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Svaneti Ski Touring in the Georgian Caucasus

1 backcountry svaneti
3 ski backcountry mestia
5 svaneti backcountry skiing

On my Svaneti Ski Tour program, you will discover some of the most visually stunning ski areas nestled deep in the Georgian Caucasus range offering deep powder backcountry areas, scattered with fascinating medieval tower landscapes. Myself or my team of IFMGA certified guides will guide you through an exciting 10-day adventure through mountain huts and warm welcoming guesthouses, offering traditional Georgian cuisine after long days of skiing and adventure.

Private

Caucasus

10 Days

Feb, Mar, Apr, May

Fit

Intermediate


Highlights

  • Experience a once in a lifetime cultural ski tour in the Georgian Caucasus.
  • Ski through the UNESCO heritage protected site, Ushguli.
  • Discover 9th century-built watchtowers, deep powder glaciers, and more.
  • Follow a local IFMGA guide on an amazing 10-day tour.
  • Stay in both mountain huts and local guesthouses.

Description

I am offering my guests a unique and unforgettable tour through the region of Svaneti Georgia, where time truly stands still.  Our base for the tour will be the town of Mestia, Svaneti, which is a 5-hour drive from Kutaisi airport and an 8-hour drive from Tbilisi airport.

Your tour with us begins when we pick you up from the airport and head towards Mestia. Each day following, we venture into different areas of Svaneti, which is a wild, remote, and isolated region.  I will guide you through multiple premiere locations for reaching deep powder snow and exciting vertical drops, while also experiencing a rich cultural aspect on our hikes up through interesting landscapes and ancient villages. Expect to ski through Svaneti’s beautiful Chalaadi glacier, Ushguli, Tetnuldi Ski resort, and more. I have designed the below itinerary after guiding and skiing this region for more than ten years – it combines everything one must see in Svaneti in 10 adventure-packed days. 

My program detailed here is for intermediate to advanced skiers. You will need good off-piste skills and you should be able to ski through multiple types of terrain including deep powder, heavy and crusty snow. Additionally, you should also feel comfortable managing ski touring equipment.   A good fitness level is a must as we will be spending up to 7 hours a day in the mountains with an elevation gain of around 1000m per day.

If you would like a different skill level program, you can contact me and we will tailor it to your preferences and skill levels. Just send us a message and we will create an adequate proposal.

I look forward to welcoming you to Svaneti and be your guide through an incredible 10 days here in Georgia. Through my years of guiding this ski tour is still my personal favorite, and I enjoy sharing this experience with my guests. Please contact me and I will be happy to begin planning your next memorable ski holiday in Georgia.

I also offer ski options in Gudauri.

Itinerary

Day 1: Airport pickup

Arrival in Tbilisi or Kutaisi international airports. You will be picked up by the driver there and transferred to your hotel in Tbilisi or Kutaisi. Your hotel will be in the center of each city with easy access to sightseeing, restaurants, and cafes.

Day 2: Mestia

After an early breakfast, the group will be driven to Mestia, the main town in Svaneti. The drive will be about 5 hours from Kutaisi and 8 hours from Tbilisi, with some shortstops. There will be plenty of landscapes to enjoy on the way, especially as we gain altitude and get closer to Svaneti. You will feel you are moving into another world. Check into the hotel and be introduced to your local guide. At the welcome dinner, you will experience proper Georgian cuisine and discuss the plans for the days ahead. We’ll also visit the Svaneti ethnographic museum.

Day 3: Tetnuldi Ski Resort

Early breakfast and drive to Tetnuldi Ski Resort with the group. We will do several off-piste runs from the ski lifts to warm up for the days ahead. Then, we will do a short ski tour about 1 hour from the top of Tetnuldi ski resort. From there, we enjoy a thrilling ski descent of 1,300m to the spectacular village of Adishi, nestled in a deep valley. With the 4×4 car, we will head back to Mestia to the hotel for the night.

Vertical ascent: 200m / Vertical descent: 1,300m

Breakfast, dinner included

Accommodation in Mestia

Day 4: Etseri Valley-Mt. Simzagari

Early breakfast. We will start the day driving towards Etseri Valley and at 1,700m we will ascend Mt. Simzagari which is 3,311m in altitude. As we reach the summit, we will be rewarded with the breathtaking views of surrounding peaks. We’ll start the descent on an epic line, giving us 1,600m of a vertical drop. As we arrive to the Etseri Valley below, we will head back to our warm hotel in Mestia for dinner and rest.

