RACHA BACKCOUNTRY SKI EXPEDITION + GEORGIAN WINE & CULTURAL TOUR

This 10-day tour involves adventure skiing in a remote and little-explored region of the Caucasus Mountains of the Republic of Georgia. The itinerary offer participants the opportunity to leave tracks on stunning peaks that have seen few or no skiers all while enjoying the food, wine, culture and wild beauty of a country where East meets West and the past and future collide in unexpected ways.

ITINERARY*

Day 1: Arrival in Tbilisi

-Pickup at airport
-Transfer to hotel
-Rest & recovery
-Walking tour of old city
-Dinner at Georgian restaurant

Description: You’ll be tired by the time you reach Georgia. We understand and won’t rush you into anything. We will greet you at the airport and transport you to your hotel in Tbilisi where you can settle in, wash up, and take a much needed nap. In order to fight jet lag, we’ll return to lead you on a walking tour of Old Tbilisi, which will finish at Mtasminda Park where you will enjoy stunning views over the whole city. Afterwards, you’ll ride the funicular back down to the valley for a satisfying Georgian dinner. Then we’ll return you to your hotel for a proper sleep.

 

Day 2: Transfer from Tbilisi to Racha

-Breakfast at hotel
-Drive to Racha (approximately 7 hours)
-Stop for lunch at restaurant enroute
-Arrive in Village Ghebi
-Stroll around Ghebi
-Prepare equipment
-Welcome dinner
-Overnight at guesthouse in Ghebi

Description: After you take breakfast at the hotel, our guides and drivers will arrive to get you started on the ski adventure. We’ll load all our equipment and companions into 4x4s and begin the long drive to Racha. Enroute we’ll be sure to take breaks for stretching, eating, and photography as the Georgian landscape unfolds in front of you. Our ultimate destination for the drive is Village Ghebi, which will take about 7 hours or so to reach from Tbilisi. Once in Ghebi, we’ll get settled in at a basic guesthouse. Don’t be surprised if we are the only ones in the small village that aren’t locals. And don’t be startled by the curious glances at your ski equipment. It’s a sight seldom seen in this remote region.

 

Day 3: Ski touring in Lagorula Valley & Shoda-Kedela Range

-Early a.m. wakeup and breakfast
-Ski touring / Ski mountaineering
-Lunch picnic style in the mountains
-Ski out
-Dinner at guesthouse in Ghebi
-Overnight at guesthouse in Ghebi

Starting Elevation: 1300m
Max Elevation: 3000m*

Description: This day offers a nice introduction to what Racha has to offer. The tour begins with an ascent through a beech and birch forest and then descends into the Lagorula Valley, which is bordered by the impressively sheer walls of Mt. Lagorula to your left side and the glaciated peak of Mt Shoda to your right. In the valley itself, you will encounter the ruins of shepherd’s huts and St. George’s Church. The end of the valley opens up into a steep powder bowl that goes all the way up to a high saddle in the Shoda-Kedela Range. Great views await and from there you’ll have plenty of room to pick your favorite freeride line back into the valley below.

*Depending on the skill and experience level of the group, there is also a ski mountaineering option to complete the technical ascent/descent of Mt Shoda (3,605m).

 

Day 4: Ski touring on ridge and forest of Mt Shoda

-Early a.m. wakeup and breakfast
-Ski touring
-Lunch picnic style in the mountains
-Ski out
-Dinner at guesthouse in Ghebi
-Overnight at guesthouse in Ghebi

Starting Elevation: 1300m
Max Elevation: 2600

Description: Similar to the day prior, we will begin our tour climbing through the deciduous forest at the base of Mt Shoda. This day, however, we will not descend into Lagorula Valley but instead continue to climb up through the forest onto the arm of Mt Shoda. Once we get above treeline, you will be greeted with a spectacular vantage point of the Racha region. You will also be able to look down into the Lagorula Valley below and admire yesterday’s tracks. We will continue up the ridge of Mt. Shoda as time and conditions permit. The descent will take us back down the ridge and into the forest for some spectacular tree skiing.

