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Stretching between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, Georgia is a country known for its folklore, traditional music and theater, and its status as a cultural melting pot of influences ranging from Roman and Iranian empires to Soviet Russia. Come wintertime, Georgia is also respected as the home of the Caucasus Mountains and some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the region. With lower prices, fewer crowds, and ample powder, Georgia makes for an attractive candidate when brainstorming winter getaways. Check our list below of the best ski resorts the country has to offer.
Located 75 miles north of Tbilisi in the heart of the Caucasus Mountains, Gudauri is the pearl of Georgian ski resorts. Starting out at the top of your run, Gudauri offers unbeatable views across the sweeping snow-capped landscape. It’s curiously free of rocks, which gives the mountain an other-worldly feel and allows you to get creative with your riding. There are runs for beginners, moguls, slalom runs, and excellent opportunities for heliskiing if you have some extra cash to spend. If your legs aren’t burning by the end of the day, they offer night skiing as well on weekends.
Any skiing or snowboarding enthusiast knows the thrill (and danger) of winding through dense trees and creating your own run. Goderdzi is a bit lower in altitude and is chock-full of patches of trees that provide endless fun. With only a handful of lifts, it’s not the most visited resort, but the crowds are noticeably smaller than the others on this list. The mountain is covered in snow between November and April, but Goderdzi is a four-season resort. Visit in the summertime to enjoy mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, and paragliding. In the surrounding area, there’s the Petrified Forest, a national monument with ancient fossils, medieval castles, and old Orthodox Christian monasteries.
Bakuriani is a great family-friendly resort with a kind of hidden, backcountry cabin feel. Located three hours from Tbilisi, we strongly suggest arriving by train, on a route that leads you through snow-covered winter wonderlands. Bakuriani is one of the oldest ski resorts in Georgia with the first infrastructure built back in 1932. Today, it’s a collection of eight ski lifts, 18-square miles of ski runs, and a quaint little town center. Other activities on deck include snowmobile rental, cross-country skiing, a toboggan run, and kids runs. If you would label yourself an expert skier, Bakuriani was originally constructed as an Olympic training facility, so there’s a fair share of expert downhill runs as well.
Mestia is located in the northwest corner of the country and is home to some of the snowiest mountains in all of Georgia. If other regions are suffering from a particularly dry winter, Mestia usually still has snow. The resort town isn’t as built-up as Gudauri or Bakuriani, so it has more of a hometown vibe. To get here, the easiest option is to fly directly from Tbilisi, which will run you about $30. Once you’ve exhausted the few runs on the mountain, the greater region around Mestia is home to 132 villages and tons of opportunity to get a taste of Georgian culture. For more information and reviews about skiing in Georgia, check out Snowbistro.