One of the most popular ski resorts in Uzbekistan – Chimgan – is located 80 km northeast of Tashkent on the slopes of the Chimgan Mountains at an altitude of 1600 m. The Chimgan Mountains are part of the Chatkal Range of the Western Tien Shan. The ski slopes are located on the northern slopes of the mountains, so the ski season here is quite long – from December to March. These places are part of the Ugam-Chatkal National Park, which protects the biodiversity of the mountain landscapes of the Western Tien Shan. It is worth remembering that at the entrance you will have to pay an environmental fee, as this is a protected area.
Back in the late 19th century, at the foot of the Chimgan Mountains, the Tashkent governor Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman built a holiday home, followed by the entire elite. The Chimgan ski area has 24 pistes of all difficulty levels. The maximum mark is located at an altitude of 1980 m. Slalom tracks of an increased level of difficulty, there are about 5 of them, have a height difference of about 400 m and are serviced by a chair lift, tracks for beginners have a height difference of 250 m and are serviced by a ski lift. In addition, in Chimgan there are many short rope tows that take beginners to gentle slopes where you can learn this sport. In Chimgan there is an equipment rental point and a ski school with experienced instructors. In addition to skiing, in Chimgan you can go snowboarding, freeride (heliskiing and backcountry) or ride snowmobiles, sleds and skates. During the summer, Chimgan offers numerous routes through the surrounding mountainous landscapes, horseback riding or paragliding.
Right at the foot of the slopes there are hotels, cafes and bars. The most extensive hotel complex in Chimgan is “Chimgan Oromgokhi”. This is not just a hotel., but a whole mountain-climatic resort. “Chimgan Oromgokhi” consists of several nine-storey buildings and many cottages. Its infrastructure includes a restaurant, a bar, a night club, a billiard room, tennis courts, a sauna, indoor and outdoor pools, massage rooms, indoor and outdoor sports grounds, 4 conference rooms, a business center, a laundry and a currency exchange office. Also, tourists are offered three-star hotels “Sky Village” and “Red House” and two-star “Snow Leopard” for accommodation in Chimgan. These hotels were built at the beginning of the 21st century. The first two are made in the style of alpine cottages, they have a developed infrastructure, which includes a restaurant, a bar, a nightclub, a conference room, a business center, a sauna, a solarium, 5 km from Chimgan on the slopes of Mount Kumbel (2200m) at an altitude of 1600 m is the Beldersay ski resort. The maximum height of the complex reaches 2880 m, so the ski season here is longer than on Chimgan, it lasts from November to April. The elevation difference in Beldersay is about 700 m. Most of the slopes are aimed at confident skiers and snowboarders and are classified as “black” and “red”. Their length ranges from 500 to 1200 m. All tracks are divided into three ski areas: the upper one, which is served by a ski lift, the lower one, served by a chairlift, and the extreme skiing zone with non-rolled snow fields. Also, the slopes of Mount Kumbel are popular among freeride enthusiasts (heliski and backcountry). It is worth remembering that many virgin slopes are prone to avalanches, so you can go here only with experienced instructors, whose services are offered at the ski school. In summer, Beldersay turns into a major mountain-climatic resort, travel in the mountains. For accommodation there is a health-improving center “Beldersay Oromgokhi” with an area of 50 hectares, consisting of hotel buildings and cottages. “Beldersay Oromgokhi” has a restaurant, several bars, a conference hall, a business center, a laundry, a first-aid post, a sauna, indoor and outdoor pools and a billiards room, tennis courts and mini-football fields.
Just below the ski slopes at an altitude of 890 m on the southern shore of the Charvak reservoir, there is another mountain-climatic resort “Charvak Oromgohi”. The resort consists of three comfortable hotels, which have restaurants, night bars, saunas, massage rooms, a conference room and a business center. In the summer, a large number of tourists accumulate on the beaches of the lake, here you can swim and sunbathe, ride boats and catamarans or go fishing. In winter, skiers wishing to go in for heliskiing go to Charvak Oromgohi, as there is a helipad on the territory of the complex. Heliskiing is a descent from mountain peaks on skis and snowboards through virgin snow fields, where tourists are delivered by helicopters. Similar descents in the Chimgan Mountains are carried out at altitudes from 1500 to 4100 m. MI-8 helicopters are used to reach the peaks. The optimal group size is 15 people.
According to Petsinclude, another popular winter sport in the Chimgan Mountains is backcountry. It combines elements of hiking, mountaineering, skiing and snowboarding. Tourists go to the virgin slopes on foot. Climbing takes about 2 hours, after which descents are made.
In the summer, the Chimgan Mountains attract hikers. The slopes of the mountains are covered with juniper and apple forests, thickets of wild rose and barberry, stormy mountain rivers flow here and numerous lakes and waterfalls are located. Excursions to the Ugam-Chatkal National Park, the Chatkal Reserve and small villages where you can taste Uzbek cuisine depart from local resort complexes.
Ugam-Chatkal National Park was created in 1990 in the gorges of the Chatkal Range. Its territory has been little changed by human activity and is designed to preserve the mountain ecosystems of this region. The area of the park is 574,600 hectares. Its administration is located in the small town of Gazalkent, located 60 km northeast of Tashkent. on the left bank of the Chirchik River. The difference in altitude within the national park (from 1000 to 4000 m) determined the diversity of climate and vegetation. Here you can see not only mountain forests, but also mountain steppe, alpine meadows and highlands with glaciers and snowfields. Walnut, apple and cherry plum grow in the middle belt of mountains, from a height of 1200 m and above – mixed forests with a predominance of juniper (juniper), mountain ash, birch, maple, apple, wild cherry and hawthorn, at an altitude of about 2000 m – juniper woodlands, at an altitude above 2500 m – subalpine vegetation. The park preserves the habitats of about 48 species of various mammals, among them wild boar, white-clawed bear, badger, wolf, fox, porcupine are common, roe deer, Siberian mountain goat and snow leopard are less common. About 200 species of birds have been recorded in the park, including 130 nesting ones. Here you can see different species of eagles, falcons, owls, pigeons, doves, buntings, thrushes, flycatchers, tits and warblers. 20 species of fish live in the reservoirs of the park: marinka, naked osman, char, Tashkent perch, Turkestan catfish, Chatkal sculpin. Issyk-Kul and rainbow trout are also found in the Charvak reservoir.
The Chatkal Biosphere Reserve is located in the southern part of the Ugam-Chatkal National Park.. It was organized in 1947. The area of the reserve is 45739 hectares. Its territory consists of two sections – Bashkyzylsay and Maidantal. The first is located on the southwestern slopes of the Chatkal Range at an altitude of 1100 – 3247 m, the second is on the hard-to-reach northern slopes at an altitude of 1200 – 3800 m and is more than 30 km away from the first. The landscapes of the reserve are represented by mountain slopes with juniper forests, high mountains with alpine low-grass meadows, as well as xerophytic mountain meadows and steppes. The reserve is famous for its waterfalls and caves. In addition, in the southern part of the Maidantal site on the rocks near the banks of the Tereksai River in the Karasau tract, you can see unique ancient rock paintings. These are Tereksai petroglyphs. There are hunting scenes here. Fishing is possible in the reserve. Of the fish, marinka and Amu Darya char are common here. Also in the Chatkal Reserve are very interesting ornithological tours.