 

Day 5: Ski tour to the Kirtisho Glacier

-Early a.m. wakeup and breakfast
-Drive to Village Gona
-Ski touring / Ski mountaineering
-Lunch picnic style in the mountains
-Ski out and drive to Village Glola
-Dinner at guesthouse in Glola
-Overnight at guesthouse in Glola

Starting Elevation: 1700m
Max Elevation: 2700m*

Description: We will leave the guesthouse early in the morning and drive to the long abandoned Village Gona. From here the real adventure begins as the road soon ends where the bridge was destroyed. Be prepared, as we will need to cross the Chevshura River on foot. From there, we will skin up a mellow valley until the confluence with the Damburili River. After this, the terrain gets steeper and more technical as it passes through some narrow canyons and past the ruins of old Soviet mining operations. Our destination is the Kirtisho Glacier descending from the steep peaks of the Caucasian Main Range that form the border of Russia and Georgia.

*The terrain in this area is amazing and there are many possibilities for first descents if the group is interested in overnighting in the backcountry.

 

Day 6: Ski Tour to Buba Glacier

-Early a.m. wakeup and breakfast
-Quick drive to Shovi
-Ski touring
-Lunch picnic style in the mountains
-Dinner at guesthouse in Glola
-Overnight at guesthouse in Glola

Starting Elevation: 1550m
Max Elevation: 3000m

Description: The tour will begin at the beautifully desolate ruins of the Soviet resort Shovi. From here we climb a steep trail through a forest of mixed coniferous and deciduous trees. The trail passes by the remains of an old monastery and eventually reaches an open ridgeline. We will continue the ascent up moderate slopes towards Buba Glacier. At this point, the terrain is varied and we can take our pick of powder slopes. Be sure to gaze across the valley and drool at the steep lines in store for the next day before dropping back into the forest for some screaming tree skiing.

 

Day 7: Ski Tour to Udziro Lake / Katitsvera Mountain

-Early a.m. wakeup and breakfast
-Ski touring / Ski mountaineering
-Lunch picnic style in the mountains
-Ski out
-Dinner at guesthouse in Glola
-Overnight at guesthouse in Glola

Starting Elevation: 1400m
Max Elevation: 2800m*

Description: This day we will start from the Village Glola and ascend through a beautiful forest until we emerge from the treeline into a stunning alpine setting. Our ultimate destination is the Udziro (meaning bottomless in Georgian) Lake. The lake itself sits at 2800m on the slopes of Katitsvera Mountain and is surrounded by great terrain for ski touring / ski mountaineering. Depending on the wishes of the party we can continue towards the summit of Katitsvera Mountain at 3,300. On the way down you will be treated by expansive views of the High Caucasus, fast open terrain, and steep tree skiing at the end.

*Snow camping at Udziro Lake is also an option if the group is interested in spending the night in the backcountry to climb/ski more lines.

 

Day 8: Return to Tbilisi

-Sleep in
-Breakfast at guesthouse in Glola
-Return transfer to Tbilisi
-Lunch at restaurant enroute
-Soak in historic sulfur baths
-Supra dinner in Tbilisi
-Enjoy the nightlife
-Overnight at hotel in Tbilisi

Description: Unless you’re superhuman, you’ll be glad not to wake up to an alpine start again. We’ll let you sleep in and recover from the 5-days of adventure ski touring you just experienced. After we take breakfast, we’ll load up the 4x4s and begin the journey back to Tbilisi to start the cultural portion of your tour. Once we’ve arrived in Tbilisi, we’ll take you for a soak in the historical sulfur baths from which Tbilisi derives its name. After you’ve had the chance to loosen up your muscles in the warm, mineral rich water, we’ll head out for a traditional Georgian “supra.” This customary feast involves mountains of food, traditional music, song, and dance, and seemingly endless toasts washed down by free flowing wine and chacha. If you’re still standing relatively straight by the end of the evening, you are welcome to venture out and explore the vibrant nightlife of Tbilisi.

