The Chimbulak ski resort is known not only in Kazakhstan, many tourists come to the slopes of the Zailiysky Alatau from the vast expanses of the CIS. Back in the forties of the last century, ski enthusiasts discovered the Chimbulak tract, which has everything necessary for perfect skiing – a unique snow cover with unsurpassed grip and glide characteristics, a long slope and a variety of terrain.
According to wholevehicles, Chimbulak is adjacent to the world-famous Medeo alpine skating rink.
Chimbulak tracks are open around the clock.
How to get there
Almaty can be reached by planes of all major airlines, including Aeroflot, Pulkovo Airlines, Lufthansa, KLM, or by train (citizens of the CIS do not need a visa to enter).
From Alma-Ata to the resort is 25 kilometers, the first part of which can be overcome by bus number 6, going to Medeo. You can get from Medeo to Chimbulak by car or on a brand new lift. A group of tourists can order a transfer from the airport or railway station to Chimbulak (a bus for 22 seats in both directions costs 40,000 KZT), or on a “private” (be sure to bargain, the original price can be overstated ten times). If you are traveling by car, then directly on Chimbulak there are parking areas and guarded parking.
Weather in Chimbulak
The climate of Chimbulak, located at an altitude of 2260 meters above sea level, is also almost ideal – there are 90% of sunny days a year and the sun warms even in severe frost, snow lies from November to May, and the average temperature in winter is -7C.
All eight ski slopes of the resort are located on the northern slope. The variety of routes is represented by a green, blue, three red and one black runs. In addition, the snowpark has two tracks: for balloons and snowboards. Night skiing is possible.
The length of the longest route is 3620 meters. The elevation difference on the slope is more than 900 meters (from 3163 to 2260 meters). The width of the tracks is from 100 to 600 meters. In addition to gentle slopes for beginners and more difficult trails for advanced skiers, Chimbulak offers off-piste skiing, a half-pipe for snowboarders, and a special mogul track. The downhill and giant slalom courses are FIS certified and are among the world’s top ten difficult tracks.
Four queues of chairlifts, seven tow lifts, a free towing lift and a baby lift are lifted onto the ski slope.
Ski pass and ski service in Chimbulak
The cost of lifting each line of the chairlift will cost 700 KZT, one lift on the drag lift – 300 KZT. A day pass costs 9500 KZT for an adult (4500 for a child) on weekends and 6500 KZT for an adult (3000 for a child) on weekdays. There is a workshop for the repair of ski equipment. And everything missing for complete skiing happiness can be bought at a sporting goods store.
The resort’s ski and snowboard schools are very popular. There is a children’s town with entertainment programs and competitions, sledding, balloons and ice boats.
Right in the middle of the slope is the “Upper Bar”, where you can drink green tea, hot wine or cold beer in ski boots, practically without being distracted from skiing. You can have a good rest after the descents, you can sit with a large company in the Chimbulak cafe, which is located at the foot of the slope. BBQ and homemade lunches are served here.
For an evening rest, a cafe in a bowling alley is suitable (by the way, there are also tables for billiards and Russian pool), where you will be offered snacks, hot dishes (appreciate Kazakh cuisine), cocktails and other drinks.
In February 2011, Chimbulak hosted the participants of the 7th Asian Winter Games – slalom, super gyrant and downhill competitions were held here.
In the Issyk Gorge, which has opened up in the mountains of the Zailiysky Alatau, which is east of Alma-Ata, there is Lake Issyk, the sad history of which is known throughout Kazakhstan and beyond. In the summer of 1963, a mudflow that descended from the mountains from the Issyk River swept away a natural dam in its path, located in the western part of the lake, causing its complete devastation in a short period of five hours. During the Issyk mudflow, which is recognized as one of the most powerful in the territory of the former Soviet Union, the city of Issyk was seriously destroyed and many people died.
History of Lake Issyk
The age of Lake Issyk is approximately 8-10 thousand years, and the cause of its occurrence is considered to be a powerful earthquake, during which a large piece of rock fell into the river, thereby blocking it. Before the catastrophe of 1993, Lake Issyk was a very picturesque place: colorful green shores covered with Tien Shan firs, quiet bays, piercing blue of the water surface – all this created an idyllic and very romantic atmosphere here.
They say Lake Issyk has a character: its water changes color depending on the weather. When the sky frowns, the lake seems to turn gray, and under bright sunlight, the water becomes blue, turquoise or green.
Before its lightning-fast mudflow devastation, the lake was 1850 m long, and its width and depth were 500 and 80 m, respectively. Today, Lake Issyk is half the size: it was still possible to restore it by installing a new dam instead of the one destroyed by the mudflow and installing devices for draining water. Now many residents of Alma-Ata and its environs come to these places for vacation.
Nature near the lake
The Issyk lake area attracts those who appreciate proximity to nature, peace and quiet. Rocky gorges are stretched around the lake, alpine meadows and dense forests are spread, filled with many different representatives of the fauna. Many local plants are listed in the Red Book: Kungei feather grass, golden adonis, Cossack juniper, Schrenk spruce, edelweiss and others.
In the reserve, which is located above the lake, young spruce trees were planted instead of trees destroyed by the mudflow, and where there used to be water, thin, very young birches now grow. Together with the ruins and huge remnants of rocks, they do not let you forget about the tragedy that once happened. The fauna of the Issyk Lake is also very interesting and diverse. The finicky rainbow trout lives in its clear and cold water, preferring spring water. More than 150 species of birds and about 30 species of animals live in the surrounding area: here you can see mountain goats and graceful lynxes, wolves, bears and many others.
Rest on Lake Issyk
The most popular months for recreation on Lake Issyk are July, August and September. However, many people come here all year round, because even in winter Issyk has a charming power. They say that the lake has a real character, its water constantly changes color depending on the weather. When the sky frowns, then the lake turns gray, and under the bright sunlight, the water becomes blue, turquoise or green, and you can look at this calm beauty endlessly.
How to get there
Lake coordinates: 43.253056, 77.484722. Travel time 1.5 hours from Almaty (about 70 km).
Route: along the Kuldzha highway to the city of Issyk, along the main road we move to the market, then after passing the bridge, turn right at the second traffic light (traffic light with an arrow). Then we go up, not turning anywhere. By car, you can drive almost to the very lake – only the last 3-4 km must be walked.
If there is no car, then the lake can only be reached by a sightseeing bus of one of the Almaty travel agencies.