The Tien Shan – better known as “Heavenly Mountains” to the Kyrgyz people – live up to their name. These gigantic mountains protrude impressively from the Kyrgyz steppe landscape and offer a vast amount of possibilities for lonesome mountaineers. In Winter 2012 four Austrian skiers departed on a journey of discovery to ended up at the foot of the Tien Shan. Very welcomed by a friendly culture and stunningly beautiful scenery with its wide-open range, pearly-white glaciers and
crystal-clear lakes, the guys felt comfortable and set back in time, when a herd of horses and sheep together with their shepherds sparkled along their entire route into the deep nature. The adventure started in Altin Arashan, in the east of Kyrgyzstan, and led to the mighty mountains in Ala Archa, south of the capital Bishkek. Soon it became clear that skiing was not the most essential of this trip: too beautiful was the scenery, too interesting and enjoyable the people who accompanied them, like the porter, cook and warden of their lodging and last but not least too dangerous were the snow-covered slopes. “How foolish is it to set out one’s life, when one is not even owner of the morrow.” Some words of Stas Oleinikov, the Kazakh warden in Altin Arashan, describing the
circumstances of the skiers pretty well. However, the luck should not have left them. In the second part of the trip, the efforts of the guys were rewarded. In the Ak Sai Arena of Ala Archa they found perfect conditions to ski the dreamed-lines in Kyrgyzstan. From a unique bivouac at 4000 m altitude the guys started into the surrounding steep ice walls that had not seen a skier yet. “I am of the opinion that people who spend a lot of time in the mountains are developing certain mental properties like being calm and balanced, unlike the harried pace of life in large cities.” So intoxicated by these entirely new impressions the four Austrians got on their flight home three weeks later.
“The feeling when a snowpack the size of several football fields subsides is that intense that one will remember it forever. There had been a lot of intense moments on this journey, from heavy vodka causalities, to bitterly cold nights and wonderful experiences with the locals along with perfect moments with nature. Even more this journey cemented a strong bond between us as skiers and friends.”
“Kyrgyzstan was quite hard but also amazing. I remember the worst day after two weeks of searching for safe snow conditions; the whole crew had hit rock bottom and just wanted to fly back home. I was the only one who wanted to stay for another week, even though the chances of finding good and safe skiing were kind of low. Miraculously we regained our motivation to hike up 2.000 vertical metres with 30-kilo backpacks and slept for one week in a super cold shelter were some mice ate all of our sweets and chocolate. But in the end we were blessed with perfect skiing conditions.”
We are a professional ski and mountain sports film and photo production from Innsbruck/Tyrol, Austria. We produce advertising films and image clips and we are specialized in exceptional time-lapse and drone shots.