Winter time is always exciting because it associates with New Year and Christmas preparations. Starting from childhood we believed that miracles happen around this season and any activity you are engaged in leads you to some kind and fairy discoveries.
Georgia is known for its snowy mountains and mild winter in the central part of the country and its capital though the situation is cardinally different in the mountainous region. Snow level reaches your knees and without proper clothes and equipment hiking is almost impossible although there is good news for lover of the ski-sport. Georgia provides tourists with skiing resorts with all kinds of conditions for having unforgettable time with your family and friends. Gudauri and Bakuriani, for example, are very well-known not only for ski-tracks but also for many other activities.
Paragliding and photography are among the occupations you can find interesting as a tourist. Let’s talk about each resort and create a small description in order to show why it is special or worth seeing.
Gudauri is 120 km far from the capital (Tbilisi) and resides at the slope of the Big Caucasian Ridge (2196 m). Gudauri is situated not far from the Cross Pass. The road that leads to the resort goes through Georgian Military Road that fascinates with its picturesque views all year long no matter time of the year. Skiing resort lasts from December till the middle of April, though in the year of 2017 the skiing resort was closed in the middle of June due to cold spring. Yes, Georgia really has character and its climate may be extremely unpredictable.
In Gudauri you can have ski racing, others prefer snowboarding. Little children may have fun by slipping down the hill on the sledges. Free-ride is gathering popularity in mountains of Georgia as well and means skiing down the mountains with no tracks provided. Those who are open to risk-taking and extreme sports should definitely try this breathtaking sports activity. It sounds challenging and even unsafe you think but do not jump to conclusions – you can find good instructors as their contact numbers are pinned to every wall in Gudauiri.
All the tracks are situated in above the forest level so there is no probability to bump into a tree while skiing or snowboarding. The longest track is 7 km long and the width of snow cover is 1, 5 meters. There are tracks specially designed for novice and children, there is no reason for being nervous that you might sprain an ankle or get traumas.
Lots of people use the ropeway to get to the tracks and this is one of the most pleasant activities while being on the resort. The fee for a single-day pass is 5 Gel, unlimited for one day is 30 GEL.
Speed-riding and paragliding have gained momentum and became equal to skiing and snowboarding but if you are a fan of skating please do not get disappointed – there is no ice rink in Gudauri.
Apartments in Gudauri are found very easily and prices may vary from 20-60$ depending on your demands and preferences. If you have your own car you can book a room in Stepantsminda as prices are more reasonable there. It is 33 km away from Gudauri.
What concerns Bakuriani it has more skiing tracks compared to Gudauri and all of them have their names: Didvelim Kokhta, Tatra and 25-meter slope that is mostly popular among novices. You can find maps of the town and signs with the names of the tracks, how many meters you are away from them.
The most popular track is Didveli, both professionals and amateurs prefer it to others. Cable hoist consist of three levels and all in all it is 4000 m long. Skiers can lazily distribute time and stay high in the mountains till it gets dark there – the place is illuminated till 10 p.m.
When you buy the ski-pass you can use it for all the levels (12 GEL), though the unlimited subscription is 30 GEL. Each station has wonderful cafes where you can taste delicious mull wine prepared by the sellers themselves at home. On the very first station you can find children’s playground and slope for the sledges.
If you want to rent skis in Didveli it may cost 15-20 GEL per hour, the instructors services may vary from 30 to 50 GEL.
Tatra is two-level track with length of 500 meters and 1800 meters. It is suitable for both professionals and amateurs but its main zest is in the path that goes through the forest. It really is very thrilling.
Kokhta is also a two-level track with saddle lift. It reminds of Didveli but it is much shorter.
25-meter track is ideal for those who have the chance to ski for the first time. As it is always crowded there are four functional lifts at the same time. Two of them are ‘the rope type’ lifts. There is one additional lift for sledges open for both children and adults.
Here everything is cheaper compared to other tracks. You can easily find an instructor for 25 GEL and you pay just 5 GEL for renting skis for one hour.
No matter which track you choose fun and good time are guaranteed.
Accommodation in Bakuriani is not very hard to find. Almost all houses are Guesthouses as this town is 100% tourist-oriented. Many of them offer three-day meal. Bigger ones have pools and gyms.
There are different opinions concerning winter resorts and only the person who has a chance to visit both can make a final decision which to make his favorite. Those who are tired of hectic city life and long for relaxation should definitely visit one of these resorts in order to know harmony. Capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, is not known as a snowy place. On the contrary, winter is very mild and sparing. Many Georgians run away from the central part of the country to the mountains in order to taste the colds of winter and play snowballs. Mainly tourists do the same after having had a gastronomic tour in the valleys. In order to return to the shape they used to have before tasting numerous Georgian dishes they go to the mountains and spend memorable days there.