 

Day 9: Cultural Tour

-Breakfast at hotel in Tbilisi
-Tour of Davit Gareja
-Lunch
-Drive to Signaghi
-Dinner at restaurant in Sighnaghi
-Overnight at hotel in Sighnaghi

Description: It’s time to continue our cultural experience with a journey to the ancient monastery of Davit Gareja, which is set on a ridgeline overlooking the border with Azerbaijan and an arid steppe landscape. We’ll take a hike here exploring the ruins of the once expansive holy city. But be careful for the poisonous vipers that are becoming active again in the spring. You’ll be sure to work up a thirst in the sun, so we’ll leave the desert behind and head for Georgia’s most famous wine region, Kakheti, and enjoy our evening in its most picturesque village, Sighnaghi.

 

Day 10: Wine Country Tour

-Breakfast at hotel in Sighnaghi
-Winery tours in Kakheti
-Farewell Kakhetian dinner
-Drive over Gombori Pass
-Return to Tbilisi
-Overnight at hotel in Tbilisi

Description: On the last day of our tour it’s time to fully unwind. There will be no hiking. Just enjoy the beauty of Georgia’s cradle of viticulture in the springtime. The only exertion will be from lifting your wine glass time and time again as we complete our adventure with winery tours in Kakheti. Our tour will finish with a lovely Kakhetian dinner together before we return to Tbilisi over the flowery Gombori Pass.

 

Day 11+: Departure

-Spend the rest of your time at your own leisure
-We will transport you to the airport to catch your flight when it is time

 Description: Our tour has officially ended at this point. But we are in no rush to send you out of Georgia. Stay as long as you please. You are welcome to explore on your own or consider joining us for another adventure before you depart. But when you are finally ready to say goodbye, just let us know and we will take you to the airport and wish you safe travels.

*Disclaimer: The proposed itinerary contained herein is subject to change and may be modified due to weather, snowcover, avalanche hazard, road closures, discretion of the guides, and/or the fitness, skill level or request of the clients.

PHOTO GALLERY

Tbilisi, the place where your adventure will start and finish.
Villagers in Ghebi curious as to what these strange skiers are up to.
Emerging from the forest above Village Ghebi. The view is this spectacular 360 degrees around. You’ll see so many beautiful spots to ski in the background that you’ll wish you were staying longer.
Skinning up Mt Shoda with wonderful vantages of Mt Lagorula and the Lagorula Valley. We’ll ski these prime spots on our first and second touring days.
Ski Tour in Georgia, Europe. Abandoned Village
The abandoned Village Gona with the day’s snowy playground awaiting in the background.
Chevshura River Rock-Ice Cascade. The skyline in the background is the Russian-Georgian border.This area lies between Village Gona and the Kirtisho Glacier. It’s what’s on the menu for day three of ski touring.
Traditional Georgian food is savory, delicious and satisfying after a day of skiing.
The ancient monastery of Davit Gareja is hewn into the stone cliffs of the high barren steppe.
The village of Sighnaghi sits perched above Georgia’ principle winemaking region, the Kakheti Valley.
With recent archaeological evidence to prove that the tradition of winemaking began in Georgia over 8,000 years ago, it is safe to say that this is indeed the birthplace of wine.

BOOKING & PRICING

Number of Persons   /   Price Per Person

1-2 …………………………… $3500
3-4 …………………………… $3250
5-6 …………………………… $3000
7-8 …………………………… $2750
8-10 …………………………. $2500
11-12 ………………………. $2250

This tour is being offered to you on a sliding scale. Meaning, the price per person will drop dramatically as more join in the fun. So convince your friends to come along!

What’s included:

  • 10 nights of accommodation
  • All meals during the course of the tour
  • Local, professional, English & Russian-speaking ski guides (max skier-to-guide ratio 4:1)
  • Airport transfers
  • Local transfers
  • 4×4 vehicle support throughout
  • Cultural tours
  • Winery tours
  • Knowledgeable, English & Russian-speaking, local guide for the cultural portion of your itinerary

What additional costs are there:

  • Flights to and from Georgia
  • Travel insurance / overseas medical insurance to cover emergencies (optional)
  • Snacks, drinks, alcohol and personal expenses
  • Equipment rental or purchase if you did not bring required items
  • Tips for your guides (optional)

Season:

This tour is available from December-April.

Booking Inquiries:

If you’re interested in this tour or others then contact us at:

email: info@caucasusnomad.com
Tele: + 995 591 70 84 76 (Georgia) or +1 (208) 761 0616 (USA)