This year my little dream came true: to go skiing to the Gudauri ski resort. I have long wanted to go there – the charm of Georgia is gradually doing its job. Since the first time I visited Georgia more than ten years ago, I have always been drawn back. And now the 2022-2023 skiing season is a great reason to come back.
In this review, I will tell you what prices are in Gudauri in 2023, what to expect from the resort and what to do. There are two doubts among the skiers about Gudauri: there will be little snow, there will be little space. It turned out that…
How we got to Gudauri
So where is Gudauri? The largest ski resort in Georgia is located near the border with Russia. It is only 47 kilometers from the Upper Lars checkpoint. The village itself is located at an altitude of 2196 meters near the Cross Pass. The cable cars, of course, take you even higher.
Traveling to the resort is possible from exactly two starting points. We combined both: through Upper Lars we reached Tbilisi, saw the city and went on a gurney.
- From Tbilisi– about 3 hours by car or minibus along the most beautiful mountain road, past the reservoir and ancient churches.
The only complication that may arise is the closure of the road due to heavy snowfall or avalanche danger. Usually, local news outlets warn about this.
Taxi drivers charge not very pleasant money for the journey from Tbilisi to the Gudauri ski resort – 250-300 GEL one way. For rubles it turns out 7300-8800 rubles per car. Therefore, it is more profitable to go with a friendly company and share the costs or take a car: a WEEK rental on LocalRent will cost only 1000 rubles more than a taxi! Minibuses also go from Tbilisi, they cost eight times cheaper. But you still have to climb there with a board or skis …
How to get to Tbilisi? By plane with a change in Yerevan is now the most popular route from Russia, tickets for which cost from 28,000 rubles round-trip. The duration of the transfer can be anything – from 1.5 hours to a day – go to Aviasales and choose.
- Via Upper Lars – the land border of Russia and Georgia.
The closest point to the border is the airport in Vladikavkaz. Tickets from Moscow in both directions and with luggage will cost about 13,000 rubles (this is the Pobeda flight).
From other Russian cities, almost all flights, unfortunately, come with long transfers: for example, a flight from Kazan takes 17 hours and costs from 23,000 rubles. We'll have to lay down the cost of spending the night in Moscow.
From the airport of Vladikavkaz to the border – at hand, a maximum of an hour's journey. The main queue accumulates in the neutral zone, where traffic is two-lane and passes through tunnels. My friends and I, who crossed the border in February, got through the border pretty quickly: in about two hours, including both posts.
Mountain skiing as the purpose of a trip is a very common story, so apart from having a passport, nothing specific is required of you. At the Russian border, I was only asked to open the cases to check that there were indeed boards, but at the Georgian border there were no questions at all.
❗❗What is the nuance: the border cannot be crossed on foot. That is, if you flew to Vladikavkaz, you need to rent a transfer from Vladikavkaz to Gudauri (or Tbilisi, where you first wish).
But not all local Russian taxi drivers have passports and are not eager to cross the border. Therefore, they often take you to the checkpoint, find a suitable size car there, negotiate with the driver and transfer you. It happened, I know… Moreover, the taxi driver from Vladikavkaz didn’t tell me anything in advance: it was a surprise at the border.
You can always save yourself the headache with the organization and go even to Gudauri on an author's tour. I often look at such options (especially with a ski slope), but each time I get my own company:
It is much more comfortable to arrange a transfer with the Georgian side, so as not to jump from car to car and immediately get to the village. Keep this in mind when planning an independent trip to Gudauri. Ask at guesthouses and hotels where you will live in the resort, they will tell you the contacts. Ask for several contacts at once, compare prices, bargain – it works. And from the Georgian checkpoint to the village it’s not far to go – no more than an hour and a half along the most beautiful snowy serpentine.
Where is it better to ride in Georgia?
In Georgia, by the way, there are several ski slopes. The most famous and largest is Gudauri. Bakuriani and Svaneti follow. There is also a very small Goderdzi, but it’s a long way to get to it, and there are very few trails.
To the question “Gudauri or Bakuriani?” I would answer Gudauri. It's just bigger – and the more trails, the more variety to ride. However, the Georgians themselves often go skiing in Bakuriani. In addition, sometimes it snows there earlier.
In other resorts of Georgia, ski lifts are cheaper – in Goderdzi, for example, a day ski pass will cost you only 30 GEL. Prices in Gudauri are, of course, higher. Now let's talk about it.
