In the beginning of March we had the chance to organize our first Georgian Tour and we loved it so much we want to share our impressions of the Caucasus Mountain Range, a truly magical place full of bakccountry spots.
Six Romanian splitboarders and one skier ventured from Otopeni airport, Bucharest to Gudauri Ski Resort in Georgia for a 6 day trip. We departed from Romania at 10 AM and after one short stop in Istanbul we got to Tbilisi International Airport at 5:20 PM where a private shuttle was waiting to take us 120 km up north of Tbilisi to Gudauri Resort. Here we were lucky enough to call our base camp a hotel close to the ski slopes with a beautiful panoramic view.
Full team from camp 2020 in Georgia
On our first day we got acquainted with Sergey from WildGuru, a RMGA professional mountain guide who knows the best spots for backcountry splitboarding near Gudauri. The first trip together was on Mount Dedaena. After driving on some pretty rough roads, we climbed up the mountain for spectacular views. Despite the warm temperatures outside we’ve found the holy grail we’ve been looking for all winter: powder snow. We had to be careful when descending because the bottom layer of snow had little persistence and accidents could happen. We were warned by the local guide not to be fooled by the powder snow we’ve seen because Georgia as well was affected by global warming which meant higher temperatures and little snow.
On our second day we’ve seen the real mountains of Georgia. Sergey took us up north of Gudauri Ski Resort on a long boot climb, some splitboarding ascent, as well some rope aided crossing to reach our destination, the perfect valley for riding our splitboards and skis. We were lucky enough to have the sun as our companion which made all efforts worthwhile. All team members said it was a grueling day but the descent was fun and fast to Kobi village.
Waking up the next day in Gudauri made us realize how lucky we were to have the chance to experience quality pow snow, nice trails and good spots for making viral videos and photos. Sergey knows how to win every visitors’ heart and we were grateful for his guidance. We did see on some trails up the Caucasus Mountains the signs of global warming, patches of grass, but nonetheless Sergey had many aces up his sleeve, numerous valleys where we could ride to our heart’s content.
When you need a break Georgia has plenty of opportunities to relax, we recommend the local food and drinks and of course the Georgian Sulphur Baths, the local spa well known in the region for its therapeutic benefits. Also, Georgian history dates back to the early 32th BC and the Kingdom of Georgia flourished sometime in the 12th century. The local historical place we saw worth mentioning is the Ananuri Fortress, a former castle today just a couple of old churches. As you can see in the pictures, at Ananuri there was no snow, only dry lands. Near the fortress it should have been a reservoir lake, but due to the low precipitations the environment looked post-apocalyptic. Luckly we had some beers with us to hydrate.
The last two days we’ve spent them on a peak near Gudauri Ski Resort, riding on medium difficulty trails full of fresh powder snow. We enjoyed every moment of riding and and the end of the trip we all had the same thought: “we need more days for the Gudauri Experience”.
Local Price Comparison
Below you have the nitty-gritty of our trip to Georgia: prices in Gudauri Ski Resort are lower than in Western Europe, but similar to our city, Brasov, Romania. Tbilisi is usually less expensive than Gudauri Ski Resort.
1 beer – 1.2 EUR
Full meal – 6 EUR
1 bottle of wine in restaurant – 6 EUR
Ski pass in high season – 16 EUR
Georgian Sulphur Baths – 80 EUR / 6 persons
Flight ticket Bucharest – Tbilisi – 120 EUR
What’s next after the first Georgian Tour?
I suppose the logical answer would be round 2. As this was the pilot tour, delivering a successful winter experience service outside Romania made Massif Experience team look forward to the next splitboarding season in which we intend to develop more camps abroad, in Gudauri Ski Resort as well.
Below you can find some reviews from the people who joined us on the first Georgian Tour:
Been with the guys in Georgia and beside the fact that it was a very well planned trip they somehow managed to deliver the best possible snow despite the generally bad conditions. (Mihai Cojocaru)
Went in the pilot Georgia Experience #georgiaexperience with Massif and it was a blast. Although it was a really poor winter the guide always delivered untouched pow lines and everyone was very happy. In this trip I really learned the meaning of earning each and every turn. Cheers ! (Cosmin Popa)
Good vibes, even better tours, spa and local baths, snow, everything you need in a splitboarding camp! (Robert Bucur)