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Which mountain region of Georgia to choose for ski-touring?

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Which mountain region of Georgia to choose for ski-touring?

The common thing these three regions share is the large mountains, the best skiing zone in the alpine zone . The difference is...

The common thing these three regions share is the large mountains, the best skiing zone in the alpine zone 2000 - 3700 meters above sea level. The difference is in the ways to get there and the time required for this, the duration and complexity of approaches to the start of the route, the presence of other skiers’ traces and the "remoteness from civilization."

Pros and cons of each of mountain region for ski-touring and backcountry:

1. Gudauri, average thickness of snow cover 2.0 – 3,0 m.

Pros: The base altitude is at an altitude of 2200 meters above sea level. Developed infrastructure. More than 20 different one-day routes, diverse in terrain. Easy and quick approaches to the start of the route. Usage of cable cars for a quick approach to a large number of routes. Dry climate - dry snow is preserved for a long time. A lot of northern expositions.

Cons: Snowfalls are less common than in Svaneti and Racha. In February, most routes have traces of other skiers. Not enough cultural components in the trip – there are much less local charm and authenticity in this region than in Svaneti region. Almost no good forest skiing.

Gudauri Ski Resort

2. Svaneti, average thickness of snow cover 2.5 – 3,5 m.

Pros: The basic altitude for accessing some routes is at an altitude of 2100 meters above sea level. Light snowfalls are slightly more frequent than in Gudauri. Usage of cable cars to approach certain routes. Forest skiing is possible. Great cultural component of the trip - local charm and authenticity of the region, a lot of museums.

Cons: The base altitude for accessing some of the routes is at an altitude of 1500 meters above sea level. The climate is a little more humid - snow is preserved a little worse than in Gudauri. Not a lot of northern expositions. Long approaches to all routes starting from Mestia.

Winter Backcountry in Svaneti, Georgia

3. Racha, average thickness of snow cover 2.5 – 3,5 m.

Pros: You can get there quite easily, easier than to Svaneti, but harder than to Gudauri. One of the wildest and non-tourist spots in the mountains of Georgia. Opportunity for a lot of first ski rides. Possibility of forest skiing. The region is good for multi-day backcountry with overnight stays in tents, huts or snow caves.

Cons: The base altitude is at an altitude of 1400 meters above sea level. Very long and complex approaches to the start of the route and ski area. Nothing to do after skiing.

Skitouring in Racha Mountains, Georgia

Oleg Gritskevich (@amnimaken)

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