Photos: Ahmet Bilal Arslan
Heli skiing has been practiced in Canada, the Himalayas, the Caucasus, and Alaska for years. In 2005, it started being practiced in Ayder and İkizdere in the Eastern Black Sea region in Turkey.
Some skiers go in pursuit of pristine slopes untouched by the marks of others. This objective naturally directs skiers toward slopes and hills that do not have installed mountain access vehicles such as cable cars and ski lifts. Heli skiing was developed precisely for these slopes; it is a sport that was born with the integration of the helicopter into the sport of skiing. Expert pilots who are able to fly helicopters in rough mountain conditions and land in locations not every pilot would have the courage to do so drop the athletes off at predetermined natural ski slopes. Later, the skiers are picked up from the end of the slope and carried either to the top of another slope on which they will ski or the hotel where they are staying.
Heli Skiing in the Eastern Black Sea
Heli skiing has been practiced in Canada, the Himalayas, the Caucasus, and Alaska for years. In 2005, it started being practiced in Ayder and İkizdere in the Eastern Black Sea province of Rize in Turkey. Therefore, the natural beauty of the Kaçkar Mountains known by all is welcoming those who enjoy heli skiing as well.
Small towns built amid peerless natural beauty, Uzungöl, Ayder, and İkizdere has for years been accommodating local and international tourists seeking a different type of holiday and the touristic and the never-before-done touristic and athletic activities they do, both in summer and in winter—while sleigh-riders from all over the world may prefer to visit in the snow of winter, in the summer local and international visitors who wish to see the admirable natural beauty rent helicopters and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the peerless natural environment.
In such activities, to ensure that skiers ski in a safe fashion, all kinds of preparations and measures are taken into account while planning, including highly experienced pilots on heli ski flights, ski guides who know the area well, helicopters with high standards of performance and technical qualities, and geolocation devices to use in emergencies. Avoiding harm to the environment when practicing such activities is one of the most important principles. As the ski slopes and flight zones are being determined, care is taken to be in full harmony with the report by the local Karadeniz Technical University on preserving natural life in the area. Efforts run in cooperation with the Ministry of Forestry and Water