Bored of the Alps? After somewhere a little more off-piste for your next skiing holiday? Then this Georgian winter adventure may be just the ticket.
Ah, Georgia! The land of wine, winter-sports and song. As winter falls, this wonderful Caucasian country becomes a snow-lovers paradise. Come and experience it for yourself on our Georgia ski trip.
This unique guided tour combines an invigorating dose of skiing (or snowboarding) in the High Caucasus with some relaxing wine tasting in Kakheti.
Explore the Caucasus
The Caucasus Range is a fantastic winter sports destination that’s refreshingly free of the crowds that plague many Alpine resorts. Lift waiting times are often just a few minutes and the slopes are relatively empty – leaving you plenty of space to perfect your carving and shredding techniques.
You’ll find that the snow is better than in the Alps, the increased altitude (up to 3300 metres) making it more reliable. Expect fantastic skiing conditions from late December to late March.
Go Wine Tasting in Georgia
Away from the slopes, you’ll be staying in very good hotels and cosy, family-run guesthouses, enjoying some uniquely Georgian après ski and feasting on world-beating Georgian food.
You will also visit Kakheti, the heartland of Georgia’s famous wine-growing tradition – a practice that stretches back a staggering 8,000 years.
A Heli-skiing Experience
If you’re hungry for adrenaline, we can also offer the incredible opportunity to spend a day heli-skiing here. Weather permitting, this is your chance to glide down untouched mountain snow.
This Georgia ski tour will start and finish in Tbilisi, the buzzing capital of Georgia. Steeped in history and atmosphere, this is one of our favourite cities on the Silk Road. For those with a penchant for partying, it also has some of the best techno clubs in Europe and is often labelled ‘the new Berlin.’
Tbilisi International Airport
Whenever your flights arrive
Rental of a 4WD, fully insured, prepared and maintained.
You will be travelling in a good quality, fully-insured 4WD. You can either have a driver-guide, or can choose to do the trip as a self-drive.
Please note that to drive a car in Georgia we will need to see proof of you holding a valid driving licence.
This is a tailor-made tour, so the itinerary can be altered to suit your timings, desires and wallet.
Minimum Group Booking of just 4 persons. Maximum 8 persons.
Start Point: Home Destination: Tbilisi International Airport Travel: Plane Notes: Arrival in Georgia
Once you arrive in Tbilisi, your driver-guide will collect you from the airport and whisk you straight to the mountains. After a beautiful two-hour drive you’ll arrive in the ski resort of Gudauri, where you’ll check-in to a charming guesthouse in the village. Of course, if you’d rather spend a night in Tbilisi before heading this way, that’s also possible.
Start Point: Gudauri Travel: Skis
Today is all yours to enjoy the slopes. The little resort of Gudauri has eleven lifts and gondolas and you reach just over 3300 metres at the peak. The view from up there into Russia and Chechnya is pretty impressive. The resort also has a ski school with two magic carpets for beginners and a couple of blue runs. It has plenty of red runs, a few black and a good area for powder skiing. Tonight you’ll be in the same guesthouse, where you’ll feast on a delicious array of local food and wine.
Start Point: Gudauri Travel: Skis
Today, after breakfast, you’ll strap on your skis and head into the mountains for another day on the powdery slopes. As well as skiing, there’s delicious Georgian food and plenty of opportunity for a bit of après ski fun. Georgians are gregarious, garrulous people who are always keen to share their fantastic wines, beers and local chacha brandy with you. There’ll rarely be a dull moment, that’s for sure!
Start Point: Gudauri Travel: Skis or Snowmobile
You have the option today to enjoy Gudauri, or to take a snowmobile for ski-touring a wider area. Tonight will be spent at the same guesthouse.
Start Point: Gudauri Travel: Skis/ Helicopter
Again you’ll have the option to ski locally today or splash out and enjoy a wonderful heli-skiing experience. Of course this is weather-permitting, but from only £750 per person for two full-flight hours, with unlimited vertical uplift, this is a brilliant opportunity to enjoy heli-skiing in a truly jaw-dropping location. Whatever you choose to do, we will end the day at a traditional Russian banya steam bath in old Gudauri village. Similar to a sauna, this will restore mind and body before you head to wine country tomorrow.
