I am just returning from my first trip to Central Asia, Kazakhstan to be specific. I was there with Espen Fadnes shooting with Warren Miller for their next ski movie. We had some good fun speed riding with my new Mutant 11 with Five Ten logo
Speed Flying Central Asia - JT Holmes
We were Heli skiing out if an M8 with the worst communication ever between us, pilots, guides. Our guides name is Vitaly but he goes by the name Rage. His guide pack is tiny. I asked him if he was had a rope and he said "I have one at home". I responded "me too". The guy is a time bomb. He crashes every single run. You just watch him ski and wait for him to detonate.
Good thing we are used to looking out for ourselves.
The Heli is massive and has five blades. There is a guy who puts a ladder out for us to climb down to the ground with. Together we achieved a hell of landing/ exit of Heli. The most intense on my career. Has to jump several feet to loose rocky ridge. Was very happy to be outta there and with my skis.
In general Kazakhstan is very nice. Does not feel under developed at all. There is oil there so people have money and drive nice cars. Walk into a ski shop and it looks like any USA ski shop, restaurants, bottle shops, parks etc... They all seem very similar to USA style. We did make it to the outskirts of Almaty where we saw less rich middle class lifestyles in action.
The food is good. Lots of lamb and horse. Onions and tomatoes.
Differences are that on every lift tower at the ski resort they bump hard core rap and hip hop. Lots of F bombs and N bombs blaring in your ear instead of peace and quiet. The snow was okay and we worked hard and had good skiing and flights. We trashed our skis on the sharp rocks, but it was well worth the opportunity to explore the TienShen mountains.
Looking forward to come home soon.