Georgia – Khulo Valley Heliskiing
The Khulo Valley is an unspoilt valley that offers endless opportunities for heliskiing in winter. From the peaks, passing over open meadows and going by alpine huts, we delve into the forests of Adjara. The Khulo Valley has first class tree runs and will offer you an amazing experience.
Price: 6500 EUR
An Unspoilt and Exclusive Eldorado for Heliskiing
For a few years now, we have been visiting the very snowy region of Goderdzi Pass, on the edge of Europe. After a scouting in 2017, we were in this wonderful mountain world for the first time in 2018 in the helicopter. We are absolutely thrilled that we were able to make over 70 first descents in some of the best powder together with our groups. We can also confirm that it really does snow up to 20 metres in this region in winter. Low-pressure areas form over the Black Sea, delivering huge amounts fresh snow to the first mountain ranges of the Lesser Caucasus.
The highest peaks here reach around 3000 metres. Some of the best skiing terrain in a completely untouched mountainous landscape awaits you. The mountains are generally already covered in deep snow by the beginning of November and an added bonus is the solid snow cover, due to the favourable climate conditions. You will be surprised with the diversity that this magnificent region on edge of Europe has to offer.
10 Good Reasons to Heliski with us in Khulo Valley
- Only a four hour flight from central Europe – no jetlag
- Guaranteed snow cover
- Very high chances of the best powder snow
- 90km away from Batumi Airport
- Austrian helicopter company with pilots from the Alps
- Fantastic terrain with short flight times
- Great ski resort for down days
- Offers perfect tree skiing terrain
- Small, exclusive groups with 1 guide to 4 guests
- We offer only the highest safety standards
On Saturday, we will take a three hour flight from central Europe to Istanbul. From Istanbul, there is a daily flight (approximately 1.5 hours) with Turkish Airlines to Batumi, which is in Georgia, by the Black Sea. In Batumi we will be picked up by a four-wheel-driven bus. The first 60 kilometres are on a good, asphalted mountain road to Khulo. But this is where the adventure starts: the next 30 kilometres are on a gravel road, which is hardly ever cleared in the winter months. This, however, is not a problem for our four-wheeled bus. There is an estimated minimum travel time of 3 hours for this 90km drive. Our accommodation for the next week awaits us at the end of the road. We will be based in comfortable chalets with an open fire place. In the following 6 days, we will be able to ski beautiful runs, in part through open, alpine terrain but also through sparse mountain forests. Our helicopter is parked right in front of the accommodation. On the first day we will conduct a safety briefing - and then it’s off to the mountains! After an unforgettable week of skiing it will be time to commence on the journey home. On the following Saturday the bus will take us back to Batumi and we will fly back to central Europe via Istanbul.
Information about the region
The Khulo Valley is located in Adjara, the western province of Georgia. Adjara is bordered by Turkey in the south and the Black Sea in the west. The valley is green and fertile in the summer months due to the high amounts of rain. Farmers use the magnificent alpine meadows at 2000 metres to graze their livestock on the lush meadows. By the end of September, the temperatures drop and the first snow falls. Then it’s time for the farmers to prepare for the winter ahead, especially as four or five metres of snow is considered normal here. Around 4000 people live in the Khulo Valley and the area rarely receives tourists. Most of the inhabitants are self-sufficient and live from their livestock. Scattered settlements and some very remote farms shape the image of this valley.
Our accommodation is located next to the gondola of the ski resort at the base of Goderdzi Pass. A hotel is in the process of being built in the area but is currently unfinished. We will stay in cosy chalets with beautiful, yet simple, double rooms. Each chalet has 4 bedrooms on the second floor and offers a very comfortable living room and a large kitchen on the first floor. Please note: There are no single rooms available. We may not have the most luxurious of accommodations, but we are blessed by the very private setting. We will be served with delicious Adjarian specialities by a team from the Khulo Valley. The helicopter is parked directly in front of the door. And, after a long day of skiing, we can be sure that the table will be laid with delicious local delicacies and accompanied by a drop or two of fine Georgian red wine. Gaumachos…
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.
Helicopter and Pilots
In the Khulo Valley we normally use a Eurocopter B3 plus AS 350 from the renowned Austrian company Wucher Helicopter. 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. It offers space for four guests, one guide, and one piolet per flight. Our piolets are from alpine countries and have years of experience with heliskiing. We offer a large and exclusive heli-ski area to only 12 guests per 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.
Runs and Terrain
The terrain and runs in the Khulo Valley vary from high alpine to the best tree skiing we know. 40% of the terrain is above tree line and 60% is below in sparse mixed or coniferous forests. Perfect powder snow can be found in the forest regions in January and February. Our helicopter landing spots are between 2400 and 3000 metres, with most of the runs being around 800 metres, but also up to 1200 metres. We are very flexible in terms of the steepness and exposition and are able choose from the steepest tree terrain to mellow glades – everything is possible. If you love skiing through forests covered in deep snow, then you will love this terrain. We hardly know of any other spots that offer better treeskiing than in the Khulo Valley.
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. 95mm 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 the Khulo Valley. On average there are 3 days of snowfall each week.
December, January, and February normally offer perfect powder conditions. Both spectacular days out and down days make up two sides of the dice. Our runs are between 1300 and 3000 metres. In spite of generally favourable factors, heliskiing in the Khulo Valley 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 / Downdays
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, there is a newly built gondola right in front of our chalets, which takes us up Goderdzi Pass, where perfect skiing terrain awaits us. There are generally only a few skiers in the area and they rarely leave the marked piste. Thanks to the lifts, it’s possible to reach a lot of runs that go through sparse forests and still get the most out of a down day.
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 this line of thinking. We aim to offer you the best possible skiing experience that our package can provide. Our package includes 12 hours of flying per week (with 12 guests), which is approximately 30,000 vertical metres. If we exceed this limit, we can continue flying at the price of 2300 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 the Khulo Valley. 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.
Flight with Turkish Airlines from central Europe to Istanbul and then to Batumi. We are happy to help with the booking of flights. We will collect you from Batumi airport and then travel approximately three hours to our accommodation.
Prices and Tipping in Georgia
- The prices in Georgia are relatively low for the daily necessities. Beer in restaurants costs around 1.50 EUR and a good bottle of Georgian wine roughly 12 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 – piolet, mechanic, guides, and hospitality staff - who helped to make a spectacular week happen.
Included in the price of 6500 EUR
- 7 nights in the cottages (Chalets), all-inclusive (breakfast, packed lunch, post-skiing snacks, a generous dinner)
- 7 days accompanied by a UIAGM certified mountain guide
- 6 days of skiing accompanied by a UIAGM certified mountain guide
- 12 hours of flight time or approximately 30,000 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, such as from and to Batumi airport
Not Included in the Price
- Travel from central Europe to Batumi with Turkish Airlines – from 450 EUR
- Activities not listed in the program
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
- 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.