Prices for hotels and apartments in Gudauri – 2023
The most important thing when planning any trip is the budget. From experience, I can say that ski trips are not completely budget-friendly.
Everywhere there is only one rule: book in advance. Then housing prices in Gudauri will be adequate – simply because of the greater choice. Basically, pricing is affected by the distance to the ski lifts: if you rent a house very close, the prices for hotels and apartments will be several times more expensive than living further away.
Prices for hotels in Gudauri in 2023 per night:
|3-star hotel||from 7000 rubles||from 4000 rubles|
|4-star hotel||from 8000 rubles||from 5000 rubles|
|Guesthouse||from 4000 rubles||from 3000 rubles|
|Apartment||from 5000 rubles< /td>||from 3500 rubles|
If you are worried about the booking process (cards do not work or something), then accommodation in Gudauri can also be found on Russian services:
- < li>On Ostrovka — hotels, guesthouses, hostels
- On Sutochno.ru — apartments
Here are some interesting places I found on the sites:
— For example, a cool option from private housing: a double room with a kitchen near the ski lifts will cost 30,000 rubles a week.
– Another very good option: also near the slopes, a kitchen, for three for 37,000 rubles per week.
– And here is one of the popular 3 * Hotel Tsiga for 6,500 rubles per day with breakfast included lifts.
— Or a brand new 4* Gudauri Diamond for 10,000 rubles per day.
Personal experience of rest — where is the best place to live in Gudauri?
Our company of six people booked a large two-story apartment, like this one, with panoramic windows. The cost of such an apartment for a week is 90,000 rubles for everyone, which in terms of a day for one comes out to only 2,100 rubles.
We lived in three different bedrooms, and gathered together in the living room, cooked dinners and breakfasts. Not to say that it was perfect – for example, wi-fi was weak, the shower smelled of sewerage. But we had fun, and the apartment is located near the slopes and with a beautiful view.
According to the service for booking apartments, I am all for Sutochno.ru – there is a convenient map that shows all the lifts and indicates which the ski lift is closest to the apartment.
Where to stay in Gudauri? You can navigate along the cable cars – on this basis, the village can be divided into two zones:
- Lower Gudauri at an altitude of 2000 meters (Pirveli lift), which will be the first to meet on the way from Tbilisi
- New Gudauri (2160 meters, Good Aura lift)
There are most hotels here , shops and cafes. There are several hotels near the ski lifts Alpina and Shino, which are located a little further along the Georgian Military Highway.
Pistes in Gudauri
I will try to describe the skiing at the resort as I saw it. I read the reviews, added my experience and got the following picture.
From the village of Lower Gudauri (where we lived), the ascent to the top is made through one chair lift – Pirveli. After it there is another queue on chairs up called Soliko, or if you turn to the right, the New Gudauri complex will appear: there is just the center of cafes, rentals and the Gudaura gondola lift.
Skating example: rising from Lower Gudauri on two lines of chairs, you have to decide whether you want to go further up to the red and black pistes or start downhill.
- The red pistes in Gudauri are not scary – they are wide enough and differ only in slope. But they are often closed due to the wind.
- If you decide to go down, then the choice falls on the blue slopes of Gudaura and Soliko. Each of them branches into two along the way, and from them in the middle of the slopes there are two more branches to Sportuli.
These trails end in different ways: some of them lead to gondolas, some to chairlifts. lifts. Honestly, at first I was very confused, where do I need to turn off in the middle of the highway (what is the exit) in order to be where we agreed to meet with friends? .. But I figured it out quickly.
Tatra 2 has become my favorite track in Gudauri. It is not difficult, but that's not the point – it stretches along the slopes with amazing views and is not very crowded. True, you need to keep the speed: there are two gentle places on the track. Both Tatras (1 and 2) can be reached from the Gudaura gondola. And they lead, by the way, to other chairs of Shino: I really liked to ride there.
That is, it turns out that you can go to the gondolas and chair lifts using different routes. You just need to decide whether you want to be closer to the Tatras or Gudauri, for example, at the top. It depends where you go. This is where piste maps come in handy:
What is important: all the slopes leading down from the first gondola and from the chairlifts are blue. Wide, without dangerous cliffs. Therefore, they say that those who like “hot” come to Gudauri mainly for off-piste skiing.
Ski pass prices in 2023 at Gudauri ski resort
There is a unified system of ski passes in Gudauri. And also, when I saw the prices for ski lifts in Gudauri in 2023, I realized that I didn’t have to puzzle over how many lifts to store lari for. What do I mean?