Today you leave Gudauri to drive east to Kakheti – the wine-growing region of Georgia. Georgia is the birthplace of wine – wine making here dates back 8000 years – and today you’ll visit both a small family-run winery and a large-scale producer. Tonight will be spent in either a local guesthouse, or a very good local hotel, where you’ll enjoy a traditional Georgian supra, or feast. Loosen that belt buckle…
Start Point: Telavi Destination: Tbilisi and Home Travel: 4WD and Plane
After a final breakfast you’ll take the scenic, winding road towards Tbilisi, crossing the pretty Gombori (meaning ‘cold’) Pass on the way. It’s a two hour journey back to the capital, and once you arrive you’ll have the afternoon to explore the city, or wind down with a sulphur bath and massage. Most flights leave this evening, so we will ensure to get you out to the airport in good time. Of course, if you’d like to spend a night or two here, then we will happily arrange this for you.
Georgia Winter Sports and Wine March 2020/2
Where will we be staying?
On this trip you’ll be staying in a mixture of accommodation, from 4 and 5 star hotels to small, family-run guesthouses. We feel that true luxury is getting to know a place and its people, rather than being measured by the thread count of the bed linen. Moreover, Georgians are famed for their food, wine and hospitality. If you’d prefer to upgrade the accommodation to suit your personal tastes, then just let us know.
What kit do I need to bring?
We will provide you with an information pack after signing up to this trip, and this will detail any particular equipment we think either necessary or useful. We can provide skis, boots and bindings but clothing, helmet and any other specific kit should be brought with you.
What are the ski routes like?
Gudauri is a small resort but has a significant number of ski runs to enjoy, plus off-piste options. Obviously using the snowmobiles, cat-skiing or heli-skiing options add unending choice to your trip, and there is a lot of very good powder snow here for the enthusiast to enjoy. For those content with on-piste skiing, there are around 35 km of slopes with fifteen lifts serving them. The peak of Mt Sadzele is around 3,300 metres and the top lift gets you to within 300 m of that elevation. Here is a map of the main runs in Gudauri.
How much are flights?
This depends on season, but there are direct flights from across Europe to Tbilisi, and some from further afield. There are also now budget airlines flying to Georgia (mostly to the airport at Kutaisi, from where you’ll transfer to Tbilisi), so it is possible to get a return ticket very cheaply if you shop around and don’t mind the time of day you’ll travel. The direct Georgian Airways flight from London to Tbilisi is perhaps the easiest choice and delivers you to one of the most vibrant and vivacious capitals of Europe in around 5 hours.
What will the food be like?
Amazing! Georgian food is a feast for the palate; a tasty array of (largely home-produced) meat and vegetarian dishes infused with the tastes of Persia, the Middle East and Europe. This is definitely one of our more gastronomic (and vegetarian friendly) trips.
Are the Cars Insured?
If you elect to drive yourself then yes, the cars are insured as per local law. Your own personal travel insurance should cover you for driving a car in Georgia.
Do you perform proper risk management on your expeditions?
Yes, we perform detailed country risk assessments prior to departure, in line with the ISO 31000 international standard for risk assessment. We also maintain close contact with the relevant Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for countries we plan to visit, in addition to making use of the Australian Smart Traveller assessment tool, and the US State Department’s OSAC service. Beyond this, we have a full set of risk management and disaster contingency plans for each expedition and are expedition first aid trained by Crux Medical. For final back up we also use the services of Remote Medical Support that allows us to have a UK expedition doctor on the end of a telephone line wherever we may be. We really don’t mess around when it comes to safety.
Is this really for me?
Georgia is a wonderful place to visit, and we feel certain you’ll have a great time whatever you choose to do there. But whilst some hotels really are exceptional, others might be more homely and service standards might be slightly less polished that in, say, Mayfair or Monte Carlo. This is what gives a place charm, and Georgia has charm by the pallet load.
This won’t be another trip to Zermatt, Verbier or Gstadt. But you’ll be talking about it for years to come.
If you like your holidays to include foie gras, butlers and gemutlichkeiten, then please look elsewhere.
If however, you want a unique and delightful experience that you’ll remember forever, then you are in luck!
Discover the Silk Road on this fabulous exploration of Georgia and Azerbaijan. Follow in the footsteps of Joanna Lumley on this trip, designed by our director Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent, a producer of the Silk Road Series.