It has always been our goal to employ village members in as many contributing roles as possible – as drivers, homestay hosts, yurt hosts, and cooks. Over the years we have developed deep relationships with a few friends in particular. Doing what we do without their help just wouldn’t be possible.
Yurt Host & Ski Guide In Training
Director – Kyrgyz Tours
From: Maman Village, Issyk Kul Province
Kasidin (aka Kas, aka Kasanova) first joined us in the fall of 2011 and has been working as our primary partner since. In addition to tackling behind-the-scenes logistics, Kas works together with Nurbek at the yurts each winter planning meals, cooking, keeping the fires burning, and generally making sure yurt life couldn’t get any better. Kas loves to ski pow, and is well on his way to becoming Kyrgyzstan’s next best backcountry ski guide. In the summer Kas works as a trekking, climbing, and mountaineering guide and has recently launched his own tour company, Kyrgyz Tours.
Nurbek, Aijarkyn & Family
Village Coordinators & Homestay Hosts
From: Ichke-Jergez Village, Issyk Kul Province
Nurbek (left) and Aijarkyn (right) – husband and wife, 40 Tribes village partners – pictured with Babushka (Nurbek’s mother) in the courtyard of their Ichke-Jergez home. The family is the first to train with us as homestay hosts, and has since welcomed more than 100 foreign guests into their village. Nurbek has been a critical player in our operations, helping to manage our relationship with the village and always finding a way (usually with the help of horses) to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. Beginning in 2014 Nurbek began working alongside Kas at the yurts as our “Chief Chef.”
Director – CBT Arslanbob
From: Arslanbob Village, Jalal-Abad Province
Hayat has been developing ski/snowshoe tours and a grassroots “ski school” in his village since 2006, with help from 40 Tribes since 2010. His infectious love for skiing has inspired dozens of local children and adults to hit the slopes in the agricultural fields above the village. 40 Tribes plans to work with Hayat and his partners in the coming years to advance their guiding skills and begin offering guided backcountry tours based out of traditional Uzbek shepherd’s huts. Please click here to learn more about Hayat, Arslanbob village, and the Kyrgyzstan Community Based Tourism Association (KCBTA).
Owner/Director – Suusamyr Freeride Base
From: Kara Balta, Chui Province
High in the Suusamyr Valley, not far from Bishkek, Kalibek is developing Central Asia’s first full-service snowcat operation, with cats imported from Switzerland and Finland. His lodge also began operating as a heli base during the 2011-12 season. Kalibek is Kyrgyzstan’s first splitboarder and a strong, skilled rider. 40 Tribes has worked with Kalibek to scout and assess the terrain surrounding his base – photos from many of our exploratory tours can be found on his website: www.suusamyr.kg.
Gear4Guides is an inspiring initiative aimed at providing guides from developing countries with the proper equipment to guide in their local mountains, ultimately helping to boost winter tourism, decrease unemployment, and raise the standard of living in certain local communities. Gear4Guides made their first donation of 2 complete touring setups to Hayat Tarikov (pictured above) in 2010, via 40 Tribes. Upcoming destinations for donated gear include Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, India, Iran, and Bulgaria. To learn more or to coordinate a sponsorship or donation, contact Olaf Sueters: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winter Wildlands Alliance is dedicated to preserving backcountry zones across the US used by skiers, snowboarders, showshoers, winter hikers, and climbers. WWA promotes human-powered backcountry travel and takes a strong stance against motorized travel in zones that are critical winter wildlife habitats. We are glad to be an official Backcountry Partner of WWA, and know they’d be proud of how we do things in Kyrgyzstan! To learn more about WWA’s initiatives and events, including the Backcountry Film Festival, contact Shelley Pursell: email@example.com.