Winter pleasure in Uzbekistan— A place for skiing and winter games
When I started my journeys in the land wonders—Uzbekistan, I considered it just a living museum of mankind spread from Khiva to Samarkand because I had no information available kin books about Uzbekistan as a destination of ecotourism and winter tourists and skiing lovers. However when I had opportunity to see and visit Uzbekistan more deep in villages, I thought Uzbekistan is the best place for ecotourism (click here to read article about ecotourism in Uzbekistan by same writer) activities and development and my visits to a small village of Samarkand namely Mitan Kuchara (click here to read article about Mitan Kuchara in Russian)gave best lessons of ecotourism development and management.
As much as my exposure to Uzbekistan increases, my interest in this country manifold and I came to know that Uzbekistan is quite attractive in winter for skiing and other extreme to moderate nature excursions and winter is best season for skiing in beautiful mountains of Uzbekistan. So there is a misconception that Uzbekistan is a tourist paradise only for culture lovers and middle aged people who are interested in Islamic heritage, culture and archeology. But, it is not true—really it is not true indeed.
Just 80km away from capital city of Tashkent, Ugam-Chotqol National Park offers a resort that is Chimyon-Chorqoq-Beldersoy is stretches out in the western spurs of the Tian Shan – the Celestial Mountains. On the magnificent mountain sides of the Chimyon (popularly known as Chimgan), situated at the height of 1,600-2,400 meters above sea level, snow covers the tops from October to May.
The word “Chimgan” or “Chim yon (Чимган in Russian)” is translated as “green grass”, “green valley”. Local ski slopes meet International Ski standards. Relatively mild climate, almost no wind makes descent excellent for winter recreation.
The slopes of the Big and Small Chimyon (popularly known as Chimgan) are considered the fine place for skiing and snowboarding. Descents from an untouched snow cover in these mountains are usually organized at the altitude of 4,100-1,500 meters above sea level.
Barely accessible to ordinary skier the tops, ridges and spurs are selected for free-ride lovers by experienced guides. Top qualified helicopter pilots are available to drop thrill-seekers to the starting point of descent. It is possible to perform four or five descents with total 5-7 kilometers run-up. Mi-8 helicopters are usually used to drop tourists to the starting points. It can take aboard not more than 24 people, including three crew members, two guides and one expert on avalanches. The number of athletes served counts 18 people, while maximum number of persons onboard is 15.
The most popular descent from the dominating top of this mountain area is Big Chimyon, which has a height of 3,309 meters above sea level. A stunning beauty view of the whole resort area is opened from this top. Outlines of Tashkent could be seen in the west and Karjantau ridge is in the north-west. This is a favorite place for free riders. Peaks of Chotqol range are barely visible from the south-east. Looking to the south-west, one can see snow-covered tops of Kuramin range. Looking closer one can see hotels, houses and lots of buses at the foot of Big Chimyon. This is the resort “Chimyon Oromgohi.” The six-kilometer route of the descent ends here.
Slopes of Pskem valley are most picturesque in the region. First of all, these are descents from the tops Padir and Kaptarkumish with the height more than three and a half thousand meters. Skiers and snowboarders can move around the iced surface of the exotic mountain lake Ihnach-ko’l or finish their descent on the valley overgrown with shrubs and trees. A rapid descent on the surface of iced mountain rivers – the glaciers Tekesh and Eastern Ayutor on Maydontol ridge leave quite unforgettable impressions.
The descent from the Davon pass in Chotqol Mountains has its special charms as well. The length of this track, ending on the high-mountain Angren plateau, is eight kilometers. For masters of free-ride, it has no special difficulties, but for the beginner it is of great impressions of life.
Those who decide to make a breathtaking skiing from mountain peaks in the western Tian Shan are to be escorted by experienced guides who are always ready to share with some secrets of free-riding. They have a communication system, transportation, necessary equipment and medical kits with them to manage any skiing related accident.
Tourists have not to worry about meals. Everyone preferred a heli-skiing program will have the opportunity to learn the world of eastern hospitality and delicious local cuisine of Uzbek people. Those in diet will also be taken into account. You only have to inform tour operators.
Heli-skiing program tour is meant for 8 days. And all these days, you will feel comfort and delight from bright impressions. Later, remembering the beautiful places in Chimyon, Chorvoq, Beldersoy, you will dream to return here.
Backcountry is for those who are confident skiing out of bounds and are ready to get a serious workout in order to ski some pristine territory. Backcountry combines elements of alpinism and snowboarding with elements of technical skiing (jumps from rocks and cornices, etc.). Depending on skier’s levels, different options can be offered. Mountaineering takes 1-2 hours (not including approach and downhill ride). Special alpinism skills are not required.
Avalanche beacon, avalanche shovel, first-aid kit, snowshoes. It is advisable to maintain radio contact between the participants of the group, as well as carry an avalanche probe. For the mountaineering to Big Chimgan, it is necessary to have a rope 50m x 9mm, harness and helmet.
Weather and snow conditions in winter (average):
January: The weather in January varies greatly. Snow conditions are unstable (heightened avalanche potential) in all regions, and in all areas offered for skiing. During this period, the density of the snow is low, friable; there are many stones and rocks barely covered by snow. In January there are more days with so-called “flat lighting”. And it is necessary to take into account that the daylight hours are rather short in January.
Recommendation: backcountry can be carried out only according to the rules of safety. Descents can be made only from ridges and well- marked bowls in well-known areas.
February: The weather in February remains calm. Snowfalls are rare. There are few sudden changes in the weather. The air temperature rises in the daytime, but falls to below zero at night. The snow pack becomes more stable, but the possibility of avalanches still exists.
Recommendation: backcountry can be carried out only according to the rules of safety. Descents can be made only from ridges and well-marked bowls in well-known areas.
March: The weather in March is characterized by its turbulence. Long periods of bad weather followed by long periods of good weather. The air temperature rises in the daytime to considerably above freezing, but in nighttime falls to below zero. Snow pack becomes stable during good weather. In periods of bad weather, the probability of avalanches rises sharply.
Recommendation: Back country can be carried out only according to the rules of safety. Descents can be made only from ridges and well-marked bowls in well-known areas.
I believe this is time to kick off for winter tourism in Uzbekistan and ecotourism travel also (Read ecotourism opportunities in Uzbekistan to click this link)—Why not visit this winter?