Skiing in Georgia
The country Georgia is home to a handful of ski resorts. Although it cannot offer the same quality of skiing or same amount of snow as the Alps in Western Europe, it is a picturesque country and the prices for skiing here reflect this. A ski holiday costs a fraction of what it would cost in France or Switzerland.
The country of Georgia is situated at the border of Europe and Asia, and is a country full of culture, adventure and beautiful landscapes. The most undiscovered and unknown aspect of Georgia is however its mountainous landscape covered in snow, which is as beautiful to look at as any country in Europe. There is no denying this is not one of the top countries in the world that pops into your head when you think of skiing, but this doesn’t mean the ski resorts in this country don’t have a lot to offer.
The Caucasus Mountains found in Georgia span 60% of this country, so it is safe to say that outdoor activities and mountain sports are a prominent feature of life in Georgia. Most ski resorts are located around the 2000m elevation mark which is a good base elevation for any ski resort, and gives you a good indication of the sort of snow you are likely to get at these resorts. Georgia has one of the fastest growing winter sports scenes in Europe, purely based on the unrealised potential for its mountains, which to date have been largely ignored due to its location so far East of the Alps, which attract the majority of tourists during the Winter. New hotels, restaurants and ski lifts are opening in Georgian ski resorts each season, and more and more skiers from Western skiers and holiday makers are opting for a much more affordable ski holiday in Georgia. The lack of infrastructure and general development of the mountains in Georgia leaves a lot of scope for back country skiing and getting fresh turns in the powder for the expert and highly experienced skiers.
Where Can You Ski in Georgia?
There are 7 major ski resorts in Georgia, Gudauri being the largest and most internationally recognised. The main town is at a very respectable altitude of 1993m with lifts to access the mountains reaching all the way up to an even more respectable altitude of 3276m – comparable with some of the top resorts in Europe! Gudauri has 20 different runs, 70km of pisted runs, 10 lifts, and enough off-piste skiing to last for weeks! The powder snow this resort has to offer is in contention with some of the top resorts in Europe. If you want to try skiing at night, this resort also offers night-skiing at the weekends.
Other resorts that Georgia has to offer which may not be quite as large or quite as high an elevation are Bakuriani (1700m - 2000m), Mestia (2260m - 3165m) & Goderdzi (1700m - 2364m). Each of these resorts have a good range of pistes available for beginners as well as experience skiers and snowboarders, and have plenty of good quality snow on average to allow you to get fresh powder turns off-piste.
When Can You Ski in Georgia?
The ski season in Georgia lasts from December (opening day each season will depend on snowfall leading up to winter, as with every resort around the world) until April. Due to the relatively high elevation of ski resorts in Georgia, the now lasts for a considerable amount of time, and the winter season normally lasts for around 5 months. This is not guaranteed every year, like any ski resort, levels of snowfall may be higher in one year and lower in the next.
Best Way to Travel to Georgia
The slight inconvenience of being able to make the most of the vastly under-populated and tourist free ski resorts of Georgia is the difficulty and expense of getting there. As Georgia is located at the very western side of Europe, any tourists travelling from UK or similar will have a 4 or 5 hour flight journey on their hands, and these flights are only available from a limited selection of airports such as London or Paris. Luckily more recently there have been some more routes open up to Georgia from around Europe such as from Marseille, Milan & Bologna with Ryanair, starting from as low as €20 one-way.
The best and most realistic places to fly to in Georgia for a ski holiday are Kutaisi or Tbilisi (depending on where you are skiing) as you will be able to reach Gudauri ski resort within 2 hours by car from Tbilisi, the Georgian capital. The expense of staying in a ski resort including accommodation, lift pass and ski rental often far outweighs the cost of reaching the resort simply because of how expensive a ski holiday is, however if you are travelling from anywhere in Western Europe, you will find the costs of skiing in Georgia so affordable that the cost of getting there all of a sudden becomes one of the major costs!
Is The Skiing in Georgia Difficult?
The ski resorts Georgia has to offer are not considered to be especially easy or particularly difficult. Each ski resort has a good range of pistes for both beginners and more experienced skiers or snowboarders. Admittedly if you are a very experienced skier and have been skiing for many years around the world, you may find yourself getting bored of the relatively small resorts compared to Western Europe. The resorts are sized to give a few days - 1 week of skiing for most people. If you are a beginner or early intermediate, I would say there is more than enough skiing available to keep you entertained for a full week-long holiday, as more than likely you will be spending a lot of your time on the easy to intermediate slopes trying to find your balance and working out what you are doing! On my first week of skiing, I spent the first 4 days on the bunny hill (very beginner slope) and the next couple of days on the green slope right next to it (that’s a total of 3 different ski slopes) and I absolutely loved the holiday.