Tourist’s guide to Skiing in Georgia – which resort to choose

Ski resorts in Georgia are successfully located throughout the country and were considered one of the best in Soviet times. Closest to the capital, in the north-west of it, is Gudauri – a large modern ski resort, Mecca for freeriders. To the north-east, in the high mountains of Svaneti, is the Hatsvali resort and the new Tetnuldi ski resort that opened only in 2016.

And south of all, almost in the center of Georgia, in a pleasant neighborhood with the famous sources of Borjomi there is the oldest Georgian ski resort Bakuriani, now experiencing a triple birth. Excellent prospects also have at the young resort of Goderzi, built in the mountains near Batumi.

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Gudauri

The ski resort is located next to the village of the same name on the slopes of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range, along the Georgian Military Highway and not far from the Cross Pass. The resort complex itself is located in the village of Upper Gudauri at an altitude of 2196 m.

Weather and congestion resort

The season in Gudauri officially opens from the second half of December and lasts all spring, and in especially snowy years, including May. But it happened that in snowless winters, skiing on the main highways only began in January. But the 2016-2017 season began earlier, on December 10.

In December and January it is sunny and cold, people arrive on New Year’s holidays, and from the middle of January until the end of the month there is a relative lull.

High season in Gudauri from the second decade of February to the second decade of March inclusive. There are already fewer sunny days, but there is more snow, the snow cover in the resort at this time reaches a maximum (1.5 m), and skiing is excellent both on the tracks and outside them.

In April it is warm and sunny, skiers often ride t-shirts. And although heavy snowfalls can take place in April, there is no wind. The slopes of this ski resort of Georgia are almost empty, and skiing at this time is a pleasure – the lifts and slopes do not close until the very end of the month.

Gudauri tracks and lifts

There are 22 tracks in the resort, their total length is 57 km. The difficulty ratio for amateurs and professionals is approximately 80:20 in percentage terms. Ski Area: 1990 m above sea level sea ​​(lower station), 3239 m (upper station). Experienced skiers, going down from the top to the lowest point, will cover a distance of 7 kilometers.

Map of hotels, pistes, slopes and lifts in the ski resort of Gudauri

Gudauri ski resort track map (season 2017-2018)

All ski lifts can simultaneously serve 11,000 skiers.

Doppelmayer lifts (3.4 and 6 chairlifts) are installed on the main tracks.

On the training slope, the POMA ski lift and two MAGIC CARPET belt systems operate.

The resort complex, built in 1975-1985, is being reconstructed and improved.

Line numberTitleLength (m)Characteristics
1st turnPirveli10533 armchairs, snow cannons, lighting
2nd turnSoliko (Solico)22954-chair, high-speed
3 turnKudebi10633-seat
4th turnSnow Park11043-seat
5 turnSadzele15044 chair
Gondola liftGudaura2800gondola capacity 10 people
CablewayShino28006 chair
Training slope for beginnersZuma600Yoke, ribbon

The start of the 2016–2017 ski season was marked by the opening of the new 6-seat Shino chairlift.

Snow cannons work in the first stage (the system was put into operation in the 2014-2015 season). On Saturdays, you can ride under the night sky until ten in the evening.

Lift operation mode
  • Winter – from 10:00 to 17:00
  • March – from 9:00 to 16:00
  • April – on weekdays from 9:00 to 15:00, on weekends an hour longer
  • Summer season – from July 16 all lifts are open from 10:00 to 16:00 daily.
Types of ski passes and their estimated cost

For one climb in Gudauri, pay 7 GEL, for 3 lifts 18 GEL, for 1 day of skiing – 40 GEL.

For reference. 1 GEL is approximately equal: 0.37 dollars; 22 rubles; 10 UAH (December 2017)

A ski pass in Gudauri for the entire season (2017-2018) costs 500 GEL ($ 200).

You can also buy a ski pass for any number of days in the range from 2 to 10, their cost, respectively, from 80 to 320 GEL. Ski passes are also sold for 5 days a week – 190 GEL. Night skating will cost 10 GEL. All children’s ski passes are approximately 40% cheaper.

Summer ski passes

1 trip (Gudauri, Snow Park, Sadzele) – 5 GEL, for the season 60 GEL.

In the summer season there is a downhill skiing cycle (4790 m).
All-day biking – 12 GEL, for groups of 20-30% discount depending on the number

Freeride, hel-skiing and paragliding in Gudauri

The main difference between the largest ski resort in Georgia is freeride – off-piste skiing, special skiing down virgin fields. This is facilitated by wide slopes located above the level of forests (which is safe), and they are available directly from the ski lifts (which is convenient).

At freeride school in Gudauri

At the Gudauri Freeride Tours Freeride School, classes are taught in three languages: Georgian, English and Russian. Guides and instructors here are experienced, and have lived in these places for many years, and their phones are on the billboards at each rental building. For freeride tours of various complexity in Gudauri, a lot of options. Here are the main ones:

  • Kobe Trail
  • Narveni Valley and Head
  • Lomisi Monastery
  • Bidar Peak

There are many descents in Gudauri for lovers of skiing – a type of freeride, when a helicopter delivers you to the start of the descent. Such a tour can be completed in a group of 4-8 people. The cost of pleasure (1 ascent-descent) 150 GEL, taking into account the transfer, avalanche equipment, helicopter and the work of guides (tours are organized by the Gudauri Freeride Tours team ).

