Chimbulak ski resort in Kazakhstan is more than 2,000 meters about sea level and only 25 km away from the city. It is found in Zailii Alatau gorge with an average snow thickness of 150 cm. The snow cover is consistent from November all the way to May. Average air temperature in winter is -7°C and a pleasant 20°C in summer
As early as the 1930s Kazakhstan is known by many as an ideal place for skiing. It is a huge country with a number of majestic, snow-capped peaks. Near the end of the 1940’s, amateur skiers stumbled upon a perfect ski area along the Chimbulak tract. It had a long, natural mountainside for a thrilling downhill ski. There are also a unique snowpack and other unique features that make it ideal constructing a ski resort in this spot. After a few years, the first downhill route in the country was established along Chimbulak’s mountainside. In 1954, a fully functioning Kazakhstan ski resort began operating in the area, complete with a tract, cottages, a canteen and ski club. Proper facilities were built and equipments were provided, which included steam heating, electricity and chairlifts.
A number of Soviet skiing competitions were held here in the 1950s, which easily helped Chimbulak to earn good reputation as the premier Kazakhstan skiing resort. In 1961, the Silver Edelweiss Prize open competitions featuring slalom, giant slalom, downhill skiing and ski triathlon were held here and organized by the Kazakh Board for Sport Associations and Organizations. In 1962, all skiing activities of the former Soviet Union were held here. For five consecutive years, the USSR National Championships took place in Chimbulak.
A couple of decades later, the ski resort became the country’s official resort for training future ski participants in the Olympic Winter Games beginning in 1983. More and more tourists began arriving and so the entire area was developed to include a 4-storey hotel, the Chimbulak Hotel. The hotel has 220 rooms, a medical center, sauna and high-speed lifts. The new chairlift was 2 kilometers long with a 600-meter vertical drop. In 1985, the resort finally received international attention. The International Skiing Federation approved and endorsed the international competitiveness of Chimbulak, specifically the Chimbulak-Talgar route for downhill skiing, and the Chimbulak route both for slalom and giant slalom. Leading international skiers became comfortable and familiar in Chimbulak that they created track nicknames such as Skew, Pipe and Women’s Pit, to mention a few. Today, however, there have not been any major international ski competitions held in the area since the collapse of the former Soviet Union.
There are four chairlift routes in Chimbulak. The first one leads to the Crossingtrack with a vertical drop of 400 meters; the second route begins from “Crossing” station to the “20th tower” for a vertical drop of 300 meters; the third is from the second station to Talgar Pass” with a 250-meter vertical drop for 860 meters long; and finally the fourth (quad) lift takes skiers to the “Cone”, for a vertical drop of 500 meters and 1,730 meters long.