Vertical ascent: 1600m / Vertical descent: 1,600m

Breakfast, dinner included

Accommodation in Mestia

Day 5: Bagvdnari

After finishing breakfast, we’ll drive towards Becho Valley. From the village of Bagvdnari, at an altitude 1,600m, we will ski tour through an old abandoned village and the ancient Mtavarangelozi Church. The slope will take us up to 3,300m on the ridge of Mt. Kheldra. During the ascent, get closer and closer to Mt. Ushba, one of the most iconic mountains in the Caucasus. After taking in the view of the mighty peaks around us, we will make an impressive descent of 1,700m back to the village of Bagvdnari. The driver will meet us and transfer us back to Mestia hotel where we’ll feast and rest.

Vertical ascent: 1700m/ Vertical descent: 1700m

Breakfast, dinner included

Accommodation in Mestia

Day 6: Mt. Laila

On this morning we will have breakfast and drive towards Tskhumari village, which is the way we will approach Mt. Laila. The ascent will start at 1,350m. At 2,250, we will have a variety of options to continue skinning up. Depending on the condition of the group, we can make our way to 3,400m, which will give us the best ski descent of a 2,050m vertical drop. After we ski down to the starting point, we will drive back to the Mestia hotel. Dinner and rest

Vertical ascent: 2050 / Vertical descent: 2050

Breakfast, dinner included

Accommodation in Mestia

Day 7: Chalaadi glacier

This day will be an exciting tour to the powder covered Chalaadi glacier, one of the favorite tours of the trip. We will drive about 10 minutes from our hotel in Mestia and start skinning up at 1,500m. The ascent will be through a beautiful alpine forest on Mt. Koruldi up to 3,320m. From this point, we’ll ski down a different route, through the Chalaadi glacier, right at the foot of Mt. Ushba and the Chatini Mountains. The feeling is other-worldly as you witness the powerful presence of these summits above you while carving through fresh powder snow. The driver will meet us in the valley and take us to the hotel in Mestia. Dinner and rest.

Vertical ascent: 1820 / Vertical descent: 1700

Breakfast, dinner included

Accommodation in Mestia

Day 8: Ushguli

Breakfast and checkout of hotel in Mestia. We will drive 2 hours towards the UNESCO Heritage site of Ushguli, the highest point of human occupation in Europe. At the feet of Shkhara and the massive Bezingi wall, Ushguli will fill you with amazements and curiosity. This is the most remote region of Svaneti allowing these ancient villages to be immaculately preserved. We’ll check-in to our guest house. Just next to the village, we’ll ascend Mt. Lamaria from 2,200m to 3,070m, where we’ll have an incredible view of the 9 summits of Mt Shkhara and the Svaneti main ridge. We will ski all the way down to Ushguli and relax in the guesthouse for the night.

Vertical ascent: 870m / Vertical descent: 870m

Breakfast, dinner included

Accommodation in Ushguli

Day 9: Mt. Gvibari

We’ll skin up to Mt. Gvibari up to 2,943m from the village. The northern slopes of this mountain offer the best terrain and snow conditions. We will run this line twice on this day, as the first time is never enough. After a full last day of incredible skiing, we’ll head down to Ushguli and rest in the guesthouse.

Vertical ascent: 1750m / Vertical descent: 1750m

Breakfast, dinner included

Accommodation in Ushguli

Day 10: Return

After an early breakfast, we’ll drive back to Tbilisi or Kutaisi from Ushguli. Check in to the hotel and rest for the night.

Breakfast included.

Accommodation in Tbilisi or Kutaisi, you will be dropped off at the airport the following day

 

Details

Accommodation

Accommodation - Hotel Tbilisi or Kutaisi (2 nights)* Guesthouse Mestia (6 nights)* Guesthouse Ushguli (2 nights)

