Flory Kern

Gartenstr. 16
78136 Schonach
phone: +49 (0) 7722 920751
fax: +49 (0) 07722 919826
mail: florykern@t-online.de
web: www.flory-kern.de

January/February 2019: Georgia – Khulo Valley Heliskiing

Khulo 1: 26.01. – 02.02.2019
Khulo 2: 02.02. – 09.02.2019

Changes in schedule are reserved, travel dates Saturday to Saturday

Here you can find some photos of this trip


Price: 6400 Euro

Since a couple of years we visit the region with the most snowfalls every winter at the edge of Europe. After a scouting trip 2 years ago, last winter we were running our first regular Heliski trip in this magnificient mountain range. We came back completly stoked and amazed: we were able to ski more than 70 first descent in great powder with our groups! Now after our first trip we also can confirm from first hand experience that it snows up to 20 meters in this region. Intensive low pressure Systems build up over the Black Sea and result in massive snowfalls in the mountains of the Lower Caucasus. The peaks here reach up to more than 3000 meters and ideal skiing terrain in a pristine and mostly untouched mountain range awaits you. Normally the mountains are deeply covered in snow since the beginning of November and due to favorable climate conditions we usually find a solid snow cover. You will be surprised about the diversity of this magnificent region at the edge of Europe.

Some good reasons why you should heliski with us in the Khulo Valley:

  • Only 4 flight hours from central Europe
  • Absolut snow-safe region
  • Very high chances for best powder snow
  • 90 kilometers away from Batumi Airport
  • Austrian helicopter company with pilots from the Alps
  • Best terrain with short flight times
  • Great ski resort for downdays
  • Perfect treeskiing terrain
  • Small, exclusive groups with 1 guide for 4 guests
  • Highest safety standards

Information about the region

AdjariaMapThe Khulo Valley is located in the western province of Georgia, called Adjaria. Adjaria is bordered by Turkey in the South and the Black Sea from the West. In the summer months the valley is very green and fruitful, due to the high amounts of rain. Farmers use the pastures above 2000 meters to let their livestock graze the grasslands. But already at the end of September temperatures drop and the first snow falls. Time for the farmers to make everything ready for the winter, since 4 to 5 meters are normal here. Around 4000 people are living in the Khulo Valley, there is barely any tourism present yet and most of the inhabitants live from their livestock and are self-supportive. Dispersed settlements with isolated farms form the picture of this valley.

How a Heliskiweek / Heliboardweek in the Khulo Valley will run for you

On Saturdays we fly from central Europe in around 3 hours to Istanbul. From Istanbul there is a daily flight with Turkish Airlines to Batumi, located at the Black Sea in Georgia (flight time around 1.5 hours). We will be picked up by a 4wd bus in Batumi. The first 60 kilometers lead us on a good, paved road to Khulo. From here on the adventure starts: another 30 kilometers on a gravel road, which is barely cleared in the winter months. However, not a problem for our four-wheel bus. For the 90 km drive we are calculating with a minimum of 3 hours. At the end of the road we will find our accommodation for the next week. We are based in comfortable Chalets with an open fire place. During the next 6 days, we are able to ski beautiful runs, either in open, alpine terrain or through light forests. Our helicopter is parked right next to the Chalets. The terrain is more than 1600 square kilometers big and the runs stretch to all directions with every possible degree of inclination. On the first morning there will be a safety briefing to make you comfortable with the standards in heliskiing. Immediately afterwards the mountains are already waiting for us and it is time to heliski! After a hopefully unforgettable week of skiing it´s time to start our journey back home. On the following Saturday we will head back towards Batumi, from where we fly back to central Europe via Istanbul.

Our base

BaseKhuloHeliOur base is located at the foot of Goderdzi Pass at 1600 meters, right next to the gondola of the new ski resort. In the next couple of years, a whole resort is supposed to be created. However, until now there are only 6 comfortable Chalets and a hotel that was still not completed until May 2018. Only a couple of skiers come up to the ski resort, which is not a surprise since the streets up there are not made for mass tourism. There are plans to improve that situation, but it will probably take a couple of more years.

