards, including having security systems. We can also create some additional services. For instance, we will build nomadic tents. They’re a national symbol, part of our culture, and they are unique.

Will the park be suitable for children?

Absolutely. We have built campgrounds, hiking trails and a snowshoeing track for children. We have already thought of the next set of improvements; for example, I would like to construct a house for children to have some rest between activities. We do this for our children; for the world we live in to become a brighter, more positive place.

How long did it take to build the park?

It took us four months. But it was preceded by six months of design work. We chose the site for the park, we read about similar experiences around the world. We decided to partner with the Ukrainian company Alpine Park. They build modern rope tracks in Europe, the Ukraine and Russia. Parks have been built around the world for a hundred years now. We are just joining into this culture. It is not an attraction. No, it’s a way to create a positive impression.

Shymbulak is an expensive vacation. Do you plan to make it more affordable for visitors?

Absolutely, as right now, this is unique in our country. Currently, we are working on another project. I have already held talks with the director of Gorky Park.

Our target audience is families, so we have to make the park as accessible and safe as possible. Children can ride on balloons while parents walk on snowshoes. Visitors will associate our park with clean air, sport and positive emotions. This vision gives me strength and hope to keep moving toward our goals.

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