Meeting point

Tbilisi international airport or Kutaisi international airport

Equipment you will need to bring

Other gear: Technical Gear and Equipment:  Skis – with ski touring bindings mounted. Make sure the bindings are correctly fitted.  Skins  Velcro ski tie – for carrying skis on your backpack  Ski touring boots  Ski crampons  Crampons – Crampons should be automatic or semi-automatic. Designed for ice climbing. 12 point steel with anti-balling, which prevents snow from sticking.  Harness – Standard climbing lightweight harness with 2 screw karabiners. Recommended to be a harness that can be worn with crampons on. Harness should be able to fit with your mountaineering jackets on.  Ice Axe – General mountaineering ice axe, suitable to your size. 1 single axe is needed.  Ski poles – Telescopic (with large disks at the bottom).  Helmet  Shovel – With metal blade  Probe  Transceiver Personal Clothing & Gear Backpack – 40-50L Ideally you should be able to attach your skis to straps on the backpack. Ski Goggles Headlamp Sunglasses – sunglasses for mountaineering that fit face snug and tight. Should be the 3-4th UV category. Beanie hat, buff, balaclava – Gear to keep the head and face warm. Hat for the sun Waterproof Shell Jacket (1) Down Jacket (1) – Light-medium weight preferably. Hooded or without a hood is fine. Mid Layer Jacket (1) – Fleece Jacket to put on top of thermal layer. Thermal Base Layer Shirt (1) – Can be a synthetic or wool layer. Should be long-sleeved, preferably ¼ or ½ zipper for ventilation. Waterproof Shell Trousers (1 pair) Soft Shell trousers – Tough & windproof Thermal Base Layer Underwear/Leggings (1 pair) – Can be synthetic or wool. Water Proof Insulated Gloves or Mittens – 1 Pair. For cold weather. Trekking Gloves – 1 pair. Should be warm, but not bulky. Only for ski touring and on the base camp. Technical Ski Socks – Medium weight good quality ski socks. Bring a few pairs. Other Essentials: 50+ SPF Sun protection SPF for lips and face. Thermos– Up to 1 liter Reusable water bottle – Up to 1 liter Any required medication and first aid kit Mobile phone


About the guide

I am a IFMGA/GMGA certified mountain guide, with more than 10 years of experience in the Caucasus mountain region.

Mountain Guiding and alpine sport is the most gratifying passion in my life. As an official team member of the United Federation of Georgian Mountaineers, I have led some of the most challenging ascents and expeditions in the Caucasus. In addition, I have completed successful ascents in Himalayas, Tian Shan, Pamir, Alps, and more. Aside from climbing, I have a big enthusiasm for ski mountaineering. I have completed many first ski descents in the region, such as Mt. Tetnuldi West Face descent, and more. In the winter and spring season, I enjoy guiding my guests on the backcountry of the Caucasus mountains, and sharing my experience and love for this region. In the summer season, I guide groups up iconic peaks such as Mt. Kazbek and more.

I am the founder of The Alpine Project, a full-scale mountaineering tour agency. My team and I are experts in the region, and we are deeply inspired by guiding our guests and welcoming them to Georgia. Please contact me if you have any further questions about my experience and my offers.

Languages

Russian | Georgian | English

Certificates

IFMGA | GMGA

Residence

Tbilisi, Georgia


What people are saying about Beka Phajishvili

Zono shibata

5.00

July, 2022

We fully enjoyed our trip to Mt. Kazbegi with professional guide Beka! And also thanks so much for Explore-Share online support, they are so kind to support us to book guide!

Dirk Batschke

5.00

June, 2022

Had a great time with Beka on Tetnuldi. He's a very competent and credentialed guide. He genuinely wanted to make sure that I had a great experience. In addition to the climb, he provided a lot of extra knowledge and history about the local region, and introduced me to some great Georgian cuisine. I will be using him again for future climbs in beautiful Georgia.


Prices per person

Group of 1

EUR 1774 Each

Group of 2

EUR 1526 Each

Group of 3

EUR 1361 Each

Group of 4

EUR 1248 Each

Group of 5

EUR 1114 Each

Group of 6

EUR 1114 Each

Want a different number of travellers?

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Accommodation included

- Lift tickets

- Transportation start and back

- Transport during the trip

- Breakfast

- Dinner

Price details

Price Includes:

 7 days with GMGA certified local mountain guide (English and/or Russian speaking)

 Ski lift passes

 All vehicle transportation during the trip from arrival to departure.

 Accommodation - Hotel Tbilisi or Kutaisi (2 nights)* Guesthouse Mestia (6 nights)* Guesthouse Ushguli (2 nights)

 Breakfast and dinner in Mestia and Ushguli hotels

 Breakfast in Tbilisi or Kutaisi hotel

Price Does Not Include:

 Airline tickets

 Travel insurance

 Alcoholic beverages and snacks

 Lunches during the trip

 Dinners while staying in Tbilisi or Kutaisi hotel (guide will provide local recommendations for best restaurants and Georgian cuisine)

 Equipment rental fees

 Personal clothing and gear




 

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