Your Guide Team for the season 2019

Flory Kern

FloryIranFlory is UIAGM Mountain and Skiguide, he is the founder of the company “Ski Berge Abenteuer” that is successfully running skiing and heliski trips all over the world since 20 years. He did a lot of pioneer work in the last couple of years, always on the lookout for new heliski destinations. “Heliskiing in new regions is a great allurement and always a new challenge for me. But if we are able to deliver a unique heliskiing experience for our customers, I am more than happy with my Job. Since several years I visit Khulo Valley and every time I am fascinated by the snow masses and the endless possibilities. I am very excited to discover even more valleys of this region with the helicopter.”

Matthias Knaus

MATHE_S-WMatthias has a diploma in Geography and he is in love with nature and all kind of outdoorsports. He is a great Mountainbiker and rock climber, but his passion is skiing through deep powder snow! His spirit to discover new terrain and his accuracy in planning his activities are his keyskills. You can be sure he will be 100% prepared for his trip and that everything will work out smoothly. After he has been with us in Svanetia over the last winters, he is really excited to explore the Khulo Valley with us.

Andi Millinger

Andi_Millinger_PortraitFor more than 15 years Andi travels to the most remote skiareas of South America, India as well as Africa. If he is not skiing you will meet him in some very hard climbing routs all over the globe. All our clients love to ski with Andi, you can be sure it´s always lots of fun. Besides his humor you can count on full commitment and professionalism as a mountain guide when skiing with him.

Christoph Garber

Chris is our youngster and part of our team since 2018. Right in his first year he was guiding our groups at Goderdzi Pass and he made an excellent job. Besides being an outstanding skier he is also a great alpinist and very strong rock climber and you can really see how much fun he has doing what he loves. You will love his open and positive manner and we are happy he is coming with us to Georgia in 2019 again!

Quality and safety

Swanetien_2017Quality and safety is always our top priority. Although we always try to get the best experience for our guests, we never do this by compromising your safety. Any risks, which we have an influence on, we will keep under control. But as with any activity in high alpine regions, also with heliskiing there are risks that are beyond our control. You should be aware that you have to share these risks with us, skiing in remote places on our planet. In Khulo Valley we are far away from any rescue services, therefore we have developed our own rescue strategy. Our groups consist of a maximum of 4 clients plus 1 guide. In our weeks we usually ski in 3 teams with the ratio of 4 guests plus 1 guide. In case of an incident with this strategy we always have at least 3 professional guides on spot. Beyond that we always carry extensive first aid and rescue material with us as well as satellite telephones.

Runs and terrain

AbfahrtenKhuloThe runs and terrain in Khulo Valley vary from high alpine to the best treeskiing we know. 40 % of the terrain is above the tree line, 60 % below in light mixed or coniferous forests. Especially in January and February we find perfect powder snow in the forest regions. Our helicopter landing spots are between 2400 and 3000 meters. Most of the runs have around 800 vertical meters, partly even up to 1200 vertical meters. We are very flexible with the steepness and exposition, either steepest tree terrain or moderate glades, everything is possible! If you love to ski through forests covered in deep snow you will love this terrain. We hardly know any other spot that offers such great treeskiing than the Khulo Valley.

Helicopter

HeliKhuloIn Khulo Valley we use a helicopter of the type B3 plus AS 350, Eurocopter. This helicopter is the most used one for heliski operations worldwide. A very strong engine will make sure that we will reach landings above 3000 meters in just a few flight minutes. This helicopter offers enough seats for 4 clients plus 1 guide per flight. The helicopter is parked right next to our Chalets so there will be no loss of time in the morning.

