Ski Touring through Georgia's Backcountry in 7 Days

Skin up to some of the highest mountain passes in the Svaneti region and discover the local mountain culture. 5 days off work.

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Ski Touring through Georgia's Backcountry in 7 Days

Skin up to some of the highest mountain passes in the Svaneti region and discover the local mountain culture. 5 days off work.

Do you want to ski amongst some of the highest mountains in Europe, in backcountry largely unexplored by tourists? 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 European gem of backcountry skiing. This backcountry adventure includes:

  • 5 days of backcountry skiing
  • 6 nights of accommodation
  • All meals, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Local professional, English-speaking ski guide
  • Airport transfers
  • Local transfers
  • 4x4 vehicle support throughout

Perfect for:
This week-long backcountry adventure is perfect for avid skiers looking to explore the remote mountain passes and medieval villages of Georgia’s backcountry. Intermediate off-piste and powder skiing ability is needed for this epic week.

What to Expect

Sunday: Flight to Georgia

Upon catching your Sunday night flight, you will arrive into Kutaisi Airport in the early hours of the morning. Your host will meet you at the airport and transfer you to Svaneti in time for breakfast.

Monday: Kutaisi - 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 endless opportunities for off-piste riding and epic 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, 800 - 1700m elevation gain

Wednesday: Etseri - Becho

Today you will have another epic day of ski touring, as you skin up to the mountain pass linking Etseri to Becho.

It’s one of the toughest days with the possibility to do 1750m 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, 800 -1750m 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 pass to Mestia for a well-earned beer.

8 hours of ski touring, 900- 1700m elevation gain

Friday: Tetnuldi - Adishi

Spend your final day of touring in the newly opened Tetnuldi resort, located just below the base 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 the 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 4x4’s back to Mestia.

Enjoy your last dinner together and reflect on the amazing summits and views you’ve seen.

6-7 hours of ski touring and lift-based free riding

Saturday: Explore Kutaisi

Enjoy a relaxed breakfast before you head off on the scenic drive back to Kutaisi.

Spend the afternoon exploring the cobbled streets at your leisure.

Visit the stately Bagrati Cathedral, get lost in the lively indoor produce market or simply stroll around the city, taking in the culture-rich architecture that surrounds you.

When you’re ready, you will be taken back to your hotel for a traditional Georgian meal to end your trip.

4-hour driving

Sunday: Departure

Have a lazy morning and sleep in or further explore Kutaisi.

After a delicious breakfast, you’ll head back to the airport in time for your flight home.

Accommodation

On your trip, you will mostly be staying in guesthouses and hotels. You will spend two nights in the Etseri Guesthouse, one night in the Grand Hotel Ushba, one night in Mestia Guesthouse and one night in Hotel Kutaisi. All of your accommodation will be twin rooms with free WiFi.

Dates & Prices

Please note: Flights are NOT included and must be purchased separately.

If you can't find a private trip that suits you, try a group trip or ask for a quote.

Prices include

  • Accommodation
  • Airport Transfers
  • Guide
  • Local Transport
  • Meals As Described

Trip Photos

Location

View map

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 of up to 3500m overlooking some of the highest peaks in Europe and incredible 1700m descents on untouched powder into the valleys, it’s easy to see why the Republic of Georgia is emerging as a must-see destination for backcountry skiers.

Start point?
You will be met at the Kutaisi airport (KUT) where you will be transported to Svaneti overnight. Your transfer will meet all flights scheduled to land at 02:50 or earlier on Monday morning.

Finish point?
Your tour will end in Mestai, where you will be transferred back to the Kutaisi airport (KUT). You are free to book any flight departing after 17:15.

Your host will be in touch before the trip to finalise details.

Getting there and away?
Kutaisi International Airport (KUT), also known as David the Builder Kutaisi International Airport, is located in West of Georgia and serves international flights all over Europe. The airport is a 4-5 hour drive from the Svanenti region.

Your host recommends booking your outbound flight on Sunday with WizzAir, leaving London Luton (LTN) at 17:45 and arriving in Kutaisi Airport at 02:50.

On the return journey, we recommend that you book the WizzAir flight the following Sunday, which leaves Kutaisi Airport (KUT) at 16:00 and arrives in London Luton at 17:15.

For extra financial protection against unforeseen circumstances such as erupting Icelandic volcanoes, we recommend you book your flights using a credit card.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are not included in the tour price:

  • Flights to/from Kutaisi
  • Travel insurance that covers off-piste skiing
  • Snacks, drinks and personal expenses
  • Tips for your guides (optional)

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.

Much Better Adventures 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 need to have a good level of fitness to ski between 1100m-1700m of ascent each day, and some of the mountain passes can be quite difficult.

In terms of skiing ability, you will need to be 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.

Sure is! Snowboarders are welcome, however, there are limited sizes of splitboards that your host can provide, if you do not own your own.

Most 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, covered in snow and glaciers. Perfect for ski touring!

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 flavours. It can be slightly spicy and consists mainly of meat, vegetables, cheese and fruit.

Lunches will be picnic style in the wilderness.

Absolutely! Just let us know at booking.

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.

Your guide suggests that you bring:

  • Touring Skis or split board
  • Touring boots
  • Avalanche transceiver
  • Snow shovel
  • Snow probe
  • Telescopic ski poles with wide powder baskets (4-5 inches/100-120mm diameter)
  • Ski crampons
  • Climbing skins
  • Goggles
  • Helmet
  • Avalung or avalanche airbag (Recommended)
  • 35-40 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)
  • Gloves, mittens and/or overmittens Light gloves (for high-energy activity)
  • Socks (synthetic or wool) plus spares
  • Pants or bibs (waterproof/breathable or soft shell)
  • Liner socks Insulating hat, cap, balaclava or headband
  • Gaiters
  • Bandana or Buff (neck or face gaiter)
  • Sun-shielding cap or hat for bright days
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Sunglasses
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Duct tape strips; repair items as needed
  • Water bottles or hydration system (insulated)
  • First-aid kit
  • Energy food (bars, gels, chews, trail mix)
  • Energy beverages or drink mixes
  • Toilet paper
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Waterproof bags for your passport and other valuables

Your host can offer your Zag or Elan touring skis, Ortovox avalanche safety equipment and Colltex skins, at an additional cost.

We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here.


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