During the very first Silk Road Freeride competition in Kyrgyzstan, skiers and snowboarders from countries along the Silk Road compete for the coveted Snowleopard Trophee. It is a 5-day event where local free-riders are prepared for the real thing. Drivers from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Georgia, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iran will be present anyway. Pro-riders train them from Europe and the United States. The ultimate goal is to send Silk Road freeriders to the Freeride World Tour.
The event was set up by the Dutchmen Peter Hofman (Ryce Travel) and Olaf Sueters (Gear4Guides), in collaboration with the American Stacy Bare (Adventure not War) and the Kyrgyz Maksat Aitkulov (Ryce Travel). They started this non-profit project to allow local winter sports enthusiasts to join a global sport such as freeriding. It is also a way for local freeriders to develop confidence in their abilities and to represent their own country on an international stage.
The first edition will take place in the city of Karakol, in eastern Kyrgyzstan. This place receives the most snowfall in Central Asia and has a small ski area that is suitable for freeriding. To the west of the city of Karakol lies the gigantic Issyk Kul lake. The second-largest mountain lake in the world (after Lake Titicaca in Bolivia) is fed by hot springs and therefore does not freeze in winter. On the contrary, it ensures a microclimate with considerably more precipitation.
The first two days training sessions are given in the Karakol ski area. And the last days the participants are dropped with a Pistenbully. Meanwhile, the riders are staying in traditional yurts near the village of Jyrgalan. On the day of the competition, pro-riders will be the jury of the event, and the winners will be highlighted.
Because this event runs entirely on volunteers, the organization is looking for the necessary sponsors/donors. You can find information for this on their website silkroad-freeride.com. You can also book a trip and travel to Kyrgyzstan yourself in the week from 18 to 26 January 2020. Look at rycetravel.com for this.