Gudauri is a fast growing ski resort situated
in the Caucasus Mountains in the north of Georgia. Recent development
and growth of Gudauri represents an exciting opportunity for skiers
and snowboarders, who have previously experienced the Caucasus at
Krasnaya Polyana, Dombai or Elbrus, to discover a new ski destination
in this unique place on the planet.
Large portion of infrastructure at Gudauri, including
chair lifts, was built by the Austrians. As such, it is far ahead
of what is typically present in other Russian/CIS ski resorts such
as Krasnaya Polyana, Dombay, Elbrus in Russia as well as Bakuriani
Gudauri's other attractions are its altitude
(2100 - 3000 m), wide open terrain, long season, impeccable snow
quality and the moderate level of prices. The Georgian hospitality
and the corresponding level of service make Gudauri best value for
money resort in the Caucasus.
Gudauri is located 120 km from Tbilisi, or approximately
1.5-2 hours drive north along the Georgian Military Highway. It
is 100 km from Vladikavkaz or 1.5 hours drive south.
Terrain and snow conditions
Gudauri lies on Mount Kudebi (3006 m) on the
south slope of the Great Caucasus Divide. The village lies at 2100
m above sea level with chairlifts rising to 3000 m insuring a vertical
drop of around 1000 m. For comparison, Krasnaya Polyana is situated
at 600-2400 m. This gives Gudauri distinct advantages concerning
the quality of snow and the length of the season. Gudauri rarely
experience cold winds unlike other resorts which are situated at
Gudauri enjoys plentiful snowfalls with typical
cover of around 1.5m. Heavy snowfalls in some seasons see cover
rise up to 5m like in the 2004-5 winter.
Gudauri is serviced by three 3- and 4-seater
chairlifts. The Austrian Dopplemayr chairlifts are head and shoulders
above the old Soviet chairlifts still present at most Russian/CIS
There is also a forth chairlift (3-seater), but
it is not typically used as there are never any queues at the main
lifts. Total chairlift throughput capacity at Gudauri is over 6000
Gudauri has a large number of runs, of which
8 are marked and groomed regularly and others are off-piste. Groomed
runs have total length of approximately 13 km, with the longest
run being 7 km.
Gudauri is known for its wide open slopes as
well as plenty of off-piste areas. Deep powder, lack of rocks and
avalanche danger make Gudauri perfect for freeriding. There is also
plenty of opportunity around the area for backcountry and heliski.
For professional skiers there are FIS courses for slalom, giant-slalom,
super-giant and downhill.
Price List of season 2011-2012
Ski season at Gudauri runs from December to April
inclusive with late November and early May also providing some good
skiing at higher points in the resort (3rd chairlift).
Mount Kudebi was chosen as the site for the first
ski resort in Georgia for its regular sunshine and rare occurrence
of avalanches. First chairlifts were built at the end of 1970s,
but meaningful development of the area started in 1982 when Austrians
first built the modern chairlifts and a hotel. Currently Gudauri
is experiencing a rebirth after years of subdued activity caused
by unstable political situation in the region. Due to improved economic
and political climate in Georgia, visitors are once again flocking
to this once busy tourist destination. Gudauri is experiencing fast
growth in visitor numbers and the resort is expanding by way of
new hotels and facilities. A drive through the main street demonstrates
the number of new private hotels, houses, apartments and other buildings
currently being erected in Gudauri. A large number of visitors from
Germany, Austria, Israel and the former Soviet republics are visiting
Georgia and Gudauri every year.
Helicopters take skiers and boarders to altitudes
of up to 4400 m with vertical drop of up to 2500 m. The mountains
and terrain around Gudauri are perfect for heliskiing allowing skiers
and boarders to enjoy a never ending variety of wide open runs,
bowls, chutes and couloirs.
Heliski routes include areas near Mount Kazbek,
with its breathtaking views, Kazbegi district (for more extreme
descents), Trusso gorge, Ksani gorge, Liakhvi gorge, Mepiskalo Plato,
Gudamakari gorge and others.