Svan 1: 16.02. – 23.02.2019
Svan 2: 23.02. – 02.03.2019
Svan 3: 02.03. – 09.03.2019
Svan 4: 09.03. – 16.03.2019
Svan 5: 16.03. – 23.03.2019
Svan 6: 23.03. – 30.03.2019
Svan 7: 30.03. – 06.04.2019
Svan 8: 06.04. – 13.04.2019
Changes in schedule are reserved, travel dates Saturday to Saturday
Price: 6800 Euro
ATTENTION: Change of the hotel on November 13rd, 2018
Dear Skiers and Snowboarders,
welcome to one of the best Heliski spots!
Dive into the winter wonder world of the great Coucasus and experience a ski adventure of your life time! Finest powder snow, untouched slopes and amazing descents are waiting for you. Simply thinking about skiing there makes our hearts beating quicker.
We are always in search for new and great Heliski destinations all around the globe. Now in 2019 we will go into our sixth season in the incredible mountains of Svanetia. This is skiing at its best inbetween the highest peaks of Europe, rising more than 5000 meters into the sky. 1800 square kilometers of stunning skiing terrain is just ours. In my touring book of the last 7 years you can find more than 140 different runs. While we still ski dry and deep powder on the more than 30 kilometer long Layla Range, best spring corn can be skied on the almost endless runs below the looming peak of Ushba. It´s not a big surprise that this amazing spot has become the setting for some great ski movies recently. Just last year we produced the movie “Ushba” there with the currently world best freeriders.
Svanetia is an unforgettable Heliski destination.
If you look for a very special Heliski experience in 2019, we are sure Heliski Svanetia will be your destination.
We are really looking forward to share with you some of the best skiing and an unforgettable time in beautiful Svanetia,
Yours Flory and the Heliski Guideteam
Some good reasons why to heliski with us in Svanetia:
- Only 4 flight hours away from central Europe
- One of the largest Heliski Spots
- Highest safety standards
- Austrian helicopter and experienced pilots from the Alps
- Best skiing terrain reachable within a very short helicopter flight time
- Powder skiing on the highest peaks of Europe
- Very high snow guarantee
- Small, exclusive groups with 1 guide for 4 guests with a maximum of 12 clients and 3 guides per week
- 2 ski resorts that offer great skiing on non-flying days.
- A mountain guide team with massive experience in heliskiing.
- Landscape and culture of Svanetia is just unique
Information about the country
Svanetia is the most northern province of Georgia. It sets the boarderline in the central Caucasus to Russia towards the north and Avkhasia to the west. Already more than 3000 years ago people started to settle in this green and fruitful oasis in the heart of the Caucasus. The Svan people are very proud about their land and in many wars they had to defend themselves with no help from outside. Today we can still see more than 200 living towers, where they sheltered their families in various conflicts. The landscape is dominated by beautiful mountain villages in spectacular settings as well as the very thick glacier mountain range of the central Caucasus with the looming peaks of Ushba, Tetnuldi and Jangi Tau rising above the valley grounds. No wonder Svanetia has been anounced as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today the population of the 5000 square kilometer sized republic is roughly 5.000 inhabitants. Most of them are self-supportive, with small and very simple agricultures. Tourism in Svanetia is still in the very first steps, even though 7 years ago an investment program called “Svanetia revival” with governmental support has been set up. So far, the money has been invested into a new road of 120 kilometer length, reaching Mestia, the capital of Svanetia. The existing airport of Mestia has been completely renewed, the inner town has been renovated and two ski areas with brand new facilities have been installed nearby.
How a Heliskiweek / Heliboardweek in Svanetia will run for you
During our Heliski season in Svanetia, every Saturday there will be a flight from various cities in central Europe with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul to the Black Sea recreation town of Batumi / Georgia, total flight time is approx. 4 hours. From Batumi our shuttle service takes you in roughly 5-6 hours up to Mestia, the distance is 250 km. The ride will take you along the beautiful Black Sea coast to Zugdidi, from there you will enter the foothills of the Caucasus range and then following the Ingury River until you reach Mestia. With a nice welcome drink and snack at our Hotel Mountain Mestia we will prepare you for the week and give you all information about our daily program. Further, we will introduce you with all our safety standards and regulations. The next 6 days will be yours skiing and exploring some of the finest Heliski terrain in the highest mountain range of Europe. Like with all our Heliski trips, the focus will be on your experience and quality of your skiing rather than the sheer number of vertical meters. Our target is to show you as many different runs as possible and get to know Svanetia and its great people. Very often after a great day of skiing we ski down into one of the unique villages, where locals will welcome us to their tradition, that could be tasty bread and cheese followed by some strong Chacha, a Georgian type of Grappa.
