Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
While Kyrgyzstan may not be on the top of your list for your next ski destination, a new film “Silk Ride” shows that the Central Asian country has both the terrain and local stoke that’s up to par with more familiar mountain destinations, and the skiers there want to show the world that Kyrgyzstan has a place in the international ski community.
The 16-minute film, produced by Team Thirteen in partnership with Adventure Not War, follows pro skier Ahmet Dadali and Stacey Bare, an Iraq War Veteran, who’s on a journey to ski in and give back to the countries where he was once deployed as they travel to Kyrgyzstan and join forces with some key members of the ski community there.
With the help of local skiers, they successfully pull off Kyrgyzstan’s first-ever major freeride competition in January 2020, the Silk Road Freeride. Over 40 athletes from 12 countries gathered in the small mountain village of Jyrgalan to compete in the event, giving many skiers from neighboring countries their first opportunity to ski in a competition. The event has continued annually each January since then.
While noting the collective effort it takes to pull off such an event, the film emphasizes the way that skiing acts as a bridge because our love for the sport allows us to connect with people from vastly different backgrounds.
The Silk Road Freeride event became an opportunity for that connection and proves that there is great value in celebrating and growing the sport of skiing in countries like Kyrgyzstan. Dadali and Bare are adamant about making sure young Kyrgyzstani skiers know that skiing is a sport for everyone. They are legitimate contenders for competition regardless of where they may be from or what their background is.