Georgia as a ski resort

Kash

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Hi all,

Anyone ridden or know much about snowboarding Georgia? I am not talking about Atlanta haha. Probably Gudauri specifically, the largest resort for end 2021/22.

I’ve read @SkyAtlantida Team’s trip report and am well versed in the chair lift fail from last year.

The mountains and terrain look huge but resorts arent but it’s a shorter flight from oz than Europe (3-4hrs from Dubai or Doha). No doubt, being Russian territory lift and accom costs are a fraction of oz/US/Canada, and possibly even lower than Japan which makes it attractive for a family ski destination (noting the longish commute from oz vs Japan). Just keen to get here before it gets ‘discovered’.

Thanks,
 
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Bogong

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... No doubt, being Russian territory ...
I know what you mean, in a geographical sense, but Georgia had a rather nasty war with Russia a few years ago because Russia had annexed two of their provinces.

So Georgia and Russia are not exactly chums and that isn't going to change because Putin has no intention of giving back South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
 

Zeroz

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Kash

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Awesome work @Zeroz . I'll wait for your trip report if you go before I do! You doing it as a family ski trip? I heard they have English ski school but not sure how good.
 
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Zeroz

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Probably three or four of us. No ski school use, but will use guides to get to more interesting terrain.

The Georgian written language doesn't have a lot of familiar shapes.

georgian2.gif
 

Heinz

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That is an impressive list!
I haven't been and probably not likely to, but I have skied with Flory Kern (one of your links) in Kamchatka years ago. He has pretty much done it all. Can recommend.
 

smackies

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Georgia is rad and I was there when the snow was diabolically bad.

Resorts might not keep you entertained for long. It’s a touring dream though. If that’s your thing, consider Mestia and check out Georgia Guide Office. I went with two buddies who are guides so we only used a local guide for a day and picked his brains, but a guide is a very good idea when you see the terrain and snowpack. The ones at GGO are already or up and coming IFMGA guides.

The people are very welcoming. The dogs friendly. The food and wine amazing (ever been to a country where they give you wine at Customs?). The chacha is dangerous. The drivers and roads even more so. Delica heaven though!

If bearded men are your thing, you’ll have an even better time.

I cut my trip short as all the snow was in India at the time, but we are all committed to return.

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Kash

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Yep, everything that smackies said.

Gudauri is also reasonably modern. If you want that 3rd world busted-ass vibe, also check out Bakuriani. If the snow is ok, def worth a visit. Pic attached of one of the lifts. The georgian script is one of the most beautiful in the world i reckon!
img066.jpg

Agree on the script, its beautiful and fascinating. Up there with Khmer and Sinhalese.

Love those rustic old fashioned chairlifts from poor ski resorts that have failed to invest in the growth of the sport (looking at you Mt Perisher double chair).
 
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Crystal

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Yep, everything that smackies said.

Gudauri is also reasonably modern. If you want that 3rd world busted-ass vibe, also check out Bakuriani. If the snow is ok, def worth a visit. Pic attached of one of the lifts. The georgian script is one of the most beautiful in the world i reckon!
img066.jpg
Looks pretty scary to me...not sure I would trust :)
 

luke1234

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I spent a year living in Georgia last year (including this winter just passed), have written a bit about it, hopefully will write some more http://lukefrisken.com/adventures/2020-lockdown-in-gudauri/

Also wrote this article from a shorter trip there a couple of years ago http://lukefrisken.com/adventures/skiing-in-georgia/

If you're looking for some companies to go on trips around Gudauri, Racha or Adjara (a less travelled area with lots of snow and potential), with I can very warmly recommend the following:
I should be returning to Georgia in the next few months fingers crossed. I have lots of friends there, feel free to PM me if you have any questions about skiing, ski touring, climbing or living in Georgia.
 

luke1234

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Also, Bakuriani has a bunch of new lifts now, it's probably at least on par with Gudauri as a modern/comfortable feeling resort area now, however this season just passed it didn't get much snow throughout the middle of the season. The terrain options are also much more limited in scale than Gudauri, but it does provide good tree skiing which is difficult to find near Gudauri. It's also an extremely popular area for Georgian family holidays during the new year and so during a regular ski season in that period I can imagine that the traffic would be atrocious. Accommodation there is more expensive than Gudauri, but it is also a more comfortable place for spending an extended period of time, as it it laid out a bit more like a regular town than Gudauri, with a great fresh food store too.

There is plenty of ski touring to be done near Bakuriani, however one has to be mindful of the gas pipeline which is guarded and probably forbidden to cross/approach, it helps to have a friendly Georgian local on your team to negotiate with guards if you want to cross it on the road, and bring your passports! Usually you will be accompanied by one of the numerous street dogs on your ski tour, which makes for great entertainment, bring some snacks to reward them for their loyalty. The best skiing is usually below the treeline, as it can be very windy and the upper slopes often get stripped. There is a group of volcanoes to the South which I would love to get to on a future trip to the area, however that area is usually very wind affected, with no trees at all.

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rowdyflat

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Those photos are great .
Georgia has been on my bucket list for a while , I like out of the way , less touristed places both for skiing and bike riding .
Siberia and kazakstan , Kyrgysztan are a bit hard to get to and the food is meat based.
A friend went before Covid and loved it but others are a bit posh and dont like grunge.
 
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buckwheat

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Those photos are great .
Georgia has been on my bucket list for a while , I like out of the way , less touristed places both for skiing and bike riding .
Siberia and kazakstan , Kyrgysztan are a bit hard to get to and the food is meat based.
A friend went before Covid and loved it but others are a bit posh and dont like grunge.
Nah, kyrgyzstan is super easy, direct flight from dubai, and heaps of vego options. Once the borders open up, just go, you will not be disappoint! Chat to the team at CBT (community based tourism), they'll make it super easy for you.
 

Kash

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Nah, kyrgyzstan is super easy, direct flight from dubai, and heaps of vego options. Once the borders open up, just go, you will not be disappoint! Chat to the team at CBT (community based tourism), they'll make it super easy for you.

This is absolutely whetting my appetite. Looks amazing. My mates in Dubai go there as their regular ski trip. Its the easiest skiing from there.

Do you know what is it like for kids? Older two are confident blue black run skiers but little one (6 in a few months) needs lessons.
 

buckwheat

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We did mostly touring, but there are a few resorts. Karakol is very cool, maybe abit steep for a 6 yr old though. Chunkarchak and too ashuu are friendlier but very small! To be honest the main game is backcountry, the resort skiing is an interesting novelty but wouldnt be the main focus. Plus always leave room for the cultural stuff, its a mind blowing place!
 
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