Trip in Trans-Ili Alatau

With Shymbulak all but tracked out, we had followed our trusty guide to Almaty’s other main ski resort, Akbulak. It was a good move. We arrived to vast amounts of new snow and no lift lines for the top half of the mountain. While Rage’s ridge-top traverse did remove a decent amount of ski base, he once again served up the goods. Below us lay a steep gully, 40 meters wide, which snaked its way down through the trees. It was absolutely stacked with powder and yet held no ski tracks. To call that run ‘fun’ would simply dishonor the word fun; it was simply unreal. Every time I stopped to take in the moment I would look around to see and witness Mark and Hamish either airborne off a pillow or drowning in cold Kazakh powder. Russian, Kazakh or English; it didn’t matter what language you spoke that day. You could read it on everyone’s face; powder days are the best days. Steep, cheap and deep!