Exploring the Republic of Georgia - Skiing and Riding in the Caucasus Mountains
For a lot of us, skiing and riding in the Republic of Georgia is relatively unknown. Why would you want to travel halfway across the world to a former Soviet-bloc country? We visited Georgia in the spring of 2019 and found a powder-paradise. That first trip was inspiring enough to make us want to start a program there. But why would you want to go there?
There is no doubt that the skiing in Georgia is extremely underrated. We found uncrowded resorts, great infrastructure, amazing snow and terrain, friendly people and exciting new culture. The Caucasus mountains have so much potential. The Georgian government is investing heavily in resorts right now, with new lifts being added all the time. We found a surprising number of brand-new gondolas and high-speed 6 person chairlifts. The most we paid was $16 USD per day for lift tickets, which is amazing. We dined on mountain for about $4 for lunch and $10 for dinner.
Flying to Georgia was also very inexpensive. We paid $850 return, for last-minute flights from Denver to Tbilisi with Qatar airlines (who were excellent) which is very reasonable. Our accommodation was well-priced and comfortable, with ski in ski out access and an amazing inhouse spa. The local people in general, were very warm and accommodating and they are very happy to be receiving Western tourists for the first time.
Our initial program in the Republic of Georgia will be to Gudauri which is the biggest of the 5 ski areas currently operating in Georgia and is the closest to the capital city, Tbilisi. It’s about a 2.5-hour drive from the Tbilisi International Airport. On the way to Gudauri, it is recommended to stop at the Ananuri Castle to stretch your legs and explore the castle and it’s two old church’s. There’s a fun little market and you can dress up as a Georgian warrior and have your photograph taken. That’s a fun way to start the trip.
Gudauri is a large ski area, with plenty of intermediate, advanced and expert trails. They have a modern lift infrastructure (14 lifts, many of which are gondolas and high-speed 6 person chairs) and reliable snowfalls.
Where Gudauri really excels is the ease of access to quality sidecountry and a plethora of backcountry areas. For experienced skiers and boarders, this place is an absolute must! One of the highlights must surely be hiking for 3 hours to a monastery where one of the monks is an avid backcountry skier.
Like other resorts in Georgia, Gudauri is seeing a lot of new development. Old lifts are being replaced and new lifts and gondolas are being installed. In the next 2 years, Gudauri will have 4 new chairlifts installed. It just had a new two-stage 10-person gondola installed last winter that gave access to a whole new part of the mountain (down to the Kobi valley with all new north-facing terrain).
Terrain – 10,826ft top lift (3,300m), 1,258m/4,127 ft vertical drop, 70km/44miles of runs. Nightskiing. Snowmaking under the Pirveli and Soliko gondola.
Lifts – 14 lifts
4 x 10-person cabin gondola systems
4 x 6-person high speed chairs with protective bubbles
1 x quad chair
1 x triple chair
3 x poma lifts
1 x magic carpet
Location – Gudauri is 135km/ 84 miles from Tbilisi airport, about a 2.5-hour drive to the north. It is about 20 miles from the border with Russia.
Getting there – fly to Tbilisi International Airport. Depending on the arrival time, you might want to spend the night in the capital city before taking the van ride to Gudauri. We’ll either meet the guests in the city at the hotel we recommend or at the airport, whichever is more convenient.
Visa – most visitors can receive a tourist visa on arrival. For more information, please refer to the official Georgian government website at https://www.evisa.gov.ge/GeoVisa/.
Our Republic of Georgia program kicks off in March 2020 and you can find all the relevant information on our new website at https://www.theadventureproject.net/georgia-overview.
Hope to see you there this winter!
Owner - The Adventure Project