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World's best snowboarding spots. Suggests Ansis Egle

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Connoisseur's Guide · Europe · georgia · Georgia · World's best snowboarding spots. Suggests Ansis Egle


Author: Ansis Egle2 COMMENTS


Any snowboarder would agree that going to one and the same place is not much fun and that the first excitement always tends to wither. Yet Gudauri in Georgia, discovered in the 80s, is a resort that keeps luring to return again and again. Indeed, why not? The sun shines over its vast plateau all day long. I know a snowboarder who has observed that only 20 days out of 4 winter month he once spent there were overcast. No place in the Alps can compete with that!
The easiest way to get there is a direct airBaltics flight Riga-Tbilisi, followed by 110 km road by a pre-booked transfer or a maxi-taxi, leaving every 2 hours. Considering the price (just 2 LVL), the latter one instantly seems more attractive and it's a great chance to get a good feel of the country as well. During the journey, the driver stops at local villages to deliver parcels and bundles (food or other essentials) to people waiting at the roadside; someplace else, cows leisurely pace across the road.
Gudauri is a very special place with an abundance of snow throughout the season. Maybe not as much as at Mt. Baker, but some 6 meters for sure! It offers a free-ride beyond compare! Gudauri has a unique combination of huge open slopes with no trees, very long descents and plenty off-piste areas. It doesn't matter how many times you go down, there is always a chance to plough fresh powder with your board. No lack of it whatsoever! Even if you stayed there for a month, a year or more, there would never be shortage of fresh snow. Queues at the central ski lift, where several pistes come together accumulate only in weekends from 12.00 to 14.00. It's a time of fancy skiers, going down the slopes just once or twice, and then diving into a local café to flaunt their latest version iPhones and the most up-to-date products of the top ski and snowboard brands. It's a show-off you have to get used to. Otherwise, the slopes are vacant and there is plenty of space to slide to your heart's content. And you can meet some serious skiers as well, including the ones clad in authentic ski-suits from the 80s.
Although the service is still saturated with the soviet spirit and availability of rental gear is scanty, the five Austrian Doppelmayer ski-lifts are very good. One more ski-lift, opened just last year, can take you up to Gudauri highest point (3225 m). Of course, the greatest advantage is the price - just 8 LVL per day (to compare with 93 USD at Whistler resort in Canada)! They have their first kickers, too.
Where to sleep? The best option is renting an accommodation in a local apartment building. An average price of 30 EUR includes a bunk bed, a shower with hot water and TV. Breakfast and dinner, cooked on the spot, is far better than any McDonald could come up with, and a ski-lift is just a 2 minute walk away.

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