Top three reasons to go backcountry skiing in Georgia
Feel a sense of adventure in this seldom-visited mountain haven
Discover the Georgian culture and feel like a local in quaint villages
Shred quality snow on diverse terrain and push your skiing skills even further
Surrounded by the majestic Greater Caucasus mountains in Georgia, Racha is an untapped backcountry skiing jewel at the intersection of Europe and Asia just waiting to be explored. Due to its incredibly versatile terrain ranging from low, dense forests near picturesque villages to 4,000 m/13,123 ft snow-capped peaks, this stunning area is ideal for adrenaline addicts in quest of the ultimate backcountry experience. With amazing powder and verticals for all skill levels, no nearby resorts and, as a result, no hordes of people, you can fast-track your skills with no interruption. Many quaint villages offer its visitors an insight into the local culture, community and Georgia’s traditional cuisine. It’s time to step out of your comfort zone and experience an enthralling backcountry adventure in this remote and splendid location!
January through March
Kutaisi, Georgia, is about 2 hours away
Beginner to advanced
Book this adventure
8-day Backcountry Skiing Adventure in Racha, Georgia
Make your way to Racha in western Georgia and carve your tracks into the quality backcountry snow that it offers. Upgrade your skills on diverse terrain and learn about avalanche safety from a guide with an extensive knowledge of this breathtaking area. Discover the traditional cuisine and have the powdery playground all to yourself! Take the guesswork out of the equation and let your guide monitor your progress and navigate you through the colossal winter wonderland while discovering this must-ski location.
Day 0: Tbilisi or Kutaisi to Oni
On the first day of your upcoming adventure, you’ll arrive at Tbilisi International Airport or Kutaisi International Airport and your guiding service will pick you up. Depending on arrival time and needs of the group, you may eat lunch in Kutaisi or Tbilisi. You’ll travel to the city of Oni, check into a local guesthouse, and have dinner there. Your guide will carry out a gear check and a safety briefing. Prepare to depart for the first campsite early next morning.
Day 1: Reach the base camp above Glola
Kick off the day with a delicious breakfast and avalanche education—learn why, how and where avalanches take place, how to approach risk management in the backcountry and other important considerations. You’ll discuss theory and do some practical drills such as burial and recovery, search patterns, and communication. You’ll also tour a base camp above Glola with approximately 800 m / 2625 ft of vertical climbing. Spend the night in a tent at the first base camp and have dinner there.
Day 2: Ski from Glola base camp
After your breakfast, you’ll ski from Glola base camp with terrain suitable to all skills and abilities. After a full day of skiing, you’ll descend to a nearby village to rest and recover. Get a taste of local cuisine and get a well-deserved rest. You’ll have dinner and spend the night in a village guesthouse in order to get ready for the next day.
Day 3: Reach next base camp
Start your day off with breakfast and a minimum of 1000 m / 3280 ft of vertical climbing, and end it with a ski run to the base camp. You can climb higher on the ridge above the camp during the approach, adding another 300 m / 985 ft of vertical. Spend the night in the second base camp.
Day 4: Alpine ski day
Have an early breakfast and prepare for today’s adventure. It entails 500-1000 m / 1640-3280 ft verticals on terrain ranging from easy tree runs above the camp to very challenging steep lines. Enjoy locally-sourced dinner and spend the night in the base camp.
Day 5: Chiora Ridge
After your breakfast, you’ll climb approximately 500 m / 1640 ft with an option of an extra 250 m / 820 ft and a challenging ride on the spine wall. Afterwards, some easy skiing awaits down the ridge to the Chiora village. Tonight you’ll stay in a village guesthouse where a warm meal awaits you.
Day 6: Ghebi base camp
After a delicious breakfast, you’ll head towards your last base camp. There will be approximately 800 m / 2625 ft of vertical climbing. You’ll have dinner and spend the night in your third and final base camp.
Day 7: Ski Ghebi base camp area
Enjoy breakfast in the morning and get ready for the penultimate day of this adventure. The terrain will vary from easy to very challenging and you’ll climb verticals ranging from 800-1200 m / 2625-3940 ft. Have your dinner, spend the night in a village guesthouse, and regain energy for the last day of this Georgian backcountry adventure.
Day 8: Rest day and departure
This day can be placed anywhere in the schedule to have an extra day of rest with some more time to explore the villages or more time to ski in a particular area. Get to know the traditional cuisine and feel like a true local in this Georgian winter wonderland. On the last day, your guiding service will transfer you to any airport or city in the country after the party. If you’re interested in continuing to ski somewhere else in Georgia, your guiding service can make arrangements for you. The guiding service will edit a short movie from the footage they took during the trip and give it to you.
Meet your guide
Things to know
Covid measures in Racha, Georgia
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Racha, Georgia, please refer to Georgia’s COVID-19 Entry Rules Website and the Government of Georgia’s Prevention of Coronavirus Spread in Georgia website.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get in this adventure:
- An experienced, English-speaking IFMGA certified guide
- Eight days of backcountry ski touring
- Camp-based accommodations and logistics (camping and sleeping gear)
- Breakfast and dinner for the duration of the adventure
- Transfer to/from airport
- All transportation for the duration of the adventure
- Avalanche gear (can be rented at no extra cost)
- Avalanche forecast services
What’s not included:
- Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
- Personal clothing and equipment
- Transportation before and after the trip
- Lunches and snacks
How fit do I need to be?
To enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to be in very good physical shape. You will be on your feet for multiple hours a day for 8 full days, covering several miles of terrain every day. On this adventure, you’ll ski up to 1,200 m / 4,000 ft of vertical in the backcountry. You will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging blue or black-level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.
What if I’ve never backcountry skied before?
Backcountry skiing isn’t just for pros looking for the ultimate thrill ride, it’s also beginner friendly, meaning anyone with solid blue level resort experience can have fun in the backcountry. If you’ve never backcountry skied before, heading out with a guide is your best bet. They’ll take care of the planning, introduce you to the basics, like skinning uphill, and teach you how to manage the terrain. They also have the experience and avalanche training to keep you safe.
What equipment do I need to bring?
All camping and sleeping gear is provided by your guiding service. For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:
- Alpine touring skis, telemark skis or splitboard with skins (can be rented)
- Touring boots and poles (can be rented)
- Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented from your guiding service at no extra cost):
- Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
- Lightweight snow shovel
- Avalanche probe
- Harness for glacier travel (for advanced touring)
For personal items, we recommend bringing:
- Sunglasses or ski goggles
- Gloves and hat
- Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
- Ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
- Down jacket or vest
- Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
- Extra base layer and socks
- One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
- Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
- Water bottle and 1L of water
- Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- First aid kit
- Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L backpack)
- Power bank — optional
- Camera — optional
Can I rent equipment?
All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:
- Avalanche safety pack, including beacon, shovel and probe from your guiding service at no extra cost
- Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented and arranged by your guiding service through a ski rental shop in Georgia
- Splitboards can be rented and arranged by your guiding service through a ski rental shop in Georgia
Your guiding service can rent the avalanche gear at no extra cost and ski touring rentals can be arranged in advance through a ski rental shop in Georgia. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and pricing:
- For this adventure, the usual guest-to-guide ratio is 4:1, but could be as high as 6:1.
- Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.
- The maximum number of participants is 8 people with 2 accompanying guides.
Ski touring in Racha, Georgia, can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
- Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.
If your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Getting there and meeting location
Your guiding service will pick you up from one of these two airports and you will travel to the city of Oni, Racha Region. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group. On your departure, your guiding service will transfer you to one of the near-by airports. If you’re interested in continuing to ski somewhere else in Georgia, your guiding service can make arrangements for you.
Deposit and cancellation policy
A 50% deposit is due immediately. The second payment is due by 1/12/2022.
The 50% deposit is non-refundable. All other program fee payments are refundable upon request unless the expedition has already incurred costs on behalf of the applicant.
In case you are forced to cancel your trip as a result of Covid-related changes in entry requirements for Georgia or your home country, your guide will refund half of the deposit (25%) of trip value and the rest will be applied toward any trip in the following season.
All policies regarding cancellation will be clearly laid out by your guide after booking your adventure.