Ski Club Member Chris Madoc-Jones took a two week trip to Georgia and the ski resort of Gudauri. Would the resort’s skiing live up to its burgeoning reputation?
When I first mentioned that I was spending ten days skiing in Georgia to friends and family, most replied with an answer of “but why Georgia?”. As I landed into the tiny Kutaisi airport at well past midnight after a cramped five hour flight and facing the prospect of a long transfer in the morning, I was also asking myself the same question. Would it be worth the journey? Would the language barrier prove too great? And would the skiing be any good?
My final destination of Gudauri lay five hours away, high up in the Caucasus Mountains – the vast chain of towering peaks along Russia’s southern border. Gudauri is in fact much more easily accessed via Tbilisi (around a two hour transfer), but Wizz Air recently introduced a flight to Kutaisi from Luton for less than £100 return – an offer that was too good to turn down, despite the long transfer.
I had heard of Gudauri via a handful of magazine articles and video segments highlighting its great backcountry terrain, and through the fact that it has built more new lifts – three Poma gondolas and three Doppelmayr high-speed six seat chairs – in the past year than any other resort. So when I eventually rolled into the resort in the early afternoon I at least knew roughly what to expect, but the next ten days were to add a huge amount of colour and detail to these pre-trip expectations.