The Most Prominent Ski Resort of Kazakhstan 




Shymbulak is the name of the most prominent yet famous ski resort in Kazakhstan. Built back in 1954 it was a training base for Soviet skiers. It is worth mentioning that in those days cable and gondola roads had not yet been built, so the athletes had to climb up the mountain all the way on foot, which took about three hours. After some time cableways, hotels, a Finnish bath, restaurants were constructed and since 1983 Shymbulak became the Soviet Olympic base for professional sportsmen.

After gaining independence, in 1997 two cable car roads of Austrian production were launched. The main reconstruction of the resort took place in 2011 due to the upcoming Winter Asian Games. The total length of the tracks has increased almost threefold, snow cannons were installed, allowing to start the skiing season earlier and finish the season later.

The resort is located in the picturesque gorge of Trans-Ili Alatau, just 25 minutes drive from the center of Almaty. Today Shymbulak is world-class ski resort. Shymbulak has 7 catering places, two hotels (one of which is directly on the mountainside), a ski shop and a service and repair shop.


The distinctive feature of the resort is the restriction for transport. You can not get to Shymbulak by car unless you have an electric car. The high-mountain skating rink Medeo has a barrier and a police car on duty that will not let you drive to Shymbulak. This is done to preserve the fragile environment of the place. You can get to Shymbulak in two ways - by fixed route taxi or by cable car. The cable car trip from Medeu to Shymbulak costs 1500 tenge in one direction and takes about 25 minutes. A trip on a fixed-route taxi will cost you 300 tenge in one direction.

Talking of prices, they are much lower compared to the European ski resorts. A daily ski pass costs 9500 tenge or about $ 30. You can have dinner in one of the restaurants for 2500 tenge. Daily ski or snowboard rent is 5000-7000 tenge, depending on the kit.

Shymbulak has long acquired the status of the best ski resort in Kazakhstan. This is not surprising, one can hardly find such an immaculate ski resort that close to the city. On weekends and holidays, the resort is full; there are kids with parents, young people who love rushing down the slopes and even people over 50 years old having a joyous time. Although there are several near Almaty, Shymbulak is and probably will long be the most popular and favorite ski resort of Almaty and Kazakhstan.

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