Winter is here. Ski lovers are the happiest ones about it for sure… Enthusiasts who have been waiting for months to snowboard, snow kite, snow raft, or heliski have already begun finalizing their vacation itineraries. We have searched the most popular places to do these sports in Turkey for Raillife readers.

Private lessons for ski enthusiasts
Ski lovers know very well that there are two major criteria for skiing: ground quality, length of ski-run. Although Uludağ in Bursa with 13 ski-runs comes to mind when a ski holiday in Turkey is mentioned, there are many alternative locations. The Zigana Ski Center in Gümüşhane is only 3 km away from the Zigana Pass… The snow season is between December and April. All kinds of ski equipment can be rented at Zigana Ski Center, where experienced ski instructors offer private lessons. The Ilgaz Mountain Ski Center is located in Kastamonu. Looking at its modest appearance, one would easily guess why its concept is called ’boutique’. In the center, there are three ski-runs and a practice field, gondola lift, and ski lifts. The popularity of the Kartepe Ski Center, which has been operating since 2005, is also rapidly increasing. In the center there are four lifts, three gondola lifts, a ski lift and 12 tracks with lengths ranging from 400 to 3.200 meters. The Erzincan Mountain Winter Sports and Nature Tourism Center attracts attention as a new favorite ski destination in Eastern Anatolia with its 12 km runway and the state-of-the-art ski lift system that can carry 450 people at the same time. Another attractive destination recently has been the Hazarbaba Ski Center in Elazığ, which is located on Hazarbaba Mountain, 2.347 meters in height… There are 8 ski-runs in Hazarbaba with a length of 3 kilometers.

Enjoy snowboarding and snowrafting
Snowboarding is the most preferred winter sport after skiing in our country. Sarıkamış in Kars, known for its crystal snow, has one of the most suitable tracks for this sport. The slightly sloping first course here is for beginners to snowboarding. The second course is recommended for the advanced. In Sarıkamış, covered with pines, the season opens in November and continues until April. There are 13 tracks in Kartalkaya in Bolu. At Kartalkaya, which has a snow depth of up to three meters during the snow season, a special area is reserved only for snowboarding, and instructors give lessons here. Palandöken is also an important alternative with its natural slopes for snowboarders. Palandöken, which is very close to the city center of Erzurum, has a ski-run registered with the International Ski Federation. Snowboard enthusiasts can snowboard here with peace of mind between December and April. Snowrafting, a sport that is not yet widely practiced in our country, is being carried out on the snow on a boat as the name implies. The most popular track for snow rafting is Uzungöl in Trabzon, Turkey. High peaks dominate Uzungöl. The Ergan Mountain Ski Center, which has Turkey’s longest ski-run in Erzincan, is also suitable for snow rafting. The Ergan Mountain Ski Center is settled at 2 thousand 970 meters of altitude. The region offers highly favorable grounds for snowrafting, especially between November and March.

For those who want to try snow kite and heliski
Snow kite, also referred to as “flying while skiing”, is seen as the next step in snowboarding. The number of snow kite enthusiasts in Turkey is growing rapidly. The Erciyes Ski Center is one of the most important ski centers in the world. The center is positioned at 3 thousand 916 meters of altitude and 25 km from Kayseri city center. Since the slope of the track changes from 10 to 20 percent, the Erciyes Ski Center offers suitable grounds for snowboarding and snow kiting. The season opens in December and ends in April. International Snowkite Festival is held every year at the Erciyes Ski Center. Heliski is done where the snow depth is the thickest and away from the ski centers. Skiers are taken to hills by a helicopter. Because of the need for special equipment, the cost of heliskiing is higher than other winter sports. The center of this sport, which can be done at some points of the world, is the Ayder Plateau of Rize in our country. Attracting the heliski enthusiasts with its summit of 2,800 meters, Ayder is among the major popular centers.