The New Year charm of Georgia’s winter resorts. საქართველოს ზამთრის კურორტების საახალწლო ხიბლი

The New Year charm of Georgia’s winter resorts. საქართველოს ზამთრის კურორტების საახალწლო ხიბლი
08 January 2015

Georgia’s active winter resorts of Bakuriani, Gudauri and Mestia are hosting more and more visitors every year. Their geographically favorable location, numerous peaks and mountains of the Caucasus leave unforgettable impressions on those who visit Georgia’s ski resorts. Georgia is among the small number of countries where it is officially allowed to ski from a high mountain on non-pressed snow. Those of a less extreme persuasion can conquer ski routes of different difficulty levels with quads or sledges instead, making the winter resorts ideal for all the family. In addition to hospitable hosts, they will find fresh air, beautiful panoramas and dishes cooked using ecologically clean products. There are comfortable conditions for holidaying at all three resorts- from hostels to five-star hotels, bar-restaurants and entertainment centers.

Mestia, surrounded by 5000-meter giant peaks and the tallest mountains in Europe Elbrus, is an oasis for skiers, located in the middle of Svaneti. With high-speed lifts, skiers can reach the 2,350 m top of the slopes and try the 2.6 kilometer hard slope or select an easier run. Slopes are arranged to suit skiers of all levels.

Various tour operators offer special ski tours in places where no one has previously set foot, allowing guests to spend a night high in the mountains.

The region is famous for its old residential towers of peculiar and memorable shape. In Mestia, there are markets, bar-restaurants and an ice skating rink. The town’s museum keeps a rare treasury of refined, perfect icons and artefacts.

Gudauri is in the heart of the Caucasus Mountains and during the ski season, from December to mid-April, adventure-loving skiers and snowboarders regularly get together there. A short drive and an even shorter helicopter ride bring Tbilisi and Gudauri even closer to each other.

The combined overall length of ski routes is 19 kilometers and the longest run is over 5 kilometers. Skiers are carried to the Kudebi Mountain with three and four-seater cable cars, over 3000 meters, over a line of trees. For experienced skiers, Gudauri offers four routes recognized by the International Ski Federation: slalom, giant slalom, super slalom and rapid rush.

Gudauri is one of the highest resorts above sea level in Europe. It offers unhindered access to a 4200-meter high area. Helicopters take skiers and their guides to distant peaks for some of the most exciting skiing in the world.

Novice skiers will find helpful assistance at the Gudauri Ski School, and even confident skiers can improve their knowledge there. You can rent the equipment from the hotels of Gudauri, the ski school or local providers.

Bakuriani, located in the Borjomi Gorge at 1,700 m above sea level, is three to four hours drive from Tbilisi. The resort, with many alpine slopes and unexplored paths, offers one of the best and most spectacular skiing and snowboarding venues in Europe. Big competitions are often held in Bakuriani and it is the most popular winter sports territory and recreational zone in Georgia.

Its two most popular slopes start from the Kokhta and Didveli mountains. Kokhtagora is situated 2,155 m above sea level. The two-seater cable way and two standing lifts serve visitors.

A 2,255 m high mountain, Kokhta Two, is known in Bakuriani as Tatra which features both red and blue runs of 1.8 km in length.

For beginners there is an easy zone on the 25-meter slope, located in a circle. Children and novice skiers can learn how to ski there in a secure and pleasant environment.

Didveli has the most beautiful scenery of any resort. The longest route is four kilometers and experienced skiers can continue almost to the very peak of the mountain.

The hills and valleys around Bakuriani are perfect for snow bikes but if you prefer old-fashioned transport, horse-ridden sleighs remain a traditional means of transport here.

All three Georgian ski resorts (those of Mestia, Gudauri and Bakuriani) are monitored by experienced rescue and emergency teams, guaranteeing you a great holiday with the knowledge that your comfort and safety are fully catered for.

Irma Kakhurashvili

Georgia Today