After 6 unforgettable days of skiing the time will come to say good bye. Our shuttle bus will bring you back to Batumi, where you can relax for some days and enjoy the great climate with the first signs of spring or you fly back home to central Europe directly.
Our base will be in Mestia, the capital of Svanetia, with its roughly 2000 inhabitants living at an altitude of 1300 meters. The very picturesque towncenter has a few shops, a bank and everything that is needed for daily life. Sure, things move a little bit slower here, traffic on the main road is not very frequent. The number of bars and restaurants is rather limited. Still after a great day of skiing we can enjoy a nice cup of coffee on the plaza of the town. Further, there is a lot to discover in Mestia, like a very nice mountain museum, also a visit of one of the towers is a must. From our hotel most of the attractions are reachable by foot in less than 10 minutes.
Your Guide Team for the season 2019
Flory 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 1998. Sure it can be said that Flory did a lot of pioneering work when it comes to heliskiing, so he was the first taking European clients to Kamchatka, to the Khamar Davan Montains at Lake Baikal or to the remote himalayan valley of Pahalgam and in 2008 to Svanetia. Flory is always in search of new and interesting places to ski and to provide his clients very unique destinations with some of the finest skiing.
Remo is right from the heart of central Switzerland, from Engelberg. Funny enough, we are ski buddies already since 30 years. Remo is not only a very good skier and winter guide, he also works as a full time professional mountain guide in the summer and takes his clients through challenging alpine routes all over the Alps. Remo is also a good entertainer, especially when he pulls out an old guitar to play some great blues songs.
Matthias 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.
Raphael´s father and grandfather have been mountain guides and therefore it was clear to him pretty early that he will be a mountain guide himself. With 23 years he was alread a UIAGM-mountain guide and can look back at a lot of experience already despite his rather young age. He was working as a Heliskiguide in Canada for 3 years and is an excellent skier. Besides his highly professional skills we really like his open and humorous character and we are happy to have him in our team.
For more than 15 years Andi travels to the most remote ski areas 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.
Luca lives in Courmayeur. If he is not busy with skiing some of the steep lines all around Mt. Blanc, he often works with us at our Heliski bases in Georgia or Italy. His professionalism and experience make him a very valuable member of our mountain guide team.
Sam is from Zermatt in Switzerland and is one of the currently best freeriders. If you watch him skiing the steepest slopes you will lose your breath. Sam also is an UIAGM approved mountain guide and great alpinist and we are very happy that he would like to join us to Svanetia in 2019 again.
Quality and safety
Quality 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 our heliski destination in Svanetia we are far away from any rescue service, therefore we have developed our own rescue strategy. Our groups consist of a max. of 4 clients plus 1 guide. In our weeks we usually ski in 3 teams with the ratio 4 pax. 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
The runs and the terrain in Svanetia are very rich in variety. We ski from high alpine glacier peaks down to gladed open forests. Our landing spots vary between 2600 meters and 4100 meters, depending on snow and weather conditions. If the conditions are with us runs of more than 1800 vertical meters can be part of our daily skiing program. We know runs of various steepnesses. If the conditions are very safe we can draw our first lines into steep terrain, on the other hand we also have plenty of terrain up to 30°. In general 95% of the Heliskiing in Svanetia takes place above the tree line and we can only offer safe and reasonable skiing when there is enough visibility.
In Svanetia we use a helicopter of the type B3 plus AS 350, Eurocopter. This helicopter is worldwide the most used one for heliski operations. A very strong engine will make sure that we will reach landings above 4000 meters in just a few flight minutes. This helicopter offers enough seats for 4 clients plus 1 guide per flight. In 2019 we will place the helicopter again directly in front of our hotel. This is not just comfortable, it also safes quite some time in the morning.
Our pilot team is from Switzerland and Italy. Davide and Marco are highly professional pilots with extensive experience in flying. Both of them have proved their incredible flying skills over the last 6 seasons in Svanetia. We are really looking forward to see them again in Mestia and to work with them during the winter 2019.
Bernie Stessl is our mechanic on spot and he is responsible for the maintenance of the helicopter. He will check the machine day by day.
In order to be able to enjoy a heliski adventure in Svanetia to the fullest, you should have a very good skiing technique in every terrain and snow. Good physical condition and endurance for up to 10,000 vertical meters of skiing per day are required. Heliskiing in Svanetia is reserved for the advanced freeride skiers and snowboarders, not just because of the very long runs in altitudes up to 4000 meters. 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 not able to participate or will be flown back to the base during the day.
Material and skis
Freeride 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 charge. 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 Svanetia
Surely we also like to ski in best powder, preferably all the time. But to get good powder we also need regular dumps of fresh snow. Like in most places where Heliskiing is done, bad weather days can also be part of your trip. On average we find 2 – 3 days of snowfall within 7 days. Heliskiing highly depends on weather, snow and avalanche conditions. The situation in the mountains is characterized by forces of nature, which we mostly have no influence on. Therefore this sport is not always perfect and you should prepare for this accordingly. Heliskiing in Svanetia is skiing in high mountain regions which are not controllable. Nobody can say what you will experience 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 with your expectations.
Bad weatherdays / downdays
Like in all other Heliski destinations on earth, in Svanetia there will be also days with strong snowfall and poor visibility, where safe flying with a helicopter is not guaranteed anymore. For sure on those days our helicopter will stay on ground. Your advantage of Svanetia will come up then: just 30 minutes away from Mestia we can ski in the newly built ski area of Tetnuldi Resort. 4 brand new chair lifts will bring us to an altitude of 3100 Meters and give us access to great skiing terrain all the way down into the tree zone.
In the past we have used the Hotel Tetnuldi as our base, but for this winter there will be a construction site in the yard of the hotel and for us it will be not very pleasant to stay there. Therefore we have decided to use the newly built Hotel Mountain Mestia as our base. It is a family owned and run place with 20 very nice and bright rooms with bath and WC. In the first story of the building there is a nice spacy dining hall as well as a bar. We have also tasted the delicious food they serve and we are totally convinced by the cleanness of all facilities. Our helicopter will be right outside the hotel. The center of Mestia can be reached by foot in about 5 minutes.
Vertical meters / helitime
We 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 target to offer you the best possible riding within our package. 14 hours of flying time are included per week with a number of 12 clients, flying in 3 rotations. This comes up to roughly 35.000 to 40.000 vertical skiing or riding meters.
If we exceed the 14 hours per week, sure we can continue to ride 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 semi private package we are able to guarantee 9 heli hours per week, that means if we fly less than 9 hours due to bad weather, 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
We are very proud to offer you a great skiing experience in a spectacular landscape. We are not the type of company that is keen to run huge number of clients per week, for that Svanetia is too unique and unspoiled. Therefore we only offer semi private weeks with a maximum of 12 clients per week, skiing in 3 groups. Each group of 4 skiers will be lead by one of our guides, who knows the terrain very well. This will keep our operation nice and small and make your stay more comfortable. We are sure you will appreciate this fact.
Prices and costs in Svanetia/Georgia
Most items like food and things for daily life are relatively reasonably priced in Svanetia/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.
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 6800 Euro the following is included
- 7 overnights at Hotel Mountain Mestia with half board (rich breakfast, packed lunch and delicious dinner)
- 7 days accompaniment by UIAGM guides of our Heli Guiding Team
- 6 skiing days guided by UIAGM guides of our Heli Guiding Team
- 14 hours of helicopter flight time, or approx. 35.000 vertical meters (9 hours of flight time are guaranteed)
- Packed lunch on heliski days
- Liftpass on downdays
- 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 with a local attendant
Not included in the package is
- Airfare from home port to Batumi (starts at 450 Euro)
- Activities besides our program
- Alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks in the restaurant and bar
- Additional helicopter flight hours at 2300 Euro per hour, divided by the number of guests flying (usually 12 people)
- Single room supplement 50 Euro per night
- 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 6 months after travel is sufficient.
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 Svanetia
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.