A popular summer holiday destination, Turkey also offers skiing in provinces across the country, attracting more and more domestic and foreign visitors during the winter months.
Uludağ is the fabled Mount Olympus of Mysia. It is known in mythology as the place where the gods watched the Trojan war. It is a western extension of the Pontic mountain ranges. Its name means ‘Big mountain’ – the highest mountain in Western Anatolia, culminating at Kara Tepe (2543m).
The ski centre, in the Uludağ National Park, is 36km south of Bursa. The skiing at Uludağ is mostly intermediate on lightly forested slopes that are usually open from December until late March. There are 27 hotels, 15 of which are privately owned, providing over 3000 beds at present. Further development is underway
Visitors to Uludağ can also heli-ski, snowboard, ice-skate or tour the area on snow bikes.
Perhaps surprisingly, the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, already a major destination with its stunning beaches and sunny skies, now attracts winter visitors to its ski resort at Saklıkent.
The ski centre, considered to be the closest available ski resort to the Mediterranean, is situated on the northern side of Bakırlıdağ, part of the Taurus Mountains. It can be reached by car as well as by cable car from sea level with its breathtaking view of Antalya and the Taurus Mountains.
Saklıkent is a short season ski resort and offers approximately 120 days of skiing availability between Mid December and Mid April.
Offering a nonstop ski experience to its guests, the Palandöken Ski Centre on Palandöken Mountain in Erzurum province has become one of the best winter tourist attractions in the world.
Palandöken is one of Turkey’s most easily accessible ski resorts, located approximately 15 kilometres from Erzurum Airport. It is an hour from the capital Ankara by plane and nearly 1.5 hours by plane from Istanbul and İzmir.
With a capacity for 12,000 skiers at once, the centre has 24 trails, which are among the longest and steepest in the world. While beginners can enjoy eight easy and mid-level tracks, for enthusiasts who want to push the limits, there are three advanced-level tracks – one of them being the world’s third longest track and Turkey’s longest.
Also in eastern Turkey, Sarıkamış is a rapidly developing resort 50 kilometres from the centre of Kars. The resort features 14 kilometres of slopes and four ski lifts with an elevation of between 2,100 and 2,600 meters. The altitude and distance of Sarıkamış from the coast make this a fairly snowsure resort.
Though short by Alpine standards, the pistes at Sarıkamış are among the longest in Turkey.
The ski season in Sarıkamış Ski Centre is from December to April and the thickness of the snow in Sarıkamış reaches up to 50-200cm.
Many flight operators don’t offer flights to Turkey during the winter however, there are still international and domestic connecting flights via Istanbul Ataturk airport and Sabiha Gökçen airport. Dalaman airport is also open in the winter and there are flights into Antalya and İzmir.