Top Four Alternative Backcountry Skiing Destinations
There are no two ways about it, skiing tracked out runs just isn’t the same as cutting fresh lines through floaty powder. With backcountry skiing becoming more and more popular, it’s getting harder to be the first on the snow. However, these four intrepid destinations offer a chance to head a little further afield for a backcountry experience like no other.
Whilst Coronavirus may be hampering any plans for immediate travel, all of these destinations are worthy of your backcountry bucket list, so make a note for future reference!
The Soviet Union’s answer to Chamonix, this small mountain town has welcomed generations of Russian climbers and ski mountaineers. The three-lift resort to the south of town isn’t worth more than a day or two of your time. But bring your skins for the mountains around it, which top out at 400m higher than Mont Blanc.
Built from scratch in world-record time, Amirsoy is a modern ski resort with French-made lifts in the heart of Central Asia’s Tien Shan mountains. The snow in this range, which extends into Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, rivals Japan’s, and Amirsoy offers the easiest way to access it. The tour access is great and heli-skiing is cheap too.
Georgia, on the eastern shores of the Black Sea, is nearly all mountains. There are no fewer than seven ski resorts in the country, including the 15-lift operation at Gudauri, which is relatively large by regional standards. If you want to make the most of the high Caucasus, however, we’d recommend a ski touring trip to Svaneti, further west.
POPOVA SAPKA, NORTH MACEDONIA
Popova Sapka may not merit a mention in its own right, but it’s home to Europe’s oldest catskiing operation. Eskimo Cat Ski takes groups of guests outside the bounds of the resort and into forests where bears, wolves and lynx still roam. The slopes are steep, the powder is plentiful and the local firewater is good and strong. What more could you want?