Skiing in Turkey

With winter fast approaching, did you know that Turkey also has a great selection of ski resorts for the perfect winter holiday?

Here are the highlights to help you choose the perfect one for you!

Agri Bubi

Mount Agri is the Turkish name for Ararat, a permanently snow capped mountain famous since biblical times as the mountain where Noah’s Ark came to rest.

  • The Turkish Ski Resort of Agri Bubi has direct access to 1 individual pistes, served by 1 ski lifts.
  • There is skiing to suit a range of abilities.
Davras
Davras

Davras

Davras Ski Centre is located near the Mediterranean city of Isparta and close to the village of Egirdir.

  • The ski area is located between a “Golden Triangle” of crystal clear lakes and operates a double chairlift is 1121m long.
  • The Sirene Davras Ski And Wellness Hotel had 123 deluxe rooms includes 46 family rooms, open buffet restaurant, Anatolian Steak and Kebab Restaurant, night club and disco, lobby and snack bars, wellness club, shopping arcade, bowling, cinema, games and computer rooms.
  • The Turkish Ski Resort of Davras has direct access to 4 individual pistes, served by 3 ski lifts.
  • The ski resort itself is above 1500m, so skiing or boarding back to the resort is usually possible. With skiing above 2000 metres, snow cover is generally reliable.
  • All levels of skier ability, from Beginner to Expert, are well-catered for in Davras.
  • Davras offers some good boarding and there is a Snow Park.

Elmadag

High altitude skiing close to the Turkish capital, Ankara. The slopes are above the tree line in splendid isolation, with a lovely small hotel, chalets, a tastefully decorated la carte restaurant and a discothèque.

  • The Turkish Ski Resort of Elmadag has direct access to 3 individual pistes, served by 2 ski lifts.
  • There is skiing to suit a range of abilities.
  • Elmadag offers some good boarding.
Erciyes
Erciyes

Erciyes

Located on Mount Erciyes, an extinct volcano and the highest peak in Central Anatolia, there were originally two lodges sleeping up to 285 but there has been large scale lift development including two gondolas and more than a dozen quad and six seater chairlifts since 2010. The overnight temperature drop at this high altitude creates very good snow conditions for the latitude. Heliskiing and year round glacier skiing with the local mountain peaking at 3916m. Plans are to extend the ski area to 160km of runs.

  • The Turkish Ski Resort of Erciyes has direct access to 11 individual pistes, served by 5 ski lifts.
  • The ski resort itself is above 1500m, so skiing or boarding back to the resort is usually possible. With pistes above 2500 metres, skiing and snowboarding is assured throughout the season.
  • All levels of skier ability, from Beginner to Expert, are well-catered for in Erciyes.
  • Erciyes offers some good boarding and there is a Snow Park.

Ilgaz

Turkey’s newest and most rapidly improving ski centre now has a five star hotel. Located in the Ilgaz National Park and owned by the Turkish Directorate of Forestry. Situated right in the heart of Ilgaz Mountain National Park, covering an area of 1088 hectares, this resort has a reputation for its natural beauty. Due to the ideal climate of the region skiers can enjoy fairly long skiing season and the excellent powder snow. With the opening of Kastamonu Airport ( just 20 km away) and 14 km of new slopes planned, this long ignored place will soon become popular.

  • The Turkish Ski Resort of Ilgaz has direct access to 4 individual pistes, served by 3 ski lifts.
  • With skiing above 2000 metres, snow cover is generally reliable.
  • Ilgaz offers good skiing, particularly, for Beginner skiers.
  • Ilgaz offers some good boarding.

Kartalkaya

One of Turkey’s internationally unknown centres offers skiing for all standards in the picturesque pine forests of the Koroglu National Park. Located 38km south of Bolu City centre, the ski area reaches 2400m high on the Koroglu Mountain.

  • The Turkish Ski Resort of Kartalkaya has direct access to 23 individual pistes, served by 18 ski lifts.
  • The ski resort itself is above 1500m, so skiing or boarding back to the resort is usually possible. With skiing above 2000 metres, snow cover is generally reliable.
  • There are three main slopes, a corner, three handrails and three boxes.re are three main slopes, a corner, three handrails and three boxes.