- One lift – 14 GEL/400 rubles
- Three lifts – 40 GEL/1200 rubles (whoo, 2 GEL benefit!)
- Day ski pass — 70 lari/2000 rubles
And that's it. That is, if you plan to move out more than three times a day, you need to take a day pass.
The only thing to think about is to buy every time for a day or immediately for 3-5 days, for example. This is more economical, but in the mountains there is bad luck – either the tracks in Gudauri are closed due to the wind, or the visibility is poor. And then a huge number of people accumulate in the lower sections (respectively, the time in the queue increases). In a word, long ski passes are not always “rebuffed”. But they are cheaper, yes.
I will quote the prices for a long ski pass in 2023:
- 2 days – 140 lari/4000 rubles (again, the benefits are zero)< /li>
- 3 days — 200 GEL (benefit 10 GEL)
- 4 days – 260 GEL (another 10 GEL)
- 5 days – 300 GEL (here 50 GEL)
- 6 days – 340 GEL/10,000 rubles (benefit 80 GEL)
From the fare, you can see that with a 4-day ski pass, the benefit is too small. But it's easy to lose a day if the weather isn't good. But it's up to you to draw your own conclusions!
The lifts in Gudauri are different: gondola lifts, chair lifts, drag lifts. All of them are in fairly good condition, I have not seen any “junk” at all. The schedule of the lifts is from 10:00 to 17:00.
At the box office, when buying a ski pass, they give out a map of the slopes for free, which is very nice. In general, the cable cars in Gudauri are located close to each other, but the routes branch out along the way. That's why it took me the first two days to learn how to get off at the right places to meet my friends downstairs.
By the way, if you want to go skiing to Gudauri one day from Tbilisi, then here's an interesting option caught my eye – a one-day tour for € 250 for four (payment on the spot) with a transfer and a guide; if necessary, they will find an instructor and equipment for you:
Prices for equipment rental
There are a lot of rental shops in the village. True, most of them are located below – for example, near the gondolas. Rental prices in Gudauri vary, but not significantly: I have seen goggles rent for 10–15 GEL per day (300–450 rubles).
- Helmet rental — 10–15 GEL per day
- Rental of snowboard and ski boots – 25 lari (730 rubles)
- Board, skis – 30 lari (900 rubles)
- Instructor – 50 lari (1500 rubles)
Food prices in Gudauri
In a word, not low! By the way, there are no shops near the ski lifts. They are located 10-15 minutes walk from the lower chair lifts. At the same time, the resort has a large number of cafes and restaurants, but we did not like the prices. Here are some examples.
Prices in cafes and restaurants in Gudauri in 2023:
|Khachapuri||32–35 GEL||950–1000 rubles|
|Pizza||35–50 lari||1000–1500 rubles|
|Caesar salad||40 lari||1200 rubles|
|Vegetable salad||25 lari||730 rubles|
|Lobio||30 lari||900 rubles|
|Burger||50 lari||1500 rubles|
|Pina Colada||24 lari||700 rubles|
The season was officially scheduled to open in December 2022. But it actually happened later. In January 2023, there was almost no snow in Gudauri: tourists rushed to cancel their reservations, and the authorities of the region were seriously worried that the season would be disrupted (usually three-meter snowdrifts are at this time). Then, fortunately, it snowed actively, and more and more tracks opened every week. February has been rolling all over.
Whether there will be skiing in April, again, it is difficult to predict. As always in mountainous regions, the weather in Gudauri is very unpredictable. There is such a possibility, and we must closely monitor the snow forecasts.
It is definitely better to focus on February-March: in November, in Gudauri, unlike some Russian ski resorts, it is unlikely to snow. By the way, if you are staying in Tbilisi, you can watch the state of the snow cover on webcams. If there is a lot of snow, you can drive there one day or for the weekend.
How much does it cost to ride in Gudauri?
So, what budget should you budget when planning an independent trip to Gudauri in 2023? I’m talking about my budget for the week.
- Flight: 13,000 rubles (from Moscow)
- Transfer across the border to the resort: 3,500 rubles per person
- Accommodation for a week for two: 12,500 rubles
- 6-day ski pass: 9,860 rubles
- Meals: 3 lunches on the slope + 3 dinners at the bar + groceries (breakfasts, dinners, wine) = 5000+5000+6000=16,000 rubles
- Rent a full set: 14,000 rubles
- Additional entertainment (sauna, souvenirs): 5,000 rubles
Total: RUB 73,860 per person for 7 days.