Georgia – Heliskiing Svanetia Caucasus
Dive into the winter world of the Caucasus and experience an exquisite skiing adventure. The finest powder, untouched slopes, and amazing runs await.
Price: 8200 Euro in a single room
Welcome to One of the World’s Best Heliski Location!
Simply thinking about skiing there is enough to get our hearts going. If you ever listen to stories about skiing trips to Svaneti, it’s hard not to feel inspired. The highest mountains in Europe, heli-ski friendly terrain, and very high safety and quality standards make any trip to this remote region an absolutely unique experience. Svaneti offers heliskiing in its finest form, surrounded by the towering 5000m peaks of the Caucasus Mountains. Over 1800 km² of magnificent skiing terrain awaits you. In my touring log of the last twelve years, you will find more than 140 different runs here. Exquisite powder can be found on the northern slopes of the 30 km long Layla Range and the southern side offers the best spring corn below the stunning landmark peak, Ushba.
It’s not surprising that this breath-taking place has been the chosen setting for some great skiing movies. It is here that we also chose to produce the movie ‘Ushba’ with some of the world’s best freeriders. There is nowhere quite like Svaneti. If you’re looking for an unforgettable heliskiing experience in 2023, this is without doubt the destination for you.
10 10 Good Reasons to Heliski / Heliboard with us in Svanetia
- A team of mountain guides with 12 years of experience in this region
- Only a four hour flight from central Europe
- One of the biggest heliskiing areas in the world
- We offer the highest possible safety standards
- Experienced pilots from the Alps
- Amazing terrain and short approach times
- Ski in powder on the highest peaks in Europe
- Usually very good snow cover
- Four guests per mountain guide and max. three groups a week
- Skiing resort with four new lifts for non-flying days
You will be welcomed with a drink and snack at our hotel, where you can also enjoy the magnificent view of over 50 illuminated tower houses. You will be given a briefing of the heliskiing program and protocol to ensure that you are all set for the next day in the magnificent Svanetian mountains.
The next six days will be all yours to discover some of the finest runs in Svanetia. As with all of our heliskiing trips, our aim is to give you the best possible skiing experience as opposed to counting vertical metres. We want to show you the vast skiing terrains and introduce you to the country and its people along the way. After a great day of skiing, we may also ski down to one of the quaint Svanetian villages, where we will meet the locals and enjoy a glass or two of chacha, a Georgian grappa. After an unforgettable week of skiing it will be time for us to commence on the journey home.
Wizzair flies to Kutaisi from Warsaw or Milan, for example, on Saturdays. Turkish Airlines flies from many Central European airports to Batumi via Istanbul. As soon as the winter flight schedules are a bit more secure, we will recommend one of the two airlines. From Kutaisi or Batumi we take the minibus to Zugdidi and from there we drive steadily uphill along the Enguri stream until we have reached Mestia, the main town of Svaneti, in around five hours.
Our base will be in Mestia, the capital of Svanetia, which is at an altitude of 1300 metres and home to around 2000 people. The picturesque town centre has a few shops, inns, a bank, and all that is needed for daily life. Bars and restaurants are not large in number but there is still the opportunity to enjoy a well-deserved coffee and cake at the town plaza after a day of skiing. While in Mestia, a visit to one of the towers is an absolute must and a visit to the mountain museum is more than worthwhile. Most attractions are well within a ten minute walking distance from our hotel.
Safety and Quality
Safety and quality are our absolute priority. Although we always aim to provide the best experience for our guests, we will never do so by compromising their safety. Any risks that can be influenced are kept thoroughly within our control. As with any activity in high alpine regions, including heliskiing, there are also risks that are beyond our control. You should be aware that we are not exempt from these risks when skiing in the remote places of our planet. Given that we are far away from any rescue services, we have developed our own rescue protocol. A group consists of a maximum of four guests and one guide. We will generally be out with three groups at a time. The groups will follow a rotating system, meaning that the other groups with their guides are never far off in an emergency. We additionally equip ourselves with first-aid material and rescue equipment, and possess the necessary expertise and practice for its use. We also always keep a satellite phone by our side.
