Yurts, yahtzee and peak skiing in the former Soviet bloc
Photos and words by Kene Ezeji-Okoye
It’s 5am and I’m slightly delirious. With our connecting flight in Turkey cancelled, we’d spent the night on the floor of an airport in Istanbul, arrived at our destination in Kyrgyzstan a day later than we’d planned, and we were already in trouble.
I’m traveling with five friends who met while living and working in the French Alps. John, Will, Pete and Mark have all since moved back to London while Matt and I both continue to keep the dream alive in the Alps. We’ve made a habit of planning ski trips regularly and over the years have explored a lot of what European skiing has to offer. We were ready to discover what skiing is like further afield.
We’d heard stories about the ex-Soviet bloc Kyrgyzstan – a small central Asian country sharing a border with China – home to huge mountains, deep, untracked powder snow, and an atmosphere reminiscent of the wild-west. Hopefully the stories we’d heard about the snow would hold as true as the outlaw mystique had already proven itself to be.