This season Kazakhstan enjoys surprisingly warm weather, perfect for engaging in winter sport activities, such as visiting a snow ski resort “Altaic Alps” in the eastern Kazakhstan.
“Altaic Alps” is situated 24 kilometres away from the regional capital of Ust-Kamenogorsk, on the slopes of the Ulbinka Mountain, 660 metres above the sea level. It attracts winter sports enthusiasts from around the country and the neighbouring Russia.
Here travellers can dive into a unique world such as mixed forests of fir and pine, larch and aspen, springs with healing water, and enjoy excellent ski slopes during the six months of the year, from November to April.
Beautiful nature, diversity of the services provided, as well as proximity to the city and good transportation logistics made “Altaic Alps” a nice place for a country holiday, while wide slopes have made the ski resort one of the best in Kazakhstan.
Skiers of absolutely any level and skills can find suitable routes on the slopes for skiing children to professional tracks, enjoy their time in Alpine coffee bar, visit a famous banya (Russian bathhouse) or stay in comfortable rooms and cottages at the location.
In 2014-2015, the resort offers 10 slopes of varying difficulty for skiing, including a gentle training slope to learn skiing and snowboarding, as well as plenty of places for free riding. By the next ski season, a few new ski slopes will be constructed, including the longest 3,400-metre one.
To learn holding balance or master the art of skiing or snowboarding, visitors have an opportunity to work with instructors during free joint classes or paid individual trainings. The resort also provides a wide range of adult and kids equipment rental services, from skis, snowboards, sleds and ice skates to goggles and helmets.
In winter, “Altaic Alps” is often used as a venue for hosting various local, regional and national competitions, including amateur competitions “Friendship Cup”, “Altai Alps Cup” and others.
The end of the ski season in spring does not lead to the closure of the resort, as starting from April the “Altaic Alps” offers horse and donkey riding and rents summerhouses, while during autumn and spring holidays, it organizes Children Camps.
In winter, the resort, though most famous for ski services, also provides other activities, particularly driving on the snowmobile or quad bike, snow tubes and an ice skating ring.
For those who would like to combine usefulness with pleasure and improve their health, the resort established a wellness centre in 2010. All year round the centre provides clients with a diverse complex of services, including SPA-procedures, health-promoting services (oil/herbal/alkaline inhalation, physical therapy, reflexology, etc.), weight-loss procedures and pantotheraphy, a unique medial treatment available in eastern Kazakhstan.
Pantotheraphy uses an extract from the horns of the maral, a large, semi-wild deer native to Kazakhstan, and most widespread in the Altai Mountains. Its horns, called “panty,” are covered with velvety bristles, which contain a biologically-active medicinal substance in combination with hormonal properties.
“Altaic Alps” offers a healthy and affordable way to spend any holiday. In 2014 “Altaic Alps” ranked 6th at the Travel.ru list of the CIS ski resorts by the cost, with the budget per person amounting to $81, including hotel accommodation for two in a three-star hotel or a mini-hotel within a radius of fifteen kilometres from the lift, dinner in a cafe within walking distance of the hotel and an all day ski pass (lift pass).
Ust-Kamenogorsk has long been a capital of winter sports in Kazakhstan, rivalling Almaty and Astana. The Kazakhstan hockey school hails from the local team Torpedo (currently Kazzinc-Torpedo in the Supreme Hockey League) that has produced Olympic and world champions for the Soviet team, as well as more than 20 players for various NHL rosters. Ust-Kamenogorsk is also a home town of world-class mogul skiers, Yuliya Galysheva, a junior world champion from 2012 and World Cup stage winner from December 2013, and Dmitry Reikhard, who was placed fifth in the men’s competition at the Sochi Olympics last year (Galysheva finished seventh in the women’s competition).