Experience skiing Georgia in the Caucasus mountains

Posted By: Kristian Hansen on February 22, 2011 12:11 pm

Georgia is a small country in the Caucasus mountains, formerly part of the USSR, but independent since the early 1990′s. It’s just south of Russia, and contains several of the highest peaks in the Caucasus mountains including Kazbek.  The capital, Tbilisi, is  very close to the mountains and they get plenty of snow for their 3 major ski resorts; Gudauri, Bakuriani and Mestia.

 

20110222 te 400x300 Experience skiing Georgia in the Caucasus mountainsGudauri is a ski resort located on the southern slopes of The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range in Georgia. The resort is situated in the Stephantsminda District, along the Georgian Military Highway near the Cross Pass, at an elevation of 2,196 meters (7,200ft.) above sea level. Gudauri lies 120 km (75 miles) to the north of the capital Tbilisi. The trip from Tbilisi to Gudauri usually takes two hours by car. The resort offers high quality skiing opportunities. The slopes of Gudauri are completely above the tree line and are best for free-riders and are generally considered to be avalanche-safe. The ski season lasts from December to April. Heliskiing is also available throughout the season.

 

 

photo: Kote Gabrichidze

Routes and lifts

Gudauri contains several routes and lifts. The first, lower lift station is at 1,990m above seal level and the last, top station is at 3,306m, called Sadzele. The lifts are by Doppelmayr. The first lift is 1,010 m long (three chairs), the second – 2,310 m long (four chairs) and the third – 1,060 m long (three chairs). The lift usually works from 10 to 16-17.

 http://www.skigeogia.ge/Gudauri

 

20110222 bujani 400x300 Experience skiing Georgia in the Caucasus mountainsBakuriani is a popular skiing resort in the Borjomi district of Georgia. It is located on the northern slope of the Trialeti Range, at an elevation of 1,700 meters (5,576 feet) above sea level.

The region around Bakuriani is covered by coniferous forests (mainly made up of spruce). The resort lies 30km from Borjomi and is located within the so-called Bakuriani Depression/caldera. The resort is connected with Borjomi by an electrified narrow gauge railway. The present-day area of the town was built up by the lava flows from the Mukheri volcano. The highest mountain of the resort used for skiing is called Mount Kohta at around 2,200 meters (7,216 feet) above sea level.

The climate of Bakuriani is transitional from humid maritime to relatively humid continental. The winters are cold and experience significant snowfall while the summers are long and warm. Average annual temperature of the town is 4.3 degrees Celsius. The average temperature in January is -7.3 degrees Celsius while the average August temperature is 15 degrees Celsius. The annual precipitation is 734mm (28.9 inches). The depth of snow from December to March is 64cm (25.2 inches). Bakuriani is also home to the well-known Botanical Garden of the Georgian Academy of Sciences.

Alongside the many operating hotels and services, a new youth entertainment center “Didveli”, new ski tracks, cable-ways, service centers and dozens of new hotels are being built. The settlement is in constant preparation to offer best conditions to visitors.

The Olympic Committee of Georgia has nominated the town of Borjomi (along with its main winter resort Bakuriani) as a candidate for hosting the 2018 Olympic Games. For sure, the Games will be held in Georgia, they think. A ski center of worldwide importance, Didveli, is currently working in Bakuriani.

 http://www.skigeorgia.ge/Bakuriani

 

20110222 jjj 400x300 Experience skiing Georgia in the Caucasus mountainsMestia is a highland townlet in northwest Georgia, at an elevation of 1.500 meters in the Caucasus Mountains.

According to the current administrative subdivision of Georgia, Mestia is located in the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region some 128 km northeast of the regional capital of Zugdidi. Mestia and the adjoining 132 villages form Mestia District. Its area is 3,044 km²; population – 14,248 (2,600 in the town itself; 2002 Georgia census). The population is mostly Svans, a cultural and linguistic subgroup of the Georgians.

Historically and ethnographically, Mestia has always been regarded a chief community of Zemo, or Upper Svaneti province. It was formerly known as Seti. Despite its small size, the townlet was an important

photo: Vakho Naveriani

centre of Georgian culture for centuries and contains a number of medieval monuments – churches and forts – included in a list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In 1968, it was granted a status of a townlet

The townlet is dominated by stone defensive towers of a type seen in Ushguli (“Svan towers”). A typical Svan fortified dwelling consisted of a tower, an adjacent house (machub) and some other household structures encircled by a defensive wall.

Unique icons and manuscripts are kept in Mestia Historical-Ethnographic Museum.  Mestia is also a center of mountaineer tourism and alpinism.

Mestia Ski Resort is under development and concrete plan and building process. You can check out the website

http://www.skigeorgia.ge/mestia

 

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