YouTube has a marvellous 8-minute film that tells a great deal about Kazakhstan, Almaty and, of course, skiing as seen in March 1996 – Skiing in Kazakhstan by Warren Miller. Things hadn’t changed much from when I arrived in Almaty in 1993 – this film shows the city, the mountains and the ski area that I remember so well.
Various scenes touch on: people selling things on the street, handling meat at the Green Bazaar, eating the sheep’s head, scarcity (including toilet paper), and music, including a singer with a gravelly voice near the end. The highlight naturally is Chimbulak (now Shymublak) and skiing, including the broken-down single seat chair lifts mentioned in my book, West Meets East in Kazakhstan.
If you would like to know more about the making of the movie, click here for a description by Chris Anthony who was part of the film crew. It nicely describes the flavor of life in Almaty in 1996 just as the film captures a great deal of it.
In the film, you can’t miss seeing Karlygash Makatova, who acted as guide as well as interpreter for the visiting group. Spot Renzie Duncan, the Australian who was developing the ski area (he appears at approximately the 4.27 minute to 4.31 minute spot wearing the red/white/black jacket). Also, Keith Kragg, the man who ran the popular Capos restaurant featuring pizza and other popular dishes.
Learn more about Kazakhstan by reading my book – West Meets East in Kazakhstan. This consists mainly of articles I wrote for The Almaty Herald newspaper in the 1990s and later years. The book is about my perceptions as an American expatriate of life in and around Almaty in the 1990s. The book is available in soft cover or as an E-book through publisher AuthorHouse, and the websites of Amazon and Barnes & Noble. In some countries, the book may not be available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble if they do not store copies in their overseas warehouses.