Do you want to ski amongst the highest mountains in Europe, in an area largely unexplored by outsiders? Then this is the trip for you. Get well and truly off the beaten track as you explore terrain known only to the locals, along with old medieval villages in this dreamland of backcountry skiing.
Situated in the North of Georgia, Svaneti is bordered by both Karachay-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria in the Russian Federation. It is home to the highest mountain range in Europe, which is unspoilt from mass tourism. On top of this, the region is brimming with ancient villages and 8000-year old cultural heritage. With peaks reaching over 5000m and incredible descents on untouched powder into the valleys, it’s easy to see why the Republic of Georgia is perfect destination for backcountry skiers.
Much of the Svaneti region lies below 1800m and is covered by mixed and coniferous forests, making for some great tree skiing. Anything from 1800m-3000m is mostly alpine meadows and grasslands, and covered in snow and glaciers and is perfect for ski touring. Some of the higher peaks dominating the skyline reach well over 5000m.
This tour can be organised from January to late March. Between this time, the average temperature is -3°C but can drop as low as -10°C at night. As you ascend higher into the mountains, the temperatures will also drop significantly.
Sunday: Arrival in Georgia
If you’re starting your trip from Tbilisi we’ll pick you up in the afternoon and head to Kutaisi to collect any fellow adventurers that are flying in there. If you’re flying into Kutaisi then you need to arrive in the early hours of Monday morning or before.
Monday: Transfer to Svaneti
In the early a.m., we’ll collect the rest of our group in Kutaisi and drive the remainder of the way to Svaneti. You’ll arrive at the guesthouse in time for breakfast before you start warming up for the adventure ahead with some lift-based touring at Mestia’s ski resort, Hatsvali. The resort offers great opportunities for off-piste riding and tree skiing. Spend the evening back at your guesthouse in Etseri, where you can enjoy a traditional Svan dinner.
5 hours of skiing
Tuesday: Etseri – Mt. Simzagari
It’s an early start before you head onto Mount Simzagari for today’s skiing. Your tour will start at a medieval village at 1600m before you ascend to the spectacular summit of Mount Simzagari (3311m). At the summit, you will be rewarded with stunning views of the famous North Ushba (4698m), so it’s a great place to snap some pictures. From the top, the descent down the South Face of Simzagari is absolutely spectacular as you head back to your transfer point. Relax in your guesthouse for the night, and enjoy a traditional Svan dinner.
7 hours of ski touring, approximately 1500m elevation gain
Wednesday: Etseri – Becho
Today you will have another fantastic day of ski touring, as you skin up to the mountain pass linking Etseri to Becho. It’s one of the toughest days with 1200m of vertical ascent but this will be quickly rewarded with the magnificent views of the Laila Range, Ushba and the Abkhazian part of the Caucasus. Finish the day with a superb descent down into Becho where you will spend the night at the beautiful, family-owned Grand Hotel Ushba.
6 hours of ski touring, 1200m elevation gain
Thursday: Kheldra – Mestia
Your penultimate day of touring heads North East up the Kheldra valley towards the Mtavarangelozi Church (2000m). Make sure your camera is charged as you’ll have amazing views of Mount Ushba all day. From the church, it’s a tough climb up to the Kheldra Peak (3312m), but at the top, you’ll have unparalleled views of both Ushba and Tetnuldi. Depending on the conditions, you can either ski back down the line of ascent or ski over the glaciated pass to Mestia for a well-earned beer.
8 hours of ski touring, over 1500m elevation gain
Friday: Tetnuldi – Adishi
Spend your final day of touring in the newly opened Tetnuldi Resort, located on the slopes of the majestic Mount Tetnuldi. This is the perfect place to finish your trip, as the resort boasts magnificent views of the whole Svanetian mountain range. Not only are the views amazing, but you will be able to summit not one, but two mountains. First, you will skin to the top of Sugimleuk (3183m) before enjoying the descent down. Then, you will skin up to Lakchkhilda Peak (3501m). Finish the day with a descent into the very remote and beautiful village of Adishi (1800m). From here, it’s a thrilling journey in 4x4s back to Mestia. Enjoy your last Svan dinner together and reflect on the amazing experience you’ve just had.
6-7 hours of ski touring and lift-based freeriding
Saturday: Explore Kutaisi or Tbilisi
Enjoy a relaxed breakfast before you head off on the scenic drive back to Kutaisi or Tbilisi. Spend the remainder of your day exploring Kutaisi or Tbilisi. When you’re ready, you will be taken back to your hotel for a traditional Georgian meal to end your trip.
4-hours driving (Kutaisi) / 8-hours driving (Tbilisi)
We’ll transport you from your hotel to the airport in time for your flight. If you aren’t ready to leave Georgia yet then no problem. Feel free to look at some of our other great tour options or ask us for recommendations on things to do for the remainder of your visit.
You will be met in Tbilisi or Kutaisi and transported to Svaneti. If you plan to fly into Kutaisi Airport (KUT) be sure to arrive at 02:50 or earlier on Monday morning. If you plan to start from Tbilisi be sure to arrive to the Tbilisi Airport (TBS) by Sunday afternoon at the latest. If you are already in Kutaisi or Tbilisi prior to the start of the trip we can pick you up at your hotel.
