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
2013-14 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: Individuals are welcome to register. Courses are capped at 8 participants.
Experience: Participants must be confident skiers or riders (high-intermediate to advanced level), but do not need to have extensive off-piste/touring experience. Participation does not require previous glacier travel or 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 strongly recommend fat powder skis (minimum 100mm underfoot – the fatter the better!), and splitboards are required for snowboarders. Participants must be prepared with essential touring and avalanche safety gear, as well as required personal mountaineering gear.
Physical Requirements: Participants must be in good physical condition, and comfortable touring for long distances, carrying their own backcountry packs, and engaging in field-based lessons and scenarios. Ascents from the yurt range from 400-1000m in vertical gain, to maximum elevations of around 3,650m.
Get acquainted with the amazing terrain accessible from the Jalpak Tash Yurt:
EMAIL US to get your hands on hi-res digital copies of aerial and topo maps. Also be sure to check out our Terrain Gallery.
Village Stay: All courses begin with an overnight in a village home. The homestay experience includes an amazing traditional dinner, comfortable sleeping arrangements, and breakfast before we begin our tour to the yurt the next morning.
Good Food…And Lots Of It: That’s right, courses are fully catered. Our local partners will accompany the group at the yurt to host, cook, clean, and manage yurt chores.
You coordinate your in-country travel independently. Grab a taxi to Karakol from the airport or Bishkek bus station and our guides will greet you there.
40 Tribes Travelers
Make it easier! Let us arrange comfortable, private, direct transfers for you or your group between Bishkek and Karakol, where you’ll meet our guides.
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