Winter Sports in Jyrgalan
Explore Kyrgyzstan's premiere destination for freeride skiing and snowboarding.
In Kyrgyzstan’s Jyrgalan Valley, winter adventure-seekers find a paradise of opportunity. Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and more. Backcountry, freeride, or off-piste — no matter what you call it, we have it. And, without the crowds.
Located just 60 km from Karakol, Jyrgalan’s slopes and guesthouses are just far enough off-the-path from the main tourist circuit through the Issyk-Kul region that you’re virtually guaranteed a relaxing and adventure-filled winter vacation.
But what makes Jyrgalan so special for winter sports?
Perhaps it’s the fresh powdery snow blanketing the seven surrounding mountain peaks in the Tian Shan Mountains. It could be that welcoming bite of fresh, cool air on your cheeks as you step straight from your guesthous doorstep and directly into nature — no long car transfers and not a queue in sight. Besides the wind in the trees, the only thing you’ll hear is the whir of the snowmobile as it tows you to your mountain peak.
This is a choose-your-own-adventure destination, where freeride and backcountry ski options range from beginner to advanced (and even extremely advanced if your adventurous skills are up to the task!). Adventurers of any skill level can enjoy the snowshoe and snowmobile tours.
The Issyk-Kul region has long been Kyrgyzstan's preeminent destination for winter sports and adventure activities. Jyrgalan stands apart from the rest, however. Come experience the village charm of Jyrgalan while we offer you the slopes, equipment, and support you need to experience winter adventure like never before.
When to visit: The winter season is open from December to April.
Renting gear: Visitors can rent a full range of winter gear appropriate for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing from the Alakol-Jyrgalan Guesthouse. If you’re visiting with a large group (5+ people), you must book several days in advance to ensure we have the gear to support your winter adventure. With advance notice, snowmobile services are also available to support ski tours or tours of the Jyrgalan Valley.
Getting here: The Jyrgalan Valley is located 60 km from Karakol. Visit our transportation page for precise information on getting here. Then browse our guesthouses to find the perfect place to stay during your visit.
Skiing and Snowboarding (Freeride and Backcountry)
Backcountry, freeride, or off-piste — no matter what you call it, we have it. Just steps away from your guesthouse in Jyrgalan village is a snowy paradise for adventurous skiers and snowboarders. Awake to blue skies, bright sunshine, and seven mountain peaks offering challenges for any level of skier or snowboarder: beginner, moderate, experienced, advanced, and extreme.
Jyrgalan’s perfect combination of raw, natural beauty and countless miles of snowy terrain put this village on the map as Kyrgyzstan’s best destination for adventurous winter sports. Discover the backcountry routes preferred by locals, or rely on your own experience and instincts to find your own powder. Every guesthouse in the village can support your days on the slopes by offering hearty meals, advice, and technical support. Simply book a place to stay, contact the DMO for tour/gear support, and let us help you ski the best powder in Kyrgyzstan.
Note: Snowmobile towing services up the mountain are available — 5,000 som per person, minimum two snowmobiles required per rental day. Several days advance notice is required; ask for further information at the Destination Jyrgalan office.
See Jyrgalan's Freeride Skiing in Action in the Videos Below
Snowshoeing and Snowmobiling
While freeride skiing and snowboarding are arguably the most popular winter sports in Jyrgalan, there are a surprising number of other winter activities available. Locals and travelers alike love the fun of snowshoe and snowmobile adventures. That same powder that you enjoy on skis is also fun when you snowshoe to nearby local attractions such as Tulpar Tash, the Chunkur Tor Mountains, and the Eki Chat Valley.
Destination Jyrgalan offers half- to full-day tours that allow you to conquer peaks, valleys, and sights in a unique way, and at a slower pace than when you whizz down the slopes. That said, for an adrenaline-fueled experience, organize a full-day snowmobile tour (tandem) that takes in all of Jyrgalan Valley’s highlights. All snowmobile tours require several days advance notice. Snowmobile rentals/tours start at 5,000 som per person, minimum two snowmobiles required per rental day. We can accommodate families, groups, and independent travelers. Just get in touch to organize your ideal winter activities.
Reward yourself and/or your group after a day of skiing by relaxing in one the saunas in Jyrgalan village.
Relax in a traditional Russian banya.
Chase away the chills when you book a few hours in the intimate, traditional Russian banya at Ulan Hostel. Within moments of stepping inside, you’ll understand why the Russian sauna experience is appreciated all over the world. Fits up to three people. Cost: 100 som per person, per hour.
Revel in a unique Finnish sauna experience..
Finished in 2017, this Finnish-style sauna holds six to eight people in its warm confines. Located at the Alakol-Jyrgalan Guesthouse, it’s a surprisingly unique way to loosen your weary muscles. Cost: 1,500 som per hour, minimum of two hours (1,500 som per additional hour).
Note: Both après-ski sauna experiences require one-hour advance notice to heat the saunas.