Pilot team

PilotenteamKhuloOur pilot team is from Switzerland and Italy. Davide and Marco are highly professional pilots with extensive experience in flying. Their skills are precise and well thought, even with landings that require a lot of flying experience. They proved their outstanding skills more than once over the last 6 years we are working together now.  Part of the team is also a mechanic, who takes care about the machine. We are very much looking forward to work with this professional team of friends again!

Requirements

AnforderungenKhuloIn order to be able to enjoy a week of heliskiing/heliboarding, you should have a very good skiing technique in every terrain and snow condition. Good physical condition and endurance especially in long runs through the forests are required. This destination is reserved for advanced skiers and snowboarders. Flory Kern – Ski Berge Abenteuer – has the right to not allow participants to ski if they hold up the group or show conditional weaknesses. In this case you might be flown back to the base during the day.

Material and skis

Türkei_4Freeride skiing equipment (min. 95 mm under the binding) and safety equipment, consisting of shovel, probe and LVS device are compulsory. All skiers will also be equipped with an avalanche safety system backpack, the Scott Alpride. The safety equipment can be hired from us free of cost. It is recommended to wear a helmet. You will receive a detailed packing list from us about 30 days before the journey. Every participant is responsible that his gear is in reliable and good condition. Renting skis on spot will not be possible, although we always carry a few extra pairs of skis with us in case of loss or damage of a ski.

Weather and snow in Khulo Valley

WetterverhKhuloHeliOf course we also prefer to ski with sunshine and deepest powder. In order to have these conditions, we need good weather conditions and regular dumps of fresh snow. Like in most places where heliskiing is done, bad weather can also occur in Khulo Valley. On average there are 3 days of snowfall during one week. In the months of December, January and February we normally find perfect powder conditions. Downdays are part of the game same as absolutely top days. Our runs are between 1300 and 3000 meters. Despite a lot of fortunate circumstances, heliskiing in Khulo Valley is depending on the weather, snow and avalanche situation. Natural forces, which we do not have an influence on, can always happen in the mountains. Therefore this sport is not always perfect and you should prepare for this accordingly. Nobody can predict in advance how the conditions will be during your week. It might be the most fulfilling skiing experience in your life, but it might also become a disappointment if the weather and snow conditions do not meet your expectations. On overcast days with light snowfall we have the possibility to fly to drop off points in the woods close by (visibility permitting) and ski in the almost endless forest runs.

Bad weather days / downdays

DowndaysKhuloLike in all other heliski destinations on earth, in Khulo Valley there will be also days with strong snowfalls and poor visibility, where safe flying with a helicopter is not guaranteed anymore. Sure on those days our helicopter will stay on ground. Right in front of our Chalets a gondola can take us up to Goderdzi Pass. Perfect skiing terrain is waiting for us there. Only a few skiers ski in that resort and barely any of them leaves the marked pistes. A lot of runs through light forests are reachable thanks to the lifts. A perfect alternative for days with strong snowfall and bad visibility.

Our accommodation

HotelKhuloThe Chalets are located directly at the end of the street and next to the gondola, which takes us up to Goderdzi Pass. A new hotel is planned down there as well, but in May 2018 it was still under construction. Consequently we will sleep in comfortable cottages. An open fire place and private catering guarantee a great time. The helicopter is parked right next to our chalets. In the cottages we are based in comfortable double rooms. Each cottage has 4 sleeping rooms, located on the second floor. Attention: no single rooms possible on this trip! In the basement you will find a comfortable living room and a big kitchen. It is definately not a luxurious suite, however we are housed very privately. A team from the Khulo Valley cooks best Adjarian dishes for us. When we come back from a day of skiing, you can be sure that the table is already covered with delicious food from the local cuisine and a good Georgian red wine. Gaumachos…

Vertical meters / helitime

HöhenmeterKhuloWe would like to provide “a destination from riders for riders”. Therefore we developed our own philosophy when it comes to vertical meters or helicopter flying time. It is our goal to offer you best possible skiing with our package. In our package 12 helicopter hours per week (with 12 guests) are included, which roughly relates to 30.000 vertical meters. If we exceed the 12 hours per week, sure we can continue to fly at the price of 2300 Euro per flying hour. When it comes to extra flying time it will be divided by the number of clients riding. In our package we are able to guarantee 8 heli hours per week, that means if we fly less than 8 hours due to bad weather etc., the unused hours will be reimbursed with 175 Euro per hour each client. If you cannot use up all your flying time due to sickness, lack of physical fitness, late arrival or early departure we are unfortunately not able to reimburse you.

