In February 2013, US splitboarder Nayla Tawa set out on an adventurous shred trip to Kyrgyzstan. Nayla and her partners were enroute to Arslanbob, a high mountain village deep in the Jalal-Abad Region that is surrounded by massive snowy peaks. Their plan was to not only ride backcountry in Arslanbob but also to donate ski and snowboard gear to the local villagers.

As fate would have it, a nightmare unfolded before Nayla could make it to Arslanbob. Her taxi crashed, breaking her back and trashing her knee in the accident.

Now 3 years later, Nayla is back in action, not only seeing through with her plan to visit Arslanbob, but also vastly expanding the impact the project will leave in it’s wake.

Nayla, along with pro skier Lexi Dupont, Doctor Charles Tawa, guide Donny Roth and cinematographer Jon Mancuso are bringing 1500 pounds of donated snowboards, splitboards, skis, bindings, boots, helmets and medical supplies to the village of Arslanbob. A majority of the equipment is youth-sized as one of their primary focuses is to outfit and teach the local children how to ski and snowboard. Beyond this goal, the long term vision is to train more local ski/snowboard guides and build a winter economy based on backcountry ski tourism. Currently 80% of Arslanbob’s population is unemployed in the winter.

Nayla and Lexi post up on the mountain of bags filled with donated gear. Photo - Jon Mancuso

Very happy to report that the team and 32 of 33 bags have already landed safely in Kyrgyzstan and should be in Arslanbob by the time you are reading this.

Included in those bags are two complete Jones splitboard setups that we donated for use by aspiring local splitboard guides. Big ups to Spark R+D for donating the split bindings and Never Summer who donated 15 youth snowboards. These splitboards and snowboards will be some of the first ever snowboards available for local use.

Nayla and her team will explore the backcountry with lead local guide Hayat Tarikov. Hayat was born in Arslanbob and has been the most ardent promoter of building a snow economy in the village. Hayat works with an organization called ’Community Based Tourism’ that helps direct tourists to support local projects.

When they arrived in Kyrgyzstan, Charles, Lexi and Nayla immediately made an appearance on a national TV show to present their project.

No doubt there is incredible terrain to be tracked up in Kyrgyzstan. You can follow where Nayla and crew are headed each day here:
https://www.gramwire.com/returntokg

For more info on the project and to make a donation go here:

http://www.returntokyrgyzstan.com/

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Author
Seth Lightcap
Published on
12 February 2016
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