Depending on the duration and season, paragliding will cost from 160 to 500₾ (lari). The basics of flight will be taught at FlyCaucasus .

The reward for courage is Georgia’s wonderful mountain scenery from a height and complete unity with nature during the descent.

Those who would like to go on ordinary cross-country skiing or change their skates for a few hours will be disappointed: there are no cross-country trails, no skate rental, as well as the ice rink in Gudauri.

Infrastructure

In the center of the resort there is a pharmacy, a gas station, a Smart supermarket, a grocery store. In Upper Gudauri there are about two dozen cafes and restaurants with Georgian, Russian and other national cuisines, about a dozen spa and saunas, several ski schools with rental equipment for all types of skiing.

A large hotel complex has been built in Upper Gudauri, it is possible to rent housing in the private sector, chalets and guesthouses and it is better to do this in advance. Prices range from $ 30 for a separate room to $ 80-100 for comfortable apartments with stunning views and a 3-5-minute walk from the ski lift.

How to get there

Distance from the airports: Vladikavkaz – 80 km, Tbilisi – 120 km, Kutaisi – 310 km. Taxi from Tbilisi airport costs $ 70, minibus from Didube metro $ 4 or 10₾. Travel time 2 hours. The road from Kutaisi is 4 hours.

Bakuriani

The Georgian ski resort Bakuriani is located next to the village of the same name. It is located on the northern slope of the Trialet Range of the Caucasus Mountains at an altitude of 1700 m, in the Borjomi Gorge.

The health resort of Borjomi and the Bakuriani ski resort are connected by a road and a narrow gauge railway. And the bridge between the cities was designed by Gustave Eiffel himself. Since 1902, a train has been running on this route, which is popularly known as the cuckoo.

Bakuriani is the oldest ski resort within the Caucasus Mountains. The 19th century served as the imperial residence.

At one time, the Bakuriani ski resort claimed to host the Winter Olympic Games. On the territory of the resort complex there are high-mountain open and closed skating rinks and competitions of skaters and hockey games are held.

How to get there

From Tbilisi to the Bakuriani ski resort – 180 km. The transfer is expensive, it is better to take a taxi (from Didube metro to the doors of any hotel – 150-200₾). Buses and taxis go.
Another option – first by train to Borjomi, then by train to Bakuriani. The latter goes 2 times a day. Taxi from Borjomi – 30₾.

Weather

In the winter months, the average temperature during the day is -2 … -4 ⁰С, at night -5 … -7 ⁰С. The weather is mostly calm, and the number of sunny, cloudy and cloudy days is approximately the same.

Snow cover is about 65 cm. Ski season is from November to the end of March. February is the best time for skiing at the Bakuriani ski resort in Georgia.

Trails and lifts

The difference in elevation is from 1780 to 2850 m. The Didveli site is still at the development stage.

The route map of the ski resort Bakuriani

Experienced skiers ride on the slopes of Mount Kokhta. One and a half kilometer Kokhta-1 has a difficult section on the first 400 m (black track), the slope there reaches 52⁰. Then the track is red. Both of these tracks are for professionals. Kokhta-2, three kilometers long, also consists of two sections, red and blue, here those who are confidently skiing can ride here.

For those who begin to get acquainted with alpine skiing, there is the “Plateau” track with gentle and short slopes. The length of Bakuriani runs is about 5 km. In recent years, the resort has expanded, new facilities are being built.

Lifts: 4 ski lifts for children, the Tatra cable car (1600 m), a 2-seater chairlift (1200 m) and a tow rope 1400 meters long.

Housing, infrastructure, interesting

Accommodation in Bakuriani can be rented from 100-150₾ (in a small hotel), in a 4-star European level the room costs 200-300₾, and in most cases three meals a day are included in the price. The ski complex has a library, tennis courts, several cafes, restaurants and taverns.

Location map of hotels of the ski resort Bakuriani

The hotel territory is in order, but in the vicinity of the village, according to numerous reviews of vacationers, the infrastructure does not reach European standards. But this is compensated by walks and excursions in the picturesque surroundings: to the Borjomi springs, to the mountain lake Tabatskuri, in the Bakurianitskali gorge, to the cave medieval monastery of Vardzia, to the ancient Georgian temple of Timotesubani.

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Ski pass types and prices

The ski pass in Bakuriani is slightly cheaper than in Gudauri.

  • At the top of Didveli it can be purchased on 1 ascent (5₾), 1 day (20₾), 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10 days (from 57 to 160₾).
  • The ski pass to Mount Kohta and the 25 meter are sold only for 1 day (also 20₾) or 1 lift (3₾).

