In Шымбұлақ: If you’re visiting Almaty between November and May, do yourself a favor and visit the Shymbulak Ski Resort, located in the Tian Shan mountain range. The resort is also known as Chimbulak (in Russian, rather than Kazakh) and is a quick 25 minute drive from downtown Almaty. Unless you have a car with a V6 engine, be sure to park at the bottom of the mountain (just before Medeu Ice Skating Rink) to take the gondola up. If you don’t ski or snowboard, you can hire an instructor for the day or just ride the gondola to the top where you’ll find gorgeous views and restaurants serving pizza, sushi, sandwiches, salads, tea, Italian roasted coffee and of course, vodka.
Here’s the view from the restaurant area: