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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!

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  • Deep into the backcountry

    Feel a sense of adventure in this seldom-visited mountain haven

  • Unique Georgian experience

    Discover the Georgian culture and feel like a local in quaint villages

  • Perfect spot to upgrade your skills

    Shred quality snow on diverse terrain and push your skiing skills even further

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Itinerary

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.

  • 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 town of Oni in the Racha region, 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 a day of avalanche education early next morning.

    Experience the charm of Georgian cities in winter.
  • Kick off the day with a delicious breakfast in a guesthouse. Your first day in the field starts with skinning to the location where avalanche introduction will take place. In the second part of the day, you’ll do a short tour to warm up. Return to your guesthouse and enjoy a plentiful traditional Georgian meal.

  • Depending on the group’s condition and strength as well as conditions of a possible return to the village, you have two touring options. You can either go on single-day tours with return to the village (Chiora, Shebi, or Ghebi) or you can go for a multi-day tour: winter camping, shelter-based, or shelter-to-shelter traverse. Your days will typically involve 500-1,000 meters (1,640-3,280 ft) of verticals and long descents taking you to your basecamps or villages. Any of these days, you can also take a rest day and decide to further explore the town of Oni and the nearby villages, or go for a wine degustation (this is also an option if weather conditions are bad on any given day). There’s also a Racha Museum, traditional Racha house visit, or the synagogue.

    Three skiers in snowy mountains in Racha.
  • Your last skiing will involve either returning back to a village guesthouse from your basecamp or a day of ski touring from any of the villages. Upon returning, you will enjoy your last dinner and have the last chance to celebrate your achievements with fellow skiers and your guide as your departure will take place the following day.

    A skier in a cozy guesthouse in Racha
  • After a hearty breakfast in your accommodation, you will leave the Racha region, followed by a ride back to your airport in Tbilisi or Kutais. Your guide can take you to any other Georgian city if you want to continue traveling the country on your own.

    A group photo of backcountry skiers in Racha
  • Each star here represents a possible campsite with a minimum 2-day commitment.

    Shovi, Chiora, and Ghebi are small villages with guesthouses for rest and recovery after each trip. You’ll hopefully make 2-3 camping trips lasting 1-2 nights.

    The exact amount of mini-trips to these specific areas will be determined based on the group’s wishes and snow conditions.Map in Georgia

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Meet your guide

Snow Vigil
5.00
Snow Vigil
Snow Vigil provides an experience that goes beyond just skiing and creates more authentic connections. Their aim is to protect wild places and mountain cultures by pushing back against unsustainable development. They've lived in Racha, Georgia, for the past 3 seasons and worked to become part of the community there and now wish to share the fruits of that effort with you.

Things to know

  • What you get in this adventure:

      • An experienced, English-speaking IFMGA certified guide
      • 8-day backcountry skiing tour in Racha
      • Accommodation in guest houses/cottages
      • Camp-based accommodations and logistics (camping and sleeping gear)
      • Breakfast and dinner as well as daily lunch packages and snacks for touring days (mostly Georgian cuisine)
      • Transfer to/from airport
      • All transportation for the duration of the adventure
      • Avalanche gear (can be rented at no extra cost)
      • Avalanche forecast services
      • First aid kit

    What’s not included:

      • Personal gear and technical backcountry ski touring equipment
      • Avalanche safety equipment (beacon, probe, shovel)
      • Accommodation prior to and after the tour
      • Potential eat-out meals, wine degustation and other facultative activities
      • Travel insurance
      • Guide gratuities — optional
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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:

      • Helmet
      • 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
      • Headlamp
      • First aid kit
      • Sunscreen
      • Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L backpack)
      • Power bank — optional
      • Camera — optional
  • 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 pricing:

      • For this adventure, the usual guest-to-guide ratio is 4:1, but could be as high as 6:1.
      • The cost per person decreases as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to hike with friends and family!

    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.

  • To get to Racha, Georgia, most people fly into Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi International Airport 5 hours away from Racha or David the Builder Kutaisi International Airport, 2 hours away.

    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.

  • 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!

  • A non-refundable 50% deposit is due immediately. The second payment is due fifteen (15) calendar days prior to the start of the trip.

    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.

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