Hatsvali and Tetnuldi – new ski resorts in Svaneti

A significant number of admirers of alpine skiing decide to ride on the slopes of this resort region of Georgia. Acquaintance with him begins with the city of Mestia – a ski resort in northwestern Georgia. Located close to Abkhazia. It opened recently, but is already popular among skiers in many countries.

Clean healing air and breathtaking landscapes, excellent equipment for ski lifts and slopes (new French equipment is installed here) in the near future promises to turn this place into a high-class ski resort of European level.

So far, the infrastructure here has not yet been developed sufficiently, but the plans for the development of skiing in Svaneti are serious.

Hatsvali

From Mestia to Hatsvali, only 8 km, which in good weather can be easily overcome by car and on foot, despite the elevation angle of 7-8⁰. In winter and spring, an SUV is needed for lifting. Transfer from Mestia to Hatswali to 7-8 local Mitsubishi Deliks costs $ 30.

Skiers began to master the resort’s tracks in 2011.

The difference in elevation is 1865-2447 meters. The lower station has a hotel, restaurant and rental point. The upper station can be reached in 20 minutes in 4 chair cabins, the cable car is 1,400 m long.

Skiing starts from the Zuruldi cafe at the upper station. There are not many tracks yet, but new ones are being built. Now red and blue are operating (maximum length 2600 m). On the track for beginners and children (300 and 600 m) 2 tow lifts operate. Hatsvali is a great place for freeride and backcountry in Georgia.

In summer, sightseers are taken to the upper station to the cafe site to breathe in the mountain air, drink coffee and look at the mountains. Here is the starting point for starting tracking in several interesting directions.

 Tetnuldi

The youngest Georgian ski resort in Svaneti. Opened in February 2016, it is located on the slope of Mount Tetnuld (4869 m). The resort is also not far from Mestia – only 15 km. The throughput of 7 thousand visitors. The elevation here is 2260 m above sea level. Sea (lower station) – 3040 m (upper station). The tracks are blue. The longest of them is 9.5 km.

Tetnuldi ski resort map

There are still three lifts – 3-chair lifts of the French company POMA. The plans include the construction of 16 tracks of varying complexity and the expansion of the ski area to 35 km, the development of freeride. All this should make serious competition to the large Georgian resorts.

Riding in Tetnuldi begins in late December and ends in late March.

Infrastructure

Massage salons and SPA, discos and children’s centers, European-style hotels and first-class restaurants, billiards and other signs of a civilized resort place – this is not something that can provide guests with great requests Svaneti.

Hotel room Svaneti
Hotel room Svaneti for $ 35

The ski resort is still under development, and the infrastructure of Svaneti is at the initial level. At the foot of Hatsaveli and Tetnuld Mountain in close proximity to the skiing places there is not a large selection of housing. Most of the guests rent it in Mestia and get to the tracks by transfer from hotels or in their own cars.

A hotel in Mestia can be rented for $ 25-30 per day (breakfast included), and with breakfast and dinner for $ 30-40.

Prices in guesthouses are more affordable: $ 10-15 and $ 20-30, respectively.

Ski pass prices

For the 2016-2017 season, the price tag is the same for the Hatsaveli and Tetnuldi routes, and lower than at the two largest Georgian resorts.

  • 1 lift costs 5 GEL, ski pass for 1 day – 25 GEL, for 2-7 days 50-145₾.
  • If you want to ride not in a row, but at any 5 days a week to choose from, buy a skipass for 122₾.
  • For a ski pass for the whole season, pay 300 GEL, for students and children – 180₾.
  • The cost of the ski pass in the “low season” from 13.03 to 13.04 is 180₾.

If you intend to ride longer, so as not to return to Mestia every day, you can rent a guesthouse in Danisparauli, 3 km from the meadow for 40-45 lari with two meals a day. Another option: to settle in one of the cottages in the meadow for 100 GEL (double room) or for 150 in a quadruple. For food in cottages you need to pay extra.

Goderdzi

The youngest ski resort in Georgia, opened on December 10, 2016. Goderzi is 110 km from Batumi. The road is asphalt (40 km. To Keda), the rest is unpaved, it takes about 4-5 hours.

Ski slopes for Goderzi ski resort

The ski slopes here are good for beginners, gentle and wide. Gondola lift while two lines are running. In the wounds the construction of several more routes. Pleasant skiing, fluffy snow, snowy firs, a rare forest between the tracks. Good conditions for freeriding. Almost all descents start right from the ski lifts.

Ski equipment hire is available. Two hotels, the old Meteo, and the new Goderdzi Hotel is being finished. Here is the only cafe operating. There are no shops and pharmacies at all, everything needs to be brought with you from Batumi.

For 500 GEL (student – 280 GEL) there is an opportunity to purchase a single Ski pass, which will be valid at all resorts during the season.

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Skiing in Georgia has always been highly respected, and the development of this sport, like no other, depends on a good material base. Georgian ski resorts contribute to its popularization, bring tangible income from the development of the tourism industry and delight many thousands of skiers from other countries.



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