Chimgan: Snow Conditions & Ski Report

Chimgan: Snow Conditions & Ski ReportChimgan: Snow Conditions & Ski Report

Chimgan-Beldersay area is an attractive place for adventure and tourism lovers

Table of contents
– Location geography and history
– Climate and seasons
– Tourism attractions and abilities
– Private guesthouses
– Other accommodation facilities
– Cultural attractions
– Accessibility
– Protected areas
– Physical and social infrastructure
– Population and economy
– Local self-government
– Source

Location geography and history
Chimgan-Beldersay area is located in the territory of Ugam-Chatkal National Park and is part of Bostanlyk district (Tashkent region). Chimgan village is located 12 km from Charvak reservoir, one of the largest artificial water reservoirs in Uzbekistan. The area is intersected by Chimgan and Beldersay rivers.

Chimgan village is located in the mountain massive of dominant Greater Chimgan peak (3,309 m) of Chatkal range at an altitude of 1,620 m. The nearest villages are Yusufhona/Galvasay (24 km; 1,000 inhabitants), Yubileyniy (8 km; 750 inhabitants).

Chimgan village was settled 400-500 years ago, probably, by settlers from southern Central Asia. Some experts see Chinese words in the name “Chimgan” but others translate it as “sod” or “pasture abundant in water, green valley”.

Climate and seasonss
Climatic conditions in Chimgan are determined by the mountainous part of the Ugam-Chatkal National Nature Park. The climate is continental; there are seasonal and daily fluctuations. During the day it is warm, the evenings are cool. Spring comes in April in the mid-mountains; in the high mountains there is snow and cold until midsummer. The highest temperature is in June-July and early-August. Mean daily temperature of the warmest month (July) fluctuates from 20 to 35?C. Average annual precipitation is 650 mm. Heavy snowfall is in winter, which allows ski tourism development. Snow cover lasts for 4-5 months. The frost period lasts about 130 days.

Tourism attractions and abilities
The wide variety of Chimgan and its surroundings allows the development of landscape tourism. Mountains (Small and Greater Chimgan Peaks), plains, Gulkama and Novotasha waterfalls, and Charvak reservoir attract a lot of tourists from the capital of Uzbekistan and abroad. There are fishing opportunities in Chimgan, Beldersay, Nurekata, Gulkamsay, and Ishakkupriksay rivers. The Black Waterfall (40 m) at the lower part of Greater Chimgan Peak is a natural point of interest. Ugam, Pskem, Karjantau can be observed from the mountains. Another attraction is the geological features of Chimgan, such as the red color of hills containing iron oxide of the neogenic period. There are lava remains as well. Furthermore there is an interesting flora: juniper forests, flowers including tulips, eremuruses (desert-candles), bushes and alpine meadows. Argali, bears, marmots, eagles, partridges, owls, nightingales and other fauna species inhabit in this area as well.

The Chimgan Mountains are attractive for adventure tourism lovers. Sport and tourist infrastructure was constructed here in 1960s, such as skiing tracks, hotels, life-saving stations, paved roads and other facilities. Moreover, it became possible to develop ecological and ethnographical routes, as there are all necessary resources available.
Tourism in Chimgan is characterized by the following data. Peak period: up to 80-85% of the visits are in summertime, including late spring and early autumn. Winter has 15-20% of the visits, that are mostly related to winter sports and celebrating New Year;

Congress-tours, seminars are in demand in spring and wintertime for short periods.

In the village there are horses for hire. There are other services including transportation, food and accommodation services oriented to serve large-scale tourist enterprises (Chimgan Oromgohi, tourist centre). There are people that know foreign languages, such as English and German language teachers. The local population speaks Russian well. In Chimgan area picnics can be organized and local cooks can be invited for cooking.

Private guesthouses
CBT (community-based tourism) accommodation is based on home-stay facilities. 18 houses can receive guests, 15 of these can receive tourist groups. Houses are built mainly from local materials; some of the houses are built from bricks. Some have basins and hot water. All premises are provided with electricity. The guesthouse owners guarantee security and safety of tourists’ property.

Other accommodation facilities
There are private recreation centres called Sky Village and Edem, and comfortable tourist hotels like, Beldersay Oromgohi and Snow Leopard. Further details on these facilities are as follows:

Sky Village private recreation centre was constructed in 2002 for VIP holiday-makers. It consists of six cottages, satellite antenna, pool, playground, car parking place. The centre is guarded.

Snow Leopard hotel-restaurant began working in January 2005. It consists of three-storied buildings and includes 22 comfortable accommodations (standard, luxury, VIP), restaurant with 60 seats, billiards, Finnish bath, as well as game room for children.

Beldersay Oromgohi hotel was built during 1994-2000. Costs made up more than US$8 million. Payback is estimated within 15-20 years. Beldersay is equipped according to European standards, there is a heating and air-conditioning system, and worldwide telephone communication. On the 40 hectares site there are 16 cozy family cottages, helipad, and two tennis-courts. Nearby there is start of the seat ski lifting that delivers mountain skiers to the Kumbel track. The length of this track is more than 3,000 meters with an altitude difference of 765 meters. The centre has been working since 2001 rendering restaurant, disco, sauna, summer cafe, tennis-courts, and summer pool services. Cost per day is US$90 (standard) and up to US$252 (VIP). In cottages: standard is US$60 (four beds), up to US$350 for six people VIP.

On the left bank of Charvak reservoir there is Charvak Oromgohi recreation centre. Although it is not included in Chimgan-Beldersay area it could be useful for establishment of ecological routes in Ugam-Chatkal National Park. Three hotels Charvak-Oromgohi were built in the form of pyramids having 222 rooms of different classes including standard and VIP. Single room with three meals a day for seven days costs US$200; double room for the same period is US$360. Luxury rooms are from US$400 up to US$480, VIP is US$798.

