Gudauri ski resort: Amazing place in the Caucasus
Just two hours’ drive from Tbilisi international airport sits the modern and actively developing resort of Gudauri, a wonderful little nook nestled in the south slopes of the Greater Caucasus Range at a height of more than two kilometres. During the ski season, Gudauri is the most popular place in Georgia thanks to the magnificent snow-covered vastness of Cross Pass and the wonderful sunny weather.
Gudauri’s infrastructure is constantly developing, making it one of the most comfortable and technically equipped districts of the Caucasus suitable for downhill skiing at the present time. All of the marked tracks on the slopes of Mount Kudebi (3006m) and Sadzele (3307m) are above forest level and equipped with safe chairlifts made by the famous Austrian company, Dopplemayr. The vast skiing area offers a large variety of slopes and is connected by five chairlifts with space for three to four skiers. The chairlift’s lower station is at 1990 meters above sea level and the upper station is at 3270 meters. The length of the longest slope is seven kilometers and has a vertical drop of around 1000 meters. The ropeways work independently of the quantity of skiers and only close in the event of bad weather conditions, such as poor visibility and/or strong wind. All ropeways are equipped with emergency diesel engines as insurance against possible loss of electricity connection. At night special snow grooming machines – snowcats – prepare the tracks around the ropeways for safe skiing and easier sliding for skis and snowboards.
The tracks at Gudauri ski resort have a combined length of more than 50km and they have all been approved and certified by the International Ski Federation (Fédération Internationale de Ski, FIS). According to European criteria, the tracks have the following designations: slalom, giant slalom, supergiant slalom and speed skiing. Sportsmen have at their disposal slopes of every difficulty category, starting with "green" tracks which are even suitable for skiing and snowboarding beginners, and finishing with the extremely difficult "black" tracks which require sharpened ski-edges and considerable skill of anyone wishing to descend the icy slopes.
The main attractions in Gudauri are the excellent possibilities for freeride skiing or snowboarding across the untouched snow-covered fields. Around the main, pre-prepared runs you will also find wide, open slopes which turn this region into a little corner of paradise for extreme sport’s lovers, including freeriding, backcountry skiing and heli-skiing. The Gudauri ski season starts unusually early and the snow here remains intact from December to April and reaches up to two meters thickness. If we add together all these fabulous possibilities for an action-packed holiday and off-track skiing, it soon becomes clear why so many skiers and snowboarders prefer skiing in Gudauri even to the ski resorts in the Alps.
Since 2011, Gudauri ski resort has come under the complete administration of Tbilisi City Mayor’s Office. Meanwhile, the famous Canadian company "Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners Ltd", which has carried out more than 350 large sporting projects around the world (including the installation of ski runs in Bakuriani and the development of a general plan for the Mestia ski resort), is now helping to develop Gudauri.
Gudauri’s unique natural landscape, the deep and stable blankets of snow, the lack of stones both on and off- track, the avalanche safety measures, location high up in the mountains, and comfortable hotels are what attracts thousands of tourists and sportsmen every year from all over the world.