Number of clients per week

TeilnehmerzKhuloWe are very proud to offer you a great and exclusive skiing experience and no mass tourism in the spectacular mountains of Khulo Valley. Therefore all our heliski trips are “semi private”, the maximum number of clients per week is 12 persons. These clients will be divided in 3 groups and work in a rotational system. Due to that fact, waiting times are rather seldom. Each group of 4 guests will be accompanied by 1 guide, who knows the terrain very well.

Prices and costs in Georgia

Most items like food and things for daily life are relatively reasonable priced in Georgia. So just for example a beer can be bought at around 1,50 Euro or a nice bottle of Georgian wine can be around 12 Euro in a Restaurant. However, prices for hotels and tourist services are comparable to the ones in central Europe.

Tipping

It is not a must, but a really appreciated way to say thank you for a great week to people that are involved in the operation like pilot, hotel staff, taxi driver. The amount is totally up to you.

In our package of 6400 Euro the following is included

  • 7 overnights in cottages (Chalets) in double rooms with full board (rich breakfast, packed lunch, delicious dinner, snacks after skiing)
  • 7 days accompaniment by UIAGM guides of our Heli Guiding Team
  • 6 skiing days guided by UIAGM guides of our Heli Guiding Team
  • 12 hours of helicopter flight time or minimum around 30.000 vertical meters (8 hours of flight time are guaranteed)
  • Liftpass for the ski resort on down days
  • Safety equipment (avalanche device, shovel, probe, Scott Alpride avalanche airbag system)
  • All permits for the heliski operation
  • All transfers on spot as well as from and back to Batumi airport

Not included in the package is

  • Airfare from home port to Batumi (starts at 450 Euro)
  • Activities besides our program
  • Alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks
  • Travel insurance/travel cancellation insurance

Regulations to visit Georgia

All citizens of the EU as well as Swiss and Norwegian citizens do not need any visa to visit Georgia. A passport with a validation of 6 months after travel is sufficient.

Travel preparations

Please note the following three points after your booking:

A good or very good physical shape =>

A realistic self-assessment and an appropriate fitness level is required to join our trips. In order to enjoy long ski days you need to get in shape and train prior to the trip. A good fitness also reduces the risk of injury.

Information about the destination, vaccinations, health =>

Please keep yourself updated about the current (political) situation and country specific particularities of your destination. You can do so by checking the website of the ministry of foreign affairs of your own country.

Travel insurance =>

Please note that there is a potential risk of injury on a ski trip. When travelling abroad several travel insurances are imperative. Besides a travel cancellation insurance we highly recommend a travel health insurance as well as a travel accident insurance. These insurances need to cover potential costs for search and rescue operations and costs for hospital stays etc. It is your own responsibility to make sure you are covered accordingly.

For all of our trips that include a flight, a travel accident and travel health insurance that cover potential costs for search and rescue operations and medical costs (for example hospital stays) is mandatory. The insurance will be queried in our online registration form and we kindly ask you to fill in that information.

Appropriate insurance companies you can find in the internet.

Please also check your credit card, eventually the according insurances are included.

How to sign up for a trip to Khulo Valley

In 2019 we are only able to sell a limited number of seats, therefore it will be necessary to sign up as early as possible, also in order to get the spot in your requested week or together with your friends.
Please fill out the online sheet on our website carefully, press send and within the next few days we will hand you your travel documents over. Please also take notice of our general terms and conditions.

 

 

 

 


Any questions? | Book now!