Other services such as horses and transportation rent, guides and food are easy to get. There is a sandy beach, 800 meters long, and not far from hotels, that provides conditions for rest and recreation. There is a boating station, which provides launches, water motorcycles, skis, etc. Guides conduct excursions and tours in the surroundings. There are saunas, business centers (Internet, fax, copier), and a conference room for 150 people.

Cultural attractions
Ancient houses still remain in Chimgan. The population is traditional and keeps customs. Tailor work and other craftsmanship are developed. Historical periods are reflected in legends and songs. Folklore reflects national features of nomads. The synthesis of Kazakh and Kyrgyz songs and music performance is noticeable.

Gastronomy is also mostly traditional, particularly use of local mountain plants. Dishes are based on milk products (koumiss), eggs and meat. Almost in every family there are production traditions that are handed from one generation to the next, for example in metal and wood processing, embroidery, food cooking, food preservation and construction.

The village keeps traditions of Moslem behavior and morality. Many Moslem holidays are celebrated: Kurban-Hayit, Ramadan-Hayit and others. There are traditions came from zoroastrizm, particularly spring holiday Navruz (21 March). This day is celebrated with special course sumalak cooking (wheat acrospires broth), and also sweets and pilaw (a dish cooked from rice). Dances and songs are performed, sport games and competitions among youth (needlework, crafts, cookery) are conducted.

The village keeps Kyrgyz and Kazakh traditions and customs that stem from a former nomad lifestyle. There is a folklore company conducting the following activities:
– “Sunnattoy” holiday together with “goat drawing” sport competition;
– “Boychechak Bayram” snowdrop holiday;
– “Kok Samsa” and “Sumalyak” holidays;
– “Koumiss Murim” holiday – beginning of koumiss season;
– “Kyz Kuru” holiday of worthy suitor selection – try to catch up a bride;
– Competitions, national games (beshik, shekem tash, etc.);
– Exhibition of national crafts wares, folklore;
– Harvest holiday;
– “Beshik Toy” holiday;
– “Sogym” holiday.

Accessibility
Chimgan is located 60 km from Gazalkent regional centre and 40 km from Hojikent railway station. The closest airport having international and local importance is in Tashkent, 100 km away. A new expressway from Tashkent to Hojikent is paved with high-quality pavement; in some places there is artificial illumination.

Chimgan is further reachable from Gazalkent by public bus (50 min). There are bus routes Chimgan-Gazalkent (time of departure is 6:30 and 13:30) and Gazalkent-Chimgan (10:30 and 14:30). Private cars including taxis can also be used to get there. The road is accessible any time of the year, but in spring there can be limitations because of landslides and mudflows. In winter avalanches make the route dangerous. Alternative means of transportation are helicopters (but their use is limited).

Protected areas
Within the territory of Tashkent region there is Ugam-Chatkal National Nature Park occupying 576 sq km and Chatkal reserve occupying 22,000 hectares of land. Ugam-Chatkal National Nature Park is considered as a part of future West Tien-Shan Trans-Boundary Biosphere Reserve.

Physical and social infrastructure
There are two bridges across Chimgansay River; roads are of average and poor quality. The village is electrically equipped but during wintertime there are electricity interruptions. Heat is generated from electricity and firewood, gas is not supplied.
The village has outdated analogue telephone stations. It is more effective to use mobile communication (cellular operators). There is no Internet access available.

In Chimgan there are a kindergarten, library and school. There is no village medical station or chemist’s shop available and the population has to go for medical care to other villages. Water pipe system provides drinking water to 85% of the population. 90% of the population has access to irrigation water.

The main sources of information are television and radio broadcasts. Printed materials (newspapers, magazines) are scarce particularly because of high prices and delivery constraints.

Population and economy
The total population of Chimgan village is 2,230 (February 2005).

1,023 people are Kazakh (46%), 946 – Kyrgyz (42%), 132 – Tajik (6%), 85 -Uzbek (4%), 35 – Russian (2%), and less than 1% is representatives of other ethnic groups. Chimgan is thus mainly a Kazakh-Kyrgyz village with a corresponding way of living and mentality.

The population is largely depending on natural resources of the village surroundings, but some businesses have been established that provide some employment. Surrounding lands are important for producing fruits and vegetables, melons and gourds, and fodder crop are cultivated as well. Families get an income mostly from cattle breeding (50%); crop farming (26%); retail trade (8%); or tourist services (16%).

Having cattle is of high importance for families (both livelihood and capital source). 385 families have cows, 122 – horses, 300 – sheep and goats, 320 -poultry. 30 families do not have anything. These numbers of domestic animals on the one hand emphasizes the agrarian orientation of the village, and on the other hand causes extensive pressure on the natural resources.

The local economy is based on three sectors:
– Natural resource-based: production for own use (plant cultivation, vegetables and fruits particularly), cattle breeding for milk (cows), as well as horse breeding
and beekeeping;
– Service sector-based: work in summer recreation children camps, sanatoria, rest houses, tourist centers Chimgan Oromgohi and Beldersay Oromgohi;
– Commerce-based: food, milk products sale (koumiss, kurt, curdled milk), flowers and herbs, honey.
Local self-government
In Chimgan there is a local self-government – a village community committee, which consists of mahalla committees. It is a combination of a village community, elders’ authority, and representation of the governmental authority at the local level. It has an element of democracy as the head of mahalla committee is elected; decisions are taken collectively, after considering interests of the village inhabitants.

Financing of socially important programs, payments and support of population, cultural and educational policy is implemented through mahalla committees. The community participates in public activities such as building construction (school, workshops, local administration, shops, etc.) and water pipes, roads paving, river cleaning, agricultural activities, in other words those entities, which are assigned for collective use.

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