Turkey is an important center of winter activities and attractions with its high altitude mountains covered with snow all throughout the year.
Uludag, 36km south of Bursa, is one of the country’s favourite winter sports centres and as well as skiing, its richness of flora and fauna has made it into a National Park and summer activities like trekking and camping are also popular. Uludag was previously known as Olympos Misios in ancient times, and is known in mythology as the place where the gods watched the Trojan war. Plans have been confirmed for a development project, which will offer a huge increase in accommodation and skiing facilities. Its geographical conditions mean that Uludag Ski Resort can also offer heli-skiing, snow boarding, ice-skating and snow biking.
Arrival: Uludag National Park can be reached both by highway and cable car. The Ski resort is 40 minutes away from Bursa by road and 60 minutes from the airport. Travelling by private vehicle, the Cekirge road is the easiest. Drivers must keep wheel chains, wedges and heavy ropes during winter, which are available for hire or sale along the roadside. There are also minibuses going to the top of Uludag which leave every hour during the winter, and takes around 90 minutes from Bursa.
There are four sections of the cable-car route to reach Uludag, two between Bursa and Kadi plateau (1235m) and two between Kadi and Sari Alan (1621m). Each line has a cabin that can fit 30 people, although it is prohibited to carry ski equipment, and depart the district of Teleferik every 20 minutes. The journey, which stops at Kadi and then changes car, takes around 25 minutes. From the Sari Alan, there is a minibus service travelling the last 7km to the hotel area. In the summer season, there is a chairlift from Sari Alan to Coban Kaya (1750m).
Geography: Uludag is the highest mountain in Western Anatolia, with its peak at Kara Tepe (2543m). It is covered in forests, and the region has a partially temperate climate with a dominant wind direction of south-west/south. The altitude of the skiing area is between 1750 – 2543m, and the best season is from late December to late March. The snow at the beginning of the season is powdery, getting increasingly slushy towards the end.
Facilities: There are 27 hotels, 15 of which are privately owned, with a total of over 3000 beds. The area also has shopping halls, restaurants, cafes and bars, entertainment and health centres.
Ski equipment, rental and instructors are all available here. There are eight chair-lifts, seven T-bars and 13 different ski runs.
The Kartalkaya Skiing Resort is in the Western Black Sea Region, southeast of Bolu, in the Koroglu mountains. The mountain has appropriate conditions for Alpine and cross-country skiing.
Arrival: The distance from Bolu city centre is 54km, and 28m to the Ankara highway. It takes around 45 minutes by road from the city centre and in addition to public buses and minibuses, most of the hotels organise this service for visitors.
Geography: The ski area is at an altitude of 1850-2200m, and the region has semi-temperate climate. Kartalkaya and surroundings are covered with forests, and has a dominant wind direction of west/north-west. The best season for skiing is from late December and late March, with an average 3m snowfall. The snow at the beginning of the season is powdery, getting increasingly slushy towards the end.
Facilities: There are two hotels with a total bed capacity of 1005, plus restaurants, swimming pools, discos and bars. Ski equipment and instruction is available. There are two chair-lifts, six T-bars and three baby lifts, with 12 ski runs around 20km long.
* Yesil (green) Lift (Chairlift – 700 m) * Camcukuru Lift (Chairlift – 650 m) * Inekcayiri 1-2 (Ski-Lift – 900 m) * Resuldede 1-2 (Ski-Lift – 600 m) * Kazankaya (Ski-Lift – 650 m) * Koroglu Lift (Ski-Lift – 1200 m) * 2 Baby-Lift
Kars – Sarıkamış
In the Eastern Anatolia Region and 55km south-west of Kars, the Sarikamis Ski Resort is on the Camurlu mountain at an altitude of 2634m, and is renowned for its good quality of snow.
The Cibiltepe, with an altitude of 2500m, is an area of wonderful natural beauty and has five ski runs, the longest of which is 12 km long. It is covered with crystallised snow and therefore is very challenging.
Arrival: Sarikamis Ski Resort is 60km south-west of the centre of Kars, and 50km from the airport. It is also accessible from Erzurum airport, south-west. There are direct buses to the ski resort from Kars airport (40 mins) and Erzurum airport (90 mins). From the centre of Kars, there are no public vehicles.
Geography: The skiing area is between the altitudes of 2100 -2634m, within the pine forests. There is an average depth of 1.5m and is quite typical of Alpine conditions, and the best ski season is between 20 December – 20 March. It has a terrestrial climate, with a dominant south-westerly wind direction.
Facilities: There are two government guest-houses, and other private accommodation. Ski instructors and equipment is available for rent, and there is first aid, security and health services available, more hotels and hospital in the Sarikamis area. There is a military zone which can be used for helicopter landings. There are two chairlifts and one T-bar, plus two 4-seater T-bars.
Erzurum – Palandöken
Palandoken mountain has an altitude of 3185 m, and is south of Erzurum. This was the area of the first extensive study in the country looking at a master plan for tourism potential, which concluded that the area has the necessary potential and qualities to be a major international resort. Given the right facilities, it is estimated that 32,000 people could ski per day and could be the venue of international competitions and even Winter Olympics, giving job opportunities to around 6000 people.
Arrival: There are daily flights from Ankara and Istanbul to Erzurum. The ski resort is 5km from the city centre, and 10 minutes from the airport. During the winter season, there are public buses from the ski resort to the city centre.
Geography: Erzurum is one of the highest and coldest cities of Turkey, with a harsh terrestrial climate and covered with snow 150 days of a year, and an average annual snowfall of 2-3m. The dominant wind direction is southerly and westerly. The skiing area is at an altitude of 2200m – 3176m, and best time to ski is between 10 December – 10 May.
Facilities: There are 4- and 5-star hotels with restaurants, and ski instruction and equipment rental services are available. The slopes here are among the longest and steepest in the world, each one up to 12km, giving a total length of around 28 km. With the altitude difference of 1000 metres between the start and finish line, Palandoken has two registered tracks for competitions of Slalom and grand Slalom. (Ejder Track and Kapikaya Track). There are five chair-lifts, one T-bar, two baby lifts and a gondola lift.