Runs and Terrain
There’s a lot of variety when it comes to runs and terrain in Svanetia. It has everything from high alpine glaciers to runs below the treeline. Our landing sports are usually between 2600 and 4100 metres, and, weather permitting, we can ski runs with a total of 1800 vertical metres. We have choice of varying steepnesses; if the conditions are safe, we can make tracks in steep terrain, but we also have plenty of choices up to 30°. Around 95% of heliskiing takes place above the treeline in Svanetia. Safe and sensible skiing is only made possible when there is enough visibility.
Helicopter & Pilots
In Svanetia we usually use a Eurocopter B3 plus AS 350. This has become the helicopter of choice for small groups for heliskiing operations worldwide. Its powerful engine will propel us smoothly and quickly to heights of over 4000 metres. We offer a large and exclusive heli-ski area to only 12 guests a week and therefore only have one helicopter on site. Despite having the best maintenance and a local mechanic, unforeseen defects can ground the helicopter for short periods. Any faults can usually be resolved within 24 hours.
Requirements for Guests
In order to get the most out of this week of heliskiing/heliboarding, you should have a very good skiing technique in all terrains and snow conditions. Good physical condition and endurance are especially required for long runs through the forests. This destination is for advanced skiers and snowboarders. Flory Kern – Ski Berge Abenteuer – can refuse individuals the right to participate if they hold up the group, pose a danger, or show conditional weaknesses. In such cases, these individuals may be flown back to the base during the day.
Freeride skiing equipment (min. 100 mm under the binding) and safety equipment (shovel, probe, avalanche beacon, and airbag backpack) are compulsory. Safety equipment, including a Scott Alpride avalanche backpack, can be hired from us free of charge. A helmet is recommended. A detailed packing list will be provided approximately 30 days prior to departure. Each participant is responsible for his gear being in good and working order. Replacing or renting material in the local area will not be possible. However, we do carry a few extra pairs of ski in case of loss or damage.
We, of course, also love to cruise through the deepest powder with the sun shining – but this requires regular dumps of fresh snow and favourable weather conditions. As in all mountainous regions, both snowy and sunny days are part and parcel of winter in Svanetia. On average there are 3 days of snowfall each week.
February, March and April normally offer perfect powder conditions. Both spectacular days out and down days make up two sides of the dice. In spite of generally favourable factors, heliskiing in Svanetia is dependent on weather, snow, and avalanche conditions. Uncontrollable and sometimes unpredictable forces of nature exist in the mountains. Therefore, our sport is not always perfect, which is something that we should all be accordingly prepared for. It is not possible to perfectly predict the weather and conditions in advance. The week may offer the most fulfilling skiing experience of your life, but it may also be a disappointment if the weather and snow conditions do not meet your every expectation.
Bad Weather Days / Down Days
As with all heliski destinations, there are also days that can have very heavy snowfall or thick cloud coverage. In some cases, this could lead to unsafe flying conditions and the risk of flying would disproportionately outweigh any benefits. However, our location in Mestia has the advantage of being in close proximity to the skiing resorts Tednuldi (30 minutes’ drive from our hotel) and Hatsvali. There are four brand new chair lifts that can bring us to an altitude of 3100 metres and give us access to fantastic skiing terrain.
We are guests in the completely newly built Hotel Lahili, which is owned by the Dadvani family. Aleko and Levan are longtime partners and friends of ours and hospitality is very important to them. It is a lovingly designed hotel in Georgian style and is an excellent base. In our travel package, all guests (except couples) are booked into a single room. The village center can be reached in 5 minutes on foot. WiFi is available throughout the hotel. After skiing, the sauna is warmed up with birch wood to relax the muscles for the next day. As a rule, we spend the last evening of the week in the hotel's Svaneti lounge. Local delicacies and the finest from the grill are served here in front of our eyes. The evening also goes well with a little wine and later in the evening instruments are unpacked and the friendly hotel staff sings and plays Georgian songs. Of course, we too will be challenged to sing or play the guitar.
