Kyrgyz Ski Resorts Review: Kashka-Suu
Now the season is officially open, we start reviewing ski resorts in Kyrgyz Republic. There are at least ten of them close to Bishkek only, as mentioned earlier in the first part of our ski resorts guide. As not all of the ski resorts are open due to the lack of snow, we've started with one of those already operating, Kashka-Suu.
The history of the resort goes back to 1976 when it was just launched as a part of 'Kyrgyzelectrodvigatel' (Kyrgyz Electric Motors) factory. A skiing club was organised having as members not only those employed by the factory, but many others too. Planned for reconstruction in 1985, the ski resort actually was renewed only in 1991 after the Soviet Union's collapse.
Now it is one of the popular destinations for skiing and snowboarding. This season the resort was one of the first to open. Currently, the resort is open during weekends and holidays only, though there are plans to switch to a full week operation.
The resort is only 35 km away from Bishkek, which is only an hour drive in average. The road to the resort is the same road to the Ala-Archa National Park, only you take a turn to the left, when you see the road sign with the names of three ski resorts. And while the part of the road before the sign is pretty good, a rough bumpy road starts after you take the turn. An SUV is highly recommended, though it is still possible to get there on a light vehicle.
The resort does not have the most modern infrastructure. That means you will get a paper ticket instead of a smart card. Being told we have to show it every time, luckily we never had to after we showed it once at the very beginning. Another thing might surprise you is a safety chain instead of a bar, but again — luckily after a couple runs you just get used to it. There are two types of ski lifts — the main one is a two-seat ski lift and the other is a bar.
The slopes are 2 km at longest and there are several runs. And while they won't keep interested advanced skiers and snowboarders for long, they are still more attractive than those of some other ski resorts. There is even a couple of small ramps, but they are easy to miss as they are not marked. Downside is the slopes are not groomed, which is a disappointment and something the owners must pay more attention to.
Generally ski lift ticket prices are comparatively low in Kyrgyz Republic. Kashka-Suu charges KGS 1,000 (~$15), which is almost in line with the resorts, which have a better infrastructure. The resort also has a small restaurant onsite and offers accommodation in a small hotel, which is probably not an option assuming you stay in Bishkek and it is just a one-hour drive. For those not willing to drive, the resort provides its transportation services.
Bottom line is Kashka-Suu is certainly an interesting option with a terrain not too easy for advanced skiers and snowboarders. Not the most modern lift, still not just a bar, but a two-seat lift makes it available both for skiers and snowboarders. If it switches to a full week operation and start charging less for working days, as all other resorts do, as well as if it gets the slopes groomed well, it is definitely gaining more attention.