Avalanche & Ski/Snowboard Mountaineering Courses
Without avalanche forecasting or reliable rescue resources, the Kyrgyzstani backcountry is truly a wild frontier. For those with the necessary training and experience, however, the little-explored Tien Shan Mountains offer up a huge winter playground. If you are inspired by the idea of a ski adventure in Central Asia but are new to the backcountry, join us for an avalanche or mountaineering skills course and gain the confidence needed for safe travel in remote mountain environments. All of our courses are yurt-based, meaning plenty of field time and a degree of intimacy that you won’t find elsewhere.
We offer introductory (Level 1) and intermediate (Level 2) avalanche courses that are based on the Canadian Avalanche Centre’s Avalanche Skills Training (AST) program. The CAC is recognized worldwide as a leader in avalanche safety education programs. Both courses focus heavily on in-field learning, and are custom-tailored for remote mountain environments where avalanche forecast programs are not in place, and where there are few or no professional guides or advanced rescue resources. Participants will receive a certificate from the CAC at the end of the course.
Level 1 Course Goals
- Provide a basic understanding of avalanches (types, characteristics) and avalanche terrain
- Address and practice decision making and risk management in avalanche terrain
- Gain experience with trip planning and preparation
- Practice avalanche response and rescue
- Upon completion of the course, participants will feel confident preparing for and safely carrying out an independent trip in the backcountry
Level 2 Course Goals
- Provide an in-depth understanding of avalanche formation and release
- Address nuances in terrain and snowpack characteristics
- Practice trip planning, route finding, decision making, and risk management in avalanche terrain
- Gain proficiency in carrying out a rescue
- Upon completion of the course, participants will feel confident conducting a thorough assessment of snowpack and terrain hazards and carrying out a rescue
Ski/Snowboard Mountaineering Courses
Our mountaineering courses are designed for skiers and riders who are increasingly pushing limits in the backcountry and are looking to gain critical skills for staying safe in remote, big mountain environments. The custom-tailored curriculum includes Level 2 avalanche certification and focuses on approaching and carrying out backcountry tours and mountaineering objectives where few, if any, avalanche forecasting and rescue resources are available. Instructed by Greg Johnson (ACMG Splitboard Guide and CAA Avalanche Instructor) and Ptor Spricenieks (Salomon Athlete and Ski Mountaineering Legend), these courses are guaranteed to be rad!
In addition to the Level 2 goals outlined above:
- Provide a basic understanding of technical route finding, climbing, and steep skiing/snowboarding techniques
- Address and practice decision making and risk management on steep, exposed terrain
- Gain experience with anchors, technical rope systems, and belaying
- Practice using your ice axe and crampons, including techniques for self-arrest
- Gain skills for carrying out a crevasse/cliff rescue
- Upon completion of the course, participants will feel confident preparing for and safely carrying out an independent ski mountaineering trip that involves ascending and descending technical terrain
2015 course dates TBA.
EMAIL US for additional information or to schedule Level 1, Level 2, or Levels 1-2 Avalanche Courses by request.
Group Size: Min 5-max 7. Individuals are welcome to register.
Experience: Participants must be advanced to expert level skiers or splitboarders, with at least 1 year off-piste/touring experience. If scheduling a course for a private group, ALL members must have comparable physical abilities and backcountry skill sets. Participation does not require previous avalanche safety certification or glacier travel/ski mountaineering experience.
Prerequisites: Participation in the Level 2 Avalanche courses requires previous Level 1 certification via a recognized avalanche course provider (or equivalent). Participation in any course requires a good command of the English language.
Gear: We require fat powder skis (minimum 108-115mm+ underfoot…the fatter the better!) and splitboards for snowboarders. Trust us on this one. Kyrgyzstan’s bottomless continental snowpack is one of the most unique in the world – you must be able to float big turns, at speed. Participants must be prepared with essential touring and avalanche safety gear, as well as required personal mountaineering gear.
Physical Requirements: Participants must be in excellent physical condition, and comfortable touring for long distances and carrying their own backcountry packs. Tours from the yurts will typically offer 400-1000m in vertical gain, to maximum elevations of around 3,600m.
Get acquainted with our amazing guides!
While we are training our local partners to work in the Tail Guide position in the near future, we employ France and Canada-based professional ski and splitboard guides in order to provide our clients with the highest quality backcountry experience. Our Lead Guides, Ptor Spricenieks (La Grave, France) and Greg Johnson (Nelson, British Columbia), both have excellent area knowledge and extensive personal ski/splitboard mountaineering resumés.
Get acquainted with the amazing terrain accessible from the Jalpak Tash Yurts:
Yurt-Based: All of our standard avalanche and ski mountaineering courses are based out of the Jalpak Tash Yurts. We can additionally coordinate custom expedition-style courses in other ranges in Kyrgyzstan.
Village Stay: All of our yurt-based courses begin with an overnight in our partner family’s home. The homestay experience includes an amazing traditional dinner, comfortable sleeping arrangements, and breakfast before we begin our tour to the yurts the next morning.
Good Food…And Lots Of It: That’s right, courses are fully catered. Our local partners will accompany the group to host, cook, clean, and manage yurt chores.
You coordinate your transport and lodging independently.
40 Tribes Travelers
Make it easier! Let us arrange your transport and lodging for you.
Let us arrange comfortable, private, direct transfers for you or your group between Bishkek and Karakol, where you’ll meet our guides. Also includes one night lodging in Karakol and one night lodging in Bishkek at the tail end of the trip (can be further customized to fit your needs – more or less days in town, as your schedule allows).
Click here for additional information.
Register before August 1 and receive 5% off
Groups of more than 5 always receive 5% off
*Only one discount may be applied per registration