You will be transferred back to Tbilisi or Kutaisi depending on your particular needs. We will be in touch before the trip to finalize details. Your final airport transfer from your hotel is included in the tour price. But we’re in no rush to get rid of you. Feel free to stick around Georgia and keep exploring after your ski tour ends. We’d be happy for you to join us on another adventure or to offer you recommendations on what else to see and do in this beautiful country.
Kutaisi International Airport (KUT), also known as David the Builder Kutaisi International Airport, is located in the West of Georgia and serves international flights all over Europe. The airport is a 4-5 hour drive from the Svaneti region.
Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi International Airport (TBS), is located in the capital city in the East of Georgia, and serves international flights from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The airport is an 8-10 hour drive from the Svaneti Region.
This backcountry adventure includes:
• 5 days of skiing
• 6 nights of accommodation
• All meals, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner
• Local professional, English-speaking ski guide
• Airport transfers
• Local transfers
• 4×4 vehicle support throughout
The following are not included in the tour price:
• Flights to/from Georgia
• Travel insurance that covers off-piste skiing
• Snacks, drinks and personal expenses
• Equipment rental or purchase if you did not bring required items
• Tips for your guides (optional)
Food will be a delicious mix of local Svan and national Georgian cuisine, cooked with fresh produce grown or reared by the guesthouse owners. Georgian cuisine is world renowned for its mix of East and West flavors. It can be slightly spicy and consists mainly of meat, vegetables, cheese and fruit. Lunches will be picnic style in the wilderness.
Georgia is considered the cradle of wine with a rich tradition of winemaking going back over 5,000 years. In proper Georgian custom, you will certainly have plenty of opportunity to sample homemade wines and chacha, a strong liquor made from grapes.
Absolutely! Just let us know at booking.
You need to have a good level of fitness to ascend between approximately 800m-1500m each day. Some of the mountain passes can be quite difficult to climb over. In terms of skiing ability, you need to be at least an intermediate off-piste and powder skier to go on this adventure. The route selection can change depending on the guide’s judgement of the conditions and the group’s capabilities.
Previous experience in backcountry touring and familiarity with the use of avalanche safety equipment is an asset but not required. If you have never been touring or used avalanche safety equipment before then you need to let us know in advance. If this is the case, then your first day of skiing at the Hatsvali Resort will be spent with one of the guides honing these new skills before you head into the backcountry.
In addition to your normal clothes, toiletries, electronics, passport, etc. that you would bring on any international adventure, the following equipment is required for this tour:
• Touring skis or split board
• Touring boots
• Avalanche transceiver
• Snow shovel
• Snow probe
• Telescopic ski poles with wide powder baskets
• Climbing skins
• 25-40 L backpack
• Wicking base layers (synthetic or wool)
• Fleece jacket or vest (insulating mid layer)
• Fleece pants (for cold days)
• Insulating jacket (down or poly-fill; worn at stops)
• Jacket (waterproof/breathable or soft shell)
• Warm gloves (for the descent) & light gloves (for the ascent)
• Socks (synthetic or wool) plus spares
• Pants or bibs (waterproof/breathable or soft shell)
• Warm hat or beanie
• Bandana or Buff (neck or face gaiter)
• Sunscreen and lip balm
• Headlamp and a set of extra batteries
• Water bottles or hydration system (preferably insulated bottles – hoses will freeze in cold weather)
The following additional equipment is recommended:
• Ski/splitboard crampons
• Avalanche airbag
• Sun-shielding cap or hat for bright days
• Knife or multi-tool
• Duct tape strips; repair items as needed
• Small first-aid kit (for: blisters, aches & pains, cuts, intestinal issues, etc.)
• Warm mittens or overmittens
• Disposable chemical hand/foot warmers
• Energy food (bars, gels, chews, trail mix)
• Energy beverages or drink mixes
• Toilet paper and wet wipe
• Waterproof bags for your passport and other valuables
No equipment is included in the tour price. You need to bring along your own gear or rent from us. We can offer you Zag or Elan touring skis, Elan splitboards, Ortovox avalanche safety equipment and Colltex skins, at an additional cost. If you intend to rent equipment from us then you need to notify us in advance of the trip to ensure availability.
This trip will run with a minimum of 4 people, and a maximum of 12.
Sure can! A lot of people do, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people..
Our ski tours are very social in nature and we’ve seen lots of new friendships born out of them. Expect a mix of solo travelers and very small groups of 2 or 3, all with a shared appreciation of escaping the city for the great outdoors to try something new and meet new people.
You certainly can. We specialize in bespoke and custom tours tailor-made for our clients. If you’re interested in exploring the Svaneti backcountry, but not in a group setting with people you don’t already know, then get in touch. We can develop a specialized itinerary that suits your schedule and interest. And you can of course bring your best friends along for the adventure.
Yes we do. If any of the following apply, we’ll reduce your fees:
- Earlybird discount if you book more than 60 days before the tour starts;
- Group booking discount if you reserve for at least 4 persons simultaneously;
- Customer loyalty discount for our past clients that are returning adventurers; or
- Military discount for those who’ve served in their country’s armed forces.
Just let us know when you make your reservation inquiry if any of the above apply and we’ll provide details on your discounted rate.
Send an email to: email@example.com
In the subject line write: Svaneti Backcountry Ski Tour Reservation Inquiry
Be sure to include the following info in the body of your text:
Tour dates requested:
Number of persons in your party:
Contact phone number:
We will follow up with you to sort out the details.
Alternatively you can reach us by phone at: +995 591 70 84 76
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