Karakol Ski Base

Karakol Ski Base

The Karakol Ski base (Baza Karakul) is just an 11 kilometer drive Southeast from Karakol and 400 km from Bishkek. It situated at an altitude of 3040 meters above sea level on the slopes of the Tien Shan mountains.  The Ski base is the highest in Central Asia with the highest starting point for skiing higher than 3400 meters. In Soviet times, it was used to conduct training for the country’s Olympic team. In 2004, the base was completely modernized. Today Karakol is an ideal place not only for training athletes but also for outdoor activities.

The base is located at an altitude of 2300 meters above sea level, among the majestic coniferous forests. The mild climate, due to the influence of the ice-free high mountain lake Issyk-Kul, will allow you to get the most out of skiing. In winter, the air temperature rarely drops below -5 degrees within a day, and a large number of sunny days allows you to ride and sunbathe at the same time. The ski season starts in November and lasts until April.  The elevators only go to until little more than 3000 m which is quite impressive anyway. There are several slopes in the area good from beginners to more advanced skiers. Over 20 km slopes can satisfy both an experienced skier and a person conquering the mountain slopes for the first time. Here is space for both freeride lovers and those who prefer to ride on well-groomed tracks. The ski area is wide, spacious slopes on the virgin soil, and on specially prepared slopes. The length of each descent varies from 400m to 3.5km. Most tracks run through the coniferous forest. You can ride at any height. The difference in elevation is 740 m, the minimum slope is 7%, the maximum slope is 53%. The panoramic top offers views of the next five-thousandths peaks and the high-altitude lake Issyk-Kul.

Moreover, the base offers an ice rink, the ice was prepared by professional equipment of the famous Canadian company ZAMBONI. There are skates of all sizes at the box office. Besides, the isolation of the slope makes sledding absolutely safe. So children can have fun on their own while their parents are skiing. However, the width of the slope allows you to slide at the same time as a family or a large company.

You can also stay overnight in the hotels/hostels in the area and rent all the necessary equipment. Meals and drinks are also available in several locations. Definitely, the most advanced skiing place in Kyrgyzstan though not comparable to European standards in quality. The resort is worth visiting even without skiing as the views to Issyk Kul and Karakol are great and the nature around the base is great. The developed infrastructure allows anyone to visit the ski base “Karakol” at any time of the year and enjoy outdoor active and therapeutic recreation such as koumiss treatment. It is the general name for a healing process that uses fresh mare’s milk.

Karakol skiing center in Kyrgyzstan near Issyk Kul
View over Karakol town from the skiing center at 3000 m

how to get to Karakol Ski Base

If you are by car drive towards the Karakol river gorge and turn left at the junction that goes towards the Ski base and the nature reserve in the same area. The fastest and most convenient way to get there is by taxi, will be about 1000-1500 KGS for both ways. By public transport from Karakol you can take a minibus 101 from the bus station, it will be about 10 som. The bus goes till the begging of the Karakol valley then you need to walk about 40 minutes. 

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