Winter wonderland on top of Georgia – Gudauri Georgia ski resortSunday, June 13, 2021 Travel Guides by Ani
Set at just over 2000 meters above sea level, Gudauri is one of the highest and the most snow-sure ski resorts in the Caucasus region. Its breathtaking landscapes and gnarly terrain make the winter-lover tourists put Gudauri on their bucket list destinations. This small, pedestrian-friendly town is attracting millions of visitors every year and represents the perfect getaway for the skiers of both beginner and advanced levels. Gudauri’s oozing alpine charm and various types of runs along with the numerous entertainment options make it a family-friendly haven.
Gudauri undoubtedly has the bragging rights to providing an unforgettable experience both on and off the slopes. Located on the Georgian Military Road, the resort records the highest point of 3307 meters above sea level at Mount Sadzele. The most popular summit of this ski resort in Georgia is Kudebi. Set at 3007 meters, Kudebi offers an exceptional opportunity to ski from any point of the mounting, all-around 360 degrees. Gudauri offers more than 70 kilometers of certified trails that range from beginner to professional difficulty levels. The skiers can use both chair lifts and a gondola line to reach the southern slopes. Freeriders are also welcome to log serious distances without repeating a run all day.
Exploring the Caucasian cradle of alpine skiing
When it comes to the variety of choices for the traveler, Gudauri has it all. You can enjoy anything from skiing, snowboarding, and free-riding to paragliding, mountain climbing, or helicopter and ski tours. Even within these options, you have a great variety. The favorite activity of the skiers is night skiing, while non-skiers simply love tubing zones. Gudauri offers 11 ski lifts and three moving carpets. The overall length of the ski runs at the resort exceeds 70 kilometers in length and only 15% are covered with artificial snow since the weather is never disappointing in there.
The slopers widely vary from smoothly groomed to steep couloirs. Any level of ski pistes can be found with unlimited off-piste. The ski rental is easily available at any corner of the resort with a great value for the price. Furthermore, you can always find a fluent English-speaker instructor to teach you the basics or help you master skiing and snowboarding. Also, various parks are at the tourists’ disposal, including the snow park and the bike park, especially for summer visitors.
What to do in Gudauri in Winter – off the slopes
Skiing in Georgia is one of the most popular activities. That is why, Georgia offers many other ski resorts, such as Bakuriani or Mestia Svaneti, however, Gudauri remains the all-time favorite of both locals and tourists for numerous reasons. While all of the above-mentioned mountain resorts feature highly developed ski runs, Gudauri has more to it than meets the eye. Even if you are not a fan of skiing or snowboarding, the resort will still manage to leave you speechless. You can go camping, mountain climbing, paragliding, or helicopter tours, not to mention the astonishingly unique and interesting sightseeing tours for history and culture geeks.
Paragliding is available throughout the year with the only condition that there is no wind. The wind is not that frequent though in Gudauri. You can fly around the sky-touching mountains of the region and take a lifetime memory video with you. Helicopter tours on the other hand are pickier on the weather conditions and might not fly in extreme snowfall or stormy weather. Other times, you can sign up on the group tour on a helicopter over the Caucasus mountains and observe the best of the region from way up in the sky.
“Champagne Climate” of Gudauri
Sunshine is not rare in Gudauri, but combined with the dry air leaves the resort with the so-called Champagne climate. In general, the weather is cold and temperate with frequent precipitation. The average yearly temperature is around 2.1 degrees celsius, which is pretty cold compared to the rest of the hot destinations of Georgia. Usually, the climate from June to September is relatively warm, making Gudauri a pleasant destination for summer. The average temperature for summer is 20 degrees, while in winter it drops to an average of -4 degrees. Whenever it is not raining or snowing, the visitors enjoy mountain biking and paragliding and rafting and fishing near the resort.
What to eat and drink in Gudauri
Georgian cuisine is renowned worldwide for having one of the tastiest, unique, and rich menus of various dishes. The recipes are coming from ancient times and have been acquiring traditional and modern elements throughout the centuries. Every region in the country has its own unique characteristics in terms of cooking. The mountainous regions are famous mainly for their culinary arts in meat dishes.
One of the must-try foods in Gudauri is Khinkali, which is completely authentic to the country. Khinkali is a local type of dumpling with twisted knobs of dough. It is stuffed with meat and various spices. The locals will teach you the techniques of eating the Khinkali to taste the most out of the dish. Also, you can easily find the cooking masterclasses in Gudauri that will demonstrate how the main Georgian dishes are cooked and made.
As for the drinks, the country is widely known as one of the best and oldest wine producers with thousands of endemic grapes growing all over the region. Therefore, it is impossible that one cannot find his or her favorite wine, or alcoholic beverage in the country. The strongest alcoholic drink that you can try in Gudauri is Georgian vodka – Chacha. It is very high in alcohol usually ranging from 40 to 80% even found in the family cellars of Gudauri residents.
What to do in Gudauri in Summer
Gudauri is surprisingly one of the most popular destinations among the local visitors for summer, as well. The reason is that the town is a perfect escape from unbearable heat found in other parts of the country together with its crystal clear air and mild temperatures. Furthermore, June through September is the perfect time for camping and hiking in nearby locations that offer mesmerizing views, landscapes, and various cultural or historical monuments.
You can find numerous camping sites near Gudauri that could offer a lifetime experience, such as Aragvi Adventure Park. The park also offers comfortable accommodation options with a great diversity of entertainment and sports activities. You can sign-up for the rafting in-between the mountains on the Aragvi river, join the Jeep tour climbing the ancient monasteries and the ruins of several centuries-old castles, or enjoy the outdoor movie nights with vibrant after-parties and BBQs later.
How to get to Gudauri
Where is Gudauri Georgia located? Getting to Gudauri is not an issue throughout the year, except when it is heavy snow then the transportation options are limited. There are no direct flights to Gudauri from other countries, as the town has no airport. However, you can arrive at Tbilisi International Airport which is located only in 2 hours drive to Gudauri, around 120 km. Alternatively, the cheaper flight tickets are usually available to Kutaisi International Airport, which is a bit further than Tbilisi, around 320 km from the Georgian Ski resort of Gudauri.
To get to Gudauri, you can either hire a Jeep or join a group of travelers on the minivan to make the journey cheaper. There is a route taxi available that runs every hour from 08:00 AM till 06:00 PM from Tbilisi to Gudauri. The roundtrip options are also available. The tickets are extremely cheap. However, if you would like to order a private taxi with an English-speaking driver then you can pay 55 US dollars to book the service online.
Cost of staying in Gudauri Ski Resort
The accommodation options are abundant and the price will vary according to the level of comfort that the tourist is expecting from the stay. You can easily find luxurious hotels with the great value of the price. For example, you could get a room for two at 115 US dollars or less in a 4-star hotel, or the premial stay at a 5-star hotel for 210 US dollars for two persons. There are also a number of options for guest houses that could offer accommodation for 35 to 40 USD per room.
As for skiing, there are various rates for Ski passes and equipment rentals depending on the ski run that you choose. Usually, the lift tickets and ski pass for one ride can be obtained for 3.2 USD, for three rides for 8 USD, and a one day ski pass costs 16 USD. Night skiing pass comes for 6.4 USD. There are discounts available for students and children.