Konakli

Established for the 2011 Universiade Winter Games, the Konakli ski area, some 20 minutes from the ancient city of Erzurum, stages Super-G, Slalom, Giant Slalom and Super Combined Alpine ski races. Konakli is the second for the city along with the established resort of Palandoken which hosted snowboarding events.

  • The Turkish Ski Resort of Konakli has direct access to 10 individual pistes, served by 4 ski lifts.
  • The ski resort itself is above 1500m, so skiing or boarding back to the resort is usually possible. With pistes above 2500 metres, skiing and snowboarding is assured throughout the season.
  • There is skiing to suit a range of abilities.
  • Konakli offers some good boarding and there is a Snow Park in Konakli.
Mt Palandöken
Mt Palandöken

Mt Palandöken

One of the highest ski areas in Turkey with some of the country’s toughest skiing, making it a venue for international competitions (FIS approved pistes). The resort stands above one of the world’s oldest cities, 6000 year old Erzurum. Recently redeveloped with new chair lifts and Turkey’s first gondola (new in 1998) greatly increasing the skiable area. There are four hotels slope side, including four and five star options with all amenities and excellent value.

  • The Turkish Ski Resort of Mt Palandöken has direct access to 17 individual pistes, served by 9 ski lifts.
    The ski resort itself is above 1500m, so skiing or boarding back to the resort is usually possible. With pistes above 2500 metres, skiing and snowboarding is assured throughout the season.
  • Palandöken’s ski area is amongst the highest in the world, rising to nearly 3200m (about 10,500) feet at the summit. The precise height of the summit is disputed by the various interested parties, but its generally agreed that the vertical drop is around 1100m (about 3,700 feet) – which would be equivalent to one of the top 20 resorts in North America on that scale.
  • Most of the skiing is on wide open slopes, divided by a central ridge, with north and north-west facing terrain all well above the tree-line (one of the many differences from Turkey’s other major ski areas to the West, which have forested lower slopes). Most f the lifts here are double chairs, with Turkey’s only gondola, which was opened here in 1998, running almost the full vertical over its 3.2km (2 miles) length.
  • Beginners have nursery slopes by the main hotels and should be able to quickly progress on to one of the seven blue runs. Intermediates have an additional eight reds, whilst experts have two blacks, up to five marked off-piste itineraries and a heli-skiing option. The usually windy summit of Mt Eider is reached by a double chair and there’s excellent steep bowl skiing from the rim off the descending red run. The powder snow reputedly stays in good condition for powder skiing for longer than the Alpine norm after a storm because of the dry conditions here. Three mountain restaurants to choose from if you take a break.
  • This is arguably Turkey’s best destination for boarders – the biggest terrain, the biggest vertical, off-piste powder stashes (many of which are on marked routes if not bashed piste – cutting out the danger-of-death-factor a bit) and a half pipe are all on offer. There’s also the added bonus that unlike in other Turkish resorts where T-bar is the dominant lift type, the majority of Palandöken’s lifts are either chairs or the gondola. Locals recommend the off-piste terrain between the trails on the wide face of Mt Eider as being the best on the mountain for boarders, and heli-boarding is available.
  • Après ski is centred on the various hotel complexes which each have several bars. There’s also the option of going down the mountain to Erzurum to check out the wide variety of entertainments available in the city where ancient and modern meet, as do half a dozen different cultures. On the slopes the Polat Renaissance has a choice of six bars and restaurants and the Dedeman has its own night club as well as more bars. It’s at the Dedeman that the after-snow action usually begins with mulled wine provided from 4 until 5pm and the traditional Alpine style ‘Tea Dancing’ often getting underway if conditions are good (dancing on chairs and tables in ski boots). The hotels also organise traditional entertainment evenings with shows including belly dancing.

Saklikent

Located in the Beydag mountain range, there are guest houses, chalets, shops and a market here, and the added attraction in March or April of an optional afternoon dip in the Mediterranean.

  • The Turkish Ski Resort of Saklikent has direct access to 4 individual pistes, served by 2 ski lifts.
  • With skiing above 2000 metres, snow cover is generally reliable.
  • There is skiing to suit a range of abilities.
  • Saklikent offers some good boarding.

