Got back from Georgia yesterday morning... So here's my trip report...
Sunday evening (Feb 24) left Riga in a plane to Tbilisi.
Monday morning (Feb 25) at 4:00 AM arrived in Tbilisi. No problems with transfer - our driver was already waiting for us in the airport. Two hours of very sweet dreams and alarm clock rings...
5 days of skiing waiting for us....
Now about the Gudauri ski resort - there are 3 levels of lifts:
1) Bottom - slow 3 seated chair lift (Blue)
2) Middle - fast chairlift and a gondola which make an X over the main ski area (Red)
3) Top - a separate chair lifts on two peaks. I wouldn't call them fast. (Black / Red)
It's not a big ski resort - if the weather is fine, you can ski all groomers during a single day. Total vertical - 1km
We got full set of weather:
Monday - cloudy with sun
Tuesday - Fog
Wednesday - 100% clear sky
Thursday - Snowing all day long
Friday - Powder
We didn't take our boots and skis with us. Rental costs for a full set - 14 to 20$ per day. Boots were wet, skis were scratched and haven't seen wax for ages. I suggest to take your equipment with you... At least boots.
Apres ski - nothing. One store where you can buy drink and snacks for the evening.
Skiers/Snowboarders - 50/50
Heliskiing is available - they were flying around all the time.
Monday morning - First chair lift (the slow one)
Tuesday morning - breathtaking view from very top :). Clouds came upwards and it became a foggy day.
Wednesday - a perfect day in mountains. A few hotels, apartment houses and a vilage. That's entire ski resort... But it grows very fast.
The steepest part is left ungroomed with "Avalanche danger" signs.
The dark dots are lifts... Bottom station for top lift
And top station of top lift. Take a little walk and draw your own line :)
Thursday - fog and snowing
Friday - some powder.. already melting at the bottom.
Above the ski lift X.
Ques? This is what you see on a powder day :)... But these were working days... It gets more crowded during hollidays.
As for skiing - It's OK... Alps have bigger ski resorts.
As for service - It's OK... But nothing special
As for hospitality - Georgia rocks. I haven't experienced anything like this in hotels in Austria, Greece, Slovakia, Iceland. But... with growing number of big hotels, things are getting worse... Take a look on small, family owned hotels.
Food, wine and stronger alcohol is another story. You won't loose weight there :)
Costs for 2 persons for 5 days:
550$ Hotel with breakfast and supper
100$ transfer to hotel
40$ transfer back to Tbilisi with other skiers in our van
500$ Plane tickets
200$ Lift tickets
160$ Ski rent
100$ dinner on mountain
Will I return? Sure I will :)