Almaty is about to host the 2017 Winter Universiade, a competition in winter sporting events for young people from 17 to 28 years old.  It will be held from January 29 through February 8.  Competitors from about 60 nations will participate.

The Universiade is a big event for sports people but it is also a significant tourist occasion for Kazakhstan.  The organizers anticipate that up to 2,000 athletes will participate, 30,000 tourists and guests will come to the city for the events, and up to one billion TV viewers will see the competitive events, and much of Almaty as well.

The operating cost of hosting the event is expected to be near US$ 52 million, a figure that seems not to include the capital cost of building or upgrading facilities and structures.  I have not yet seen any estimate of likely revenues.

Almaty naturally will be disrupted by the influx of athletes, coaches, supporters, reporters and their technical people and mobile TV vans, as well as spectators who are attracted to events such as these.  As with any city hosting a large event, Almaty’s already crowded streets will become more jammed than usual, schools will be closed, hotels hopefully will be crowded, some venues will be closed to the public except as spectators or will have limited access (Shymbulak ski resort), and so on.  Yet there are rewards, some long lasting, for the city:

  • Half the goods and services for the events will be supplied by domestic businesses.
  • Up to 4,200 jobs have been created for the event.
  • 3,000 volunteers will have the opportunity to do something of benefit for their community.
  • More importantly, many of the venues have been upgraded and two are completely new – the Almaty Arena and the Halyk Arena – and all will be available for the future use of residents of Almaty.
  • An Athletes Village with a capacity of up to 5,000 people has been constructed for the Universaide’s participants.

City officials intend that, with the current facilities as a platform, a comprehensive sports infrastructure will be developed in Almaty which will allow the city to continue hosting the highest-level of winter sports competitions.


Alpine skiing
Speed skating
Nordic combined
Ski jumping
Figure skating
Freestyle skiing
Ice hockey
Short track


Shymbulak Ski Resort
Medeu High-Mountain Ice Rink
Sunkar International Ski Jumping Complex
Baluan Sholak Sports Palace
Alatau Cross-Country Skiing and Biathlon Stadium
Almaty Arena
Halyk Arena
Tabagan Ski Resort

Photo:  The logo for Universiade 2017 is taken from the official website at


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