Turkey: an unexplored ski destination

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Updated: November 28, 2014 8:35 AM

Turkey is considered as one of the unexplored winter wonderlands

As the year is coming to an end, it’s time to make an escape from the routines of normal living. Turkey is considered as one of the unexplored winter wonderlands. Winter sports enthusiasts will be spoiled for choice with picturesque winter playgrounds and world-class skiing facilities. Turkey’s close proximity and accessibility from India, a proactive tourism board, great tourist attractions, good infrastructure, hassle free visa regulations and lower costs make it one of the ideal winter destination. Although you feel the chill in the air, you can’t help but appreciate the splenduor of snow-shoeing and inner-tubing while sipping hot Turkish çay and coffee. It is an exhilarating sport and is soon becoming the trend among travel enthusiasts in India.

Turkey has several skiing resorts generally located in forested mountains, along with a variety of other treats to offer during winters. Some of the famous resorts are:

Uludag– nestled in the northwest of Turkey, Uludag is 150 km from Istanbul and is accessible along a road or by cable-car, and is an extremely attractive destination of the global winter tourism scene as it has suitable conditions for Alpine skiing, ski tourism, cross country and heli-skiing, and bears influence of its rich history, which pays homage to the opulence of the Ottoman Empire and provides tourists with the ultimate winter holiday destination. It is Turkey’s favorite winter sports center for skiing and is extremely rich in flora and fauna which makes it a popular National Park in the South Marmara Region for summer activities like hiking, trekking and camping as well. The ski area lies between 1800-2500 meters and the best season to visit is from December to May as more than four metre snow covers the region. The resort has chair-lifts, ski-lifts, slalom and giant slalom courses, beginner’s slopes, ice skating, and a small hospital. The total length of ski tracks is about 20 km, and the longest stretch is about 2,000 meters. A wide range of accommodation is available in hotels, family chalets and apres ski facilities. Some of the top hotels in and around Uludag include Hotel Celik Palas Convention Center & Thermal Spa; Almira Hotel; Marigold Thermal Spa Hotel; Kervansaray Thermal-Convention Center & Spa; Hilton Bursa Convention Center & Spa and Sheraton Bursa Hotel and Crowne Plaza Bursa.

The cradle of the winter tourism and skiing, Uludag is also used in the summers as a hiking trail. Thus, Uludag is open all year round for tourism. With its melted snow under the summer sun, Uludag transforms into a totally different place altogether and has hence become the favorite hotspot for nature hikers. The area also has shopping halls, restaurants, cafes and bars, entertainment and health centers.

Palandöken Ski Centre – Located at 3,185 metres on the northern slopes of the Palandöken Mountain in the Eastern Anatolia Region, this ski centre has Turkey’s highest, longest and steepest runs. The region has the best snow conditions in Turkey, with snow reaching upto two-three metre high under normal weather conditions. Skiing season lasts here for 150 days and as the nearest airport is just 20minutes away, most of the international competitions are held here. There are plenty of hotels at Palandoke and accommodation is also available at the 140-bed ski lodge at the center.

Saklıkent Ski Resort: Saklıkent is 50 km west of the centre of Antalya, in the Beydağ mountain range, with an altitude of 2550 metres. Because of its close proximity to Antalya, it is one of the few places in the world that people can ski in the mornings, then swim in the sea in the afternoon. The resort can be reached from the centre of Antalya by bus, taxi or a hotel service vehicle in one hour. The altitude for the skiing areas is between 2000-2400 m, with a snow depth between 0.5- one metre and a short season.

Ilgaz Ski Resort– This centre is located at 2850 metre altitude in Ilgaz National Park on the Ilgaz Mountain range between Kastamonu and Çankırı provinces border in the Black Sea region. Ilgaz Ski Centre, besides winter tourism, is also a popular and beautiful spot to visit all year round with its beautiful scenic views.

Elmadag Ski Resort is on the northern slopes of Elmadağ mountain range, is 18 km to the south-east of the centre of Ankara city, which adds to its popularity. Close to the airport, the resort is on the northern slopes of Elmadag between the altitudes of 1500-1850m and is covered with alpine meadows. The season runs between January and March, with a terrestrial climate, and snow thickness between 30-60 cm.

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