Flying Time and Vertical Meters
We want to provide ‘a destination for riders, from riders’. That’s why we’ve even adapted our whole philosophy of flying time and vertical metres to match this line of thinking. We aim to offer you the best possible skiing experience that our package can provide. Our package includes 14 hours of flying per week (with 12 guests), which is approximately 30,000 to 40,000 vertical metres. If we exceed this limit, we can continue flying at the price of 2800 EUR per hour, which will be divided by the number of clients flying. In our package we are able to guarantee eight hours of flying per week. If we fly fewer than eight hours due to poor weather conditions, each client will be reimbursed 175 EUR per hour for the unused hours. If a guest is unable to fly due to a lack of physical fitness, sickness, late arrival, or early departure, we will unfortunately not be able to reimburse any costs.
Number of Guests and Exclusivity
We want to offer an exclusive heliskiing experience, away from mass tourism, in the spectacular mountains of Svanetia. Our trips are therefore ‘semi-private’ and only open to 12 guests a week. The clients are divided into three groups, which follow a rotating system. This means that waiting times and delays rarely occur. Each group of four guests will be accompanied by one guide, who knows the terrain very well.
Most heliski trips are lead by Flory personally. Two more moutain guides from our team, that are highly experienced in heliskiing, will assist him. But there are also further lead guides in our team for weeks when Flory is in another destination.
Prices in Svanetia / Georgia
The prices in Georgia are relatively low for the daily necessities. Beer in restaurants costs around 3 EUR and a good bottle of Georgian wine roughly 15 EUR. However, hotel prices and other tourist services are comparable in price to those in central Europe.
It is no must, but tipping is a great way to say thank you to all the people – pilot, mechanic, guides, and hospitality staff - who helped to make a spectacular week happen.
Included in the price of 8200 EUR
- 7 nights at Hotel Lahili in a single room with half board (breakfast buffet, packed lunch on heliskiing days, a generous dinner)
- 7 days accompanied by a UIAGM certified mountain guide
- 6 days of skiing accompanied by a UIAGM certified mountain guide
- 14 hours of flight time or approximately 35,000 vertical metres (with 8 hours of guaranteed flight time)
- A lift pass for the ski resort on down days
- The hire of safety equipment (Avalanche beacon, shovel, probe, Scott Alpride avalanche airbag system)
- All necessary flight and border permits for the heliski operation
- All local transfers and airport transfer from and to Kutaissi with a local driver and guide.
- Travel from central Europe to Kutaissi/Batumi (from 400 EUR)
- Activities not listed in the program
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
- Additional flight hours (2800 EUR per hour, divided by the number of those flying)
- Travel and cancellation insurance
Meeting Requirements and Fitness Level
A realistic self-assessment and an appropriate fitness level is required to join our trips. In order to enjoy a long day of skiing and to reduce the risk of injury, it is important to get in shape and possess a good level of fitness.
EU citizens, as well as Swiss nationals, do not require a visa. A valid passport is sufficient.
Current Country-Specific Information, Vaccines and Health
Please contact your own ministry of foreign affairs for current information about your destination.
Please note that there is a potential risk of injury on skiing trips. In addition to travel cancellation insurance, comprehensive medical and accident insurance that cover the costs of search and rescue, as well as transport costs, are imperative. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you are insured before departure.
Comprehensive medical and accident insurance that covers potential costs of search and rescue operations as well as any medical costs is mandatory for all of our trips abroad.
It is required that you state this information during registration in our registration form in order to ensure 24h emergency assistance.
Links to Insurance Companies:
Please also check your credit card policies as it is possible that these already include insurance.
To sign up for a trip, please click on your preferred date and fill out the booking form carefully.
Please also note our terms and conditions .