Racha is a remote and little-explored region of the Caucasus Mountains of the Republic of Georgia. This tour offers participants the opportunity to leave tracks on stunning peaks that have seen few or no skiers all while enjoying the food, wine, culture and wild beauty of a country where East meets West and the past and future collide in unexpected ways.
* ZAG and Elan Touring Skis, Blackhole Split boards and Ortovox Avalanche safety equipment can be rented from Mogzauri Rent.
Description: You’ll be tired by the time you reach Georgia. We understand and won’t rush you into anything. We will greet you at the airport and transport you to your hotel in Tbilisi where you can settle in, wash up, and take a much needed nap. In order to fight jet lag, we’ll return to lead you on a walking tour of Old Tbilisi, which will finish at Mtasminda Park where you will enjoy stunning views over the whole city. Afterwards, you’ll ride the funicular back down to the valley for a satisfying Georgian dinner. Then we’ll return you to your hotel for a proper sleep.
Description: After you take breakfast at the hotel, our guides and drivers will arrive to get you started on the ski adventure. We’ll load all our equipment and companions into 4x4s and begin the long drive to Racha. Enroute we’ll be sure to take breaks for stretching, eating, and photography as the Georgian landscape unfolds in front of you. Our ultimate destination for the drive is Village Ghebi, which will take about 7 hours or so to reach from Tbilisi. Once in Ghebi, we’ll get settled in at a basic guesthouse. Don’t be surprised if we are the only ones in the small village that aren’t locals. And don’t be startled by the curious glances at your ski equipment. It’s a sight seldom seen in this remote region
*Disclaimer: The proposed itinerary contained herein is subject to change and may be modified due to weather, snowcover, avalanche hazard, road closures, discretion of the guides, and/or the fitness, skill level or request of the clients.
Starting Elevation: 1300m
Max Elevation: 3000m
Description: This day offers a nice introduction to what Racha has to offer. The tour begins with an ascent through a beech and birch forest and then descends into the Lagorula Valley, which is bordered by the impressively sheer walls of Mt. Lagorula to your left side and the glaciated peak of Mt Shoda to your right. In the valley itself, you will encounter the ruins of shepards’ huts and St. George’s Church. The end of the valley opens up into a steep powder bowl that goes all the way up to a high saddle in the Shoda-Kedela Range. Great views await and from there you’ll have plenty of room to pick your favorite freeride line back into the valley below.
*Depending on the skill and experience level of the group, there is also a ski mountaineering option to complete the technical ascent/descent of Mt Shoda (3,605m).
Starting Elevation: 1300m
Max Elevation: 2600
Description: Similar to the day prior, we will begin our tour climbing through the deciduous forest at the base of Mt Shoda. This day, however, we will not descend into Lagorula Valley but instead continue to climb up through the forest onto the arm of Mt Shoda. Once we get above treeline, you will be greeted with a spectacular vantage point of the Racha region. You will also be able to look down into the Lagorula Valley below and admire yesterday’s tracks. We will continue up the ridge of Mt. Shoda as time and conditions permit. The descent will take us back down the ridge and into the forest for some spectacular tree skiing.
Starting Elevation: 1700m
Max Elevation: 2700m*
Description: We will leave the guesthouse early in the morning and drive to the long abandoned Village Gona. From here the real adventure begins as the road soon ends where the bridge was destroyed. Be prepared, as we will need to cross the Chevshura River on foot. From there, we will skin up a mellow valley until the confluence with the Damburili River. After this, the terrain gets steeper and more technical as it passes through some narrow canyons and past the ruins of old Soviet mining operations. Our destination is the Kirtisho Glacier descending from the steep peaks of the Caucasian Main Range that form the border of Russia and Georgia.
*The terrain in this area is amazing and there are many possibilities for first descents if the group is interested in overnighting in the backcountry.
Starting Elevation: 1550m
Max Elevation: 3000m
Description: The tour will begin at the beautifully desolate ruins of the Soviet resort Shovi. From here we climb a steep trail through a forest of mixed coniferous and deciduous trees. The trail passes by the remains of an old monastery and eventually reaches an open ridgeline. We will continue the ascent up moderate slopes towards Buba Glacier. At this point, the terrain is varied and we can take our pick of powder slopes. Be sure to gaze across the valley and drool at the steep lines in store for the next day before dropping back into the forest for some screaming tree skiing.
Starting Elevation: 1400m
Max Elevation: 2800m*
Description: This day we will start from the Village Glola and ascend through a beautiful forest until we emerge from the treeline into a stunning alpine setting. Our ultimate destination is the Udziro (meaning bottomless in Georgian) Lake. The lake itself sits at 2800m on the slopes of Katitsvera Mountain and is surrounded by great terrain for ski touring / ski mountaineering. Depending on the wishes of the party we can continue towards the summit of Katitsvera Mountain at 3,300. On the way down you will be treated by expansive views of the High Caucasus, fast open terrain, and steep tree skiing at the end.
*Snow camping at Udziro Lake is also an option if the group is interested in spending the night in the backcountry to climb/ski more lines.
Description: Unless you’re superhuman, you’ll be glad not to wake up to an alpine start again. We’ll let you sleep in and recover from the 5-days of adventure ski touring you just experienced. After we take breakfast, we’ll load up the 4x4s and begin the journey back to Tbilisi to start the cultural portion of your tour. Once we’ve arrived in Tbilisi, we’ll take you for a soak in the historical sulfur baths from which Tbilisi derives its name. After you’ve had the chance to loosen up your muscles in the warm, mineral rich water, we’ll head out for a traditional Georgian “supra.” This customary feast involves mountains of food, traditional music, song, and dance, and seemingly endless toasts washed down by free flowing wine and chacha. If you’re still standing relatively straight by the end of the evening, you are welcome to venture out and explore the vibrant nightlife of Tbilisi.
Description: It’s time to continue our cultural experience with a journey to the ancient monastery of Davit Gareja, which is set on a ridgeline overlooking the border with Azerbaijan and an arid steppe landscape. We’ll take a hike here exploring the ruins of the once expansive holy city. But be careful for the poisonous vipers that are becoming active again in the spring. You’ll be sure to work up a thirst in the sun, so we’ll leave the desert behind and head for Georgia’s most famous wine region, Kakheti, and enjoy our evening in its most picturesque village, Signaghi.
Description: On the last day of our tour it’s time to fully unwind. There will be no hiking. Just enjoy the beauty of Georgia’s cradle of viticulture in the springtime. The only exertion will be from lifting your wine glass time and time again as we complete our adventure with winery tours in Kakheti. Our tour will finish with a lovely Kakhetian dinner together before we return to Tbilisi over the flowery Gombori Pass
Description: Our tour has officially ended at this point. But we are in no rush to send you out of Georgia. Stay as long as you please. You are welcome to explore on your own or consider joining us for another adventure before you depart. But when you are finally ready to say goodbye, just let us know and we will take you to the airport and wish you safe travels.