High jinks at the Almaty Mountain Sports Festival

High jinks at the Almaty Mountain Sports Festival
By Daleen Hassan
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Encircled by a range of breathtaking mountains, Almaty is Kazakhstan’s jewel in the crown.


Encircled by a range of breathtaking mountains, Almaty is Kazakhstan’s jewel in the crown.

Culture, sports and adventure have shaped it into the largest metropolis and tourist hub in the country.

In the Shymbulak resort, a forum on developing mountain tourism in Kazakhstan took place during this year’s International Mountain Sports Festival, which was packed with sporting activities and competitions.

“When we tackle a project, the environment comes first, and then we think about the comfort and the good standard of living for both residents and tourists, says Yerlan Zhailaubay, head of Almaty’s Tourism Office.

“That’s why we invest a lot in infrastructure, and we invite the best experts to come and share their practices.”

European experts joined the debate to showcase new trends in improving infrastructure for mountain eco-tourism, mainly in ski resort facilities.

But how do we strike the right balance between boosting the tourism market and upholding international standards in environmental preservation?

Fabrice Saussac, the chief executive of Epod Company, says: “When there is a major project the environment is the priority. We do field diagnosis, we study the fauna and flora and then we adapt our project to the Eco system.

“In that way we limit its impact on the environment; or aim for a neutral effect. And the same applies to ecological issues such as noise pollution.”

“Expanding eco-tourism is a top priority in Almaty, and mountain sports are a key attraction for locals and foreigners,” says Euronews’ Daleen Hassan.

What better way to fully see what Almaty has to offer than really getting involved in the mountain sports themselves and paragliding at 3200 metres over its varied and unique landscape?

The climbing competition for teenagers on natural terrain during the mountain festival took the challenge to new heights. The competition wants to increase awareness and participation of mountain sports among Kazakh teenagers,

Lankova Valeria has been practising climbing for four years, and she aspires to become a professional climber representing her country in international competitions.

“It is an extreme sport, we travel to different towns and countries, we gain a lot of experience, and it is good for the health, says Valeria.”

This year’s mountain biking competition brought together 43 bikers from different regions to the valley of Medue for the race.
Adventures such as these, on two wheels, make extreme sports more affordable and accessible to everyone.
Almaty’s national champion knows intimately the potential the area has to attract more and more adventure-lovers to sporting events such as these.

Mountain biking has” been developing dynamically and quickly, says Kirill Kazantsev.

Each year when I take part in international competition, I feel that the level is getting higher.
As a mountain biker, I know that our Republic fits all the criteria needed for such a sport, not just biking but any outdoor sports.

Almaty has full bodied plan in place for the development of its tourism industry by 2023. It is striving to put itself on the map as a top destination in central Asia.

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