Sarikamis

Located in an attractive pine forest, with a ski season that can begin in November, Sarikamis is also noted for it’s hunting. There’s a 60 bed ski lodge by the slopes.

  • The Turkish Ski Resort of Sarikamis has direct access to 4 individual pistes, served by 3 ski lifts.
  • With pistes above 2500 metres, skiing and snowboarding is assured throughout the season.
  • Sarikamis offers good skiing, particularly, for Intermediate and Beginner skiers.
  • Sarikamis offers some good boarding.

 

Uludag
Uludag

Uludag

Pronounced oo-la-dar, the biggest resort in Turkey is close to the sea and historic sites and is surrounded by a 600-year-old national forest. High-value skiing with the option of heli-skiing on the Zivre Peak (2543 M ).

  • The Turkish Ski Resort of Uludag has direct access to 25 individual pistes, served by 15 ski lifts.
  • The ski resort itself is above 1500m, so skiing or boarding back to the resort is usually possible. With skiing above 2000 metres, snow cover is generally reliable.
  • Uludag’s ski slopes fan out in a horseshoe around the resort, with most of the hotels either slope side or very close to the slopes and most owning their own lifts. Whilst this is convenient initially for an individual hotel’s guest, who’ll generally find use of that hotel’s lift is included in their holiday price; it rapidly becomes less so once they try to move around and find they have to stop and buy a ticket with their millions of Turkish lira at virtually every lift. Collective lift tickets have existed in the past apparently, and may do again – a new computerised system ticketing system for the whole resort had reportedly been purchased at the time of writing, but agreement had not been reached on its installation and use.
  • Most of the lifts are T bars, the remainder elderly single or double chairs. If you’re prepared to put up with the lifts (Most of which close for lunch at 1pm sharp, in the case of the T Bars regardless of whether people are riding up at the time, reportedly) and the ticket system then you are in for a good skiing experience, probably! Although largely promoted as a place for beginners and intermediates, more advanced skiers have raved about the ‘huge safe bowls’ of powder snow off piste between the runs which can be enjoyed ‘in peace’ during the quiet midweek period.
  • The off piste terrain, especially good in the Kusaklikaya sector, is little used by the natives but relatively safe from avalanches, there being no Alpine style steeps or overhangs above the slopes. Apart from the lift served runs there’s the chance to take a budget priced helicopter to the summit of Mount Olympus/Zivre (2543m/about 8400 feet) to ski one of the most challenging runs; or a bus to the Volfram mine from which you can ski back to the resort. It’s possible to take a long hike to the summit of Zivre if the helicopter service is unavailable.
  • The highest point of the lifts is reached by a single chair at 2235m. From here on a good day there are views over the rolling hills down to the sea of Murmara. For intermediate skiers the Ulukardesler, Ergun and Fatin lifts give access to some of the main wide sunny blue and reds slopes leading back down to the villase. The Fatin run often sports a mogul/bumps field.
  • Beginners will find wide nursery slopes carved through the trees above the resort, and above every hotel. To the right of the main snowbowl the Fahri, Beceren and Kervansary lifts all access the best of the nursery terrain. Some of the lifts have music playing add to the party atmosphere.
  • The ski school is particularly good midweek when clients are few and teachers especially keen and there are numerous mountain huts and restaurants. Night skiing is also available and in any case the lifts tend to stay open until around 8pm from February on. Snow cover is generally good with largely north facing, if sunny, slopes.
  • There are half a dozen cross country trails around the resort but there is apparently a serious danger of bear or wolf attack to those who venture too far away into the untouched national forest!
  • Boarding is not a major sport at Uludag. The extensive areas of off-piste powder and the good selection of chairs are an asset, against the fact that the surface lifts are all drags. Low cost heli-boarding and abundant night life are also plus points.
  • Après-ski is where Turkey, and Uludag in particular, excel. The limited winter population have a choice of dozens or bars and seven night clubs, albeit hotel based. The latter tend to ‘come to life’ around midnight and stay busy until 4 or 5 am. The Beceren café at the base of the slopes is a favourite haunt for party animals, who although too concerned with saving their energies for the evening activities to venture on to the slopes, may still expend some effort in changing outfits several times a day. There is also a casino for those tempted to gamble.

 

(Source: J2Ski)
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