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An Unexpected Haven for Winter Sports

By Sean Mahon

Posted: 21st February 2014 14:56

When it comes to Turkey, it is hard not to conjure up images of beaches, cities full of life and arid landscapes.  But, like when everyone thought the world was flat, that’s simply not the case –surprisingly, Turkey boasts the most stunning ski slopes that draw in thousands of skiers and snowboarders each and every winter.  The skiing centres of Anatolia in particular are a place that many winter sports enthusiasts call home, simply because of the variety of activities on offer.  However, the action isn’t just limited to this region; check out our guide of the best winter sports spots in Turkey, grab your skis and go and explore. 

Erciyes

Taken from the Greek word “Argaeos”, Mount Crciyes can be found 20km south of Kayseri and has been a symbol of the region for 50 years.  A mecca for ski enthusiasts, Erciyes is currently undergoing a makeover to make it one of the largest ski and winter tourism centres in the world.  When this is concluded, 160km of slopes will offer irresistible slaloming opportunities for everyone from beginners to the more advanced.  The beautiful mountains hold a mystical quality and have been appreciated ever since 4000BC, when ancient empires settled in the region.  You can also combine your trip with a visit to the beautiful region of Cappadocia, which lies not too far away. 

Erzurum

A vintage winter sport resort, Palandöken, Erzurum’s ski area, stands at 3,125m making it Turkey’s highest resort.  It also boasts the longest and steepest runs with a lengthy season that lasts from October to May.  A mere five kilometres from the city centre, ardent skiers can easily stay in town and travel daily to the ski centre or stay in one of the resort’s many hotels.  Palandöken’s double ski-jumping towers are unique in Turkey, but Erzurum also boasts two new ski resorts, Konaklı and Kandilli, thanks to a hefty investment.

Kartalkaya

This is the ideal destination if you want to stay near the busy cities of Istanbul and Ankara but also enjoy the benefits of Turkey’s excellent skiing opportunities.  This is the place that holds the snow record for the season, and the centre can expect almost up to two metres of snow every February.  With six large hotels, Kartalkaya is well suited for everything from skiing and snowboarding to tobogganing and motor safaris.  The long-lasting snow cover is a big advantage here because the forested slopes protect it from winter’s harsh winds, resulting in outstanding skiing conditions. 

Uludağ

One of Turkey’s most well-established winter sports spots, this resort offers 11 runs of varying degrees of difficulty, as well as 22 mechanical lifts.  Along with its reputation as a skiing hotspot, Uludağ is also the fabled Mount Olympus of Mysia.  It is known in mythology as the place where the gods watched the Trojan War – while you may not be God of the slopes yet, Uludağ offers the chance to hone your skills to perfection.  Accommodation is plentiful too; there are 14 different hotels on offer, most of them with excellent star ratings.  

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