Winter Activities in Karakol
Enjoy cold-weather adventures in the Tian Shan mountains.
When the weather cools and the snow begins to fall, Karakol and the Issyk-Kul region become a winter wonderland of activities and adventure. Offering visitors one of the largest and most modern ski resorts in Central Asia, as well as a variety of niche multicultural experiences and rich culinary traditions, Karakol is the ideal base for winter adventurers.
In Karakol, you’ll find a destination ready to meet your every need. If you’re visiting for the slopes, you’ll find everything from snowboarding to free-ride skiing and snowmobiling. Prefer soft adventures instead? Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing provide the perfect way to enjoy the beautiful mountain views at a slower pace. If you’re traveling as a family, your children can giggle their way down the sled-friendly slopes, glide across outdoor large ice-skating rinks, or relax as you paddle them across Issyk-Kul's calm waters in a kayak. And once you leave the slopes and snow, a sauna on Lake Issyk-Kul offers an experience unlike any other. No matter the type of winter adventure you prefer, you’ll find it here.
When to visit: The winter season is open from November to April.
Renting gear: Karakol is a full-service destination, offering visitors the ability to rent a full range of winter gear appropriate for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, paragliding, and more. Resorts and adventure companies offer gear rental for any activity offered, as do EcoTrek, Extreme Tour, and a number of other private outfitters in Karakol town.
Getting here: Many winter sports activities take place in the mountains very near to Karakol, making the city an ideal base for your winter adventure activities. Visit our transportation page for precise information on exactly how to get here, and use our accommodation directory to find the perfect place to stay during your visit. All guesthouses and hotels will help arrange daily 4WD transport to and from the nearby ski base or other outdoor destinations upon request.
Located just seven kilometers from downtown Karakol, Karakol Ski Resort is the largest ski base in Kyrgyzstan and it offers the perfect combination of trails, price, and ambiance. Take to the slopes with more than 20km of marked trails (each one from 400m to 3.5km), and don't miss the view on the way down — you'll have unparalleled panoramas of the Tian Shan mountains and Lake Issyk-Kul.
Renovated in 2008, this modern facility offers professional instruction and slopes for every skill level, from beginner to advanced. Snow blankets of at least one meter are normal, and the fresh powder is soft and low-moisture. With backcountry, free-riding, and off-piste options, it's truly a multi-service winter destination.
We offer the unique experience of overnighting in a yurt in the heart of the Tian-Shan mountains in winter! It includes all the fun of being outdoors, along with comfortable conveniences like well-heated yurts with beds, delicious homemade meals, snowshoeing walks, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding trips. Our camp in Kok-Jaiyk valley is located at an elevation of 2300 meters above sea level in Jeti-Oguz Gorge, offering views of the surrounding mountains, up the beautiful valley, through the snow-covered forest, and up to the wide open skies. Winter nights in Kok-Jayik give you the chance to get away from the stress of the city just a short drive from Karakol or Bishkek.
Escape the city and spend a beautiful winter day paddling through Przhevalsk Bay on lake Issyk Kul. The never-freezing lake, beautiful at any time of the year, is ideal for fun and relaxing kayaking trips. Set out to explore the Pearl of Kyrgyzstan, enjoying spectacular views of the Tian-Shan Mountains that surround the lake.
Winter transforms Kyrgyzstan into a snow-blanketed wonderland offering visitors a variety of seasonal recreational activities. Boz Uchuk valley attracts visitors with its year-round beauty, blue skies and bright sunshine. In winter, the area is prime freeride territory; imagine gliding along untouched slopes high above the clouds or simply close your eyes and listen to the quiet sound of serenity in a cozy yurt warmed against the chill of winter outside. This dream can become a reality at Boz Uchuk, a breathtaking backcountry ski area less than two hours from Karakol.
Our courses are a perfect introduction to cross country skiing – or for refreshing existing skills. It is not only a fantastic way of staying ﬁt, but also one of the best sports to discover the beautiful winter landscapes surrounding Karakol; the “home” of stunning views of the Tian-Shan mountains. New to cross-country skiing? This is just the place for you to start! We offer our guests an unforgettable experience of skiing in a quite and peaceful atmosphere. Join us and get to know the beauty of cross-country skiing accompanied by the best scenery!
Gain a new perspective on Issyk Kul's epic landscapes by getting high above it all. Spend a morning paragliding and be exhilarated by alpine breezes, lush mountain landscapes, and a birds-eye view of the skiers far below. All paragliding is done in tandem, meaning a pilot and one passenger ride together. The Sky Trial pilot controls the paraglider from behind while the passenger enjoys the views from the front with both hands free, so it's easy to photograph the stunning landscapes below. Winter flights leave from the Karakol Ski Resort (summer booking are also available, from a different location).
Weight Restrictions: Paragliding passengers must weigh a minimum of 50 kg and not exceed 100 kg.
Experience the snowy clime in a different way with snowshoeing and snowmobiling adventures located in the gorgeous mountains in the Jyrgalan Valley. Just an hour from Karakol, Destination Jyrgalan offers independent travelers unparalleled backcountry ski, snowmobile, and snowshoeing opportunities. Whether you're an avid free-ride skier or a family looking to explore the beautiful views from a snowy mountain peak, there are multiple options for these activities and more around Karakol. For even more adventures, Ryce Travel offers an inclusive tour with horseback riding, transportation and more while Visit Karakol runs snowmobile trips in the Karakol Gorge.
Bring your entire family to Karakol for winter fun! Most outdoor activities are available for the whole family (though do review the weight restrictions for paragliding). Karakol Ski Base offers affordable equipment rental and instructor services for children, as well as kid-friendly sledding and ice-skating. Destination Karakol also offers a range of family-friendly culture- and food-focused tours throughout the winter including a Dungan Family Dinner, Dungan Cooking Class, Cultural Dinner, Uyghur Family Dinner, Astronomy Tour, Crafts Workshops, and a Sunset Lake Cruise, all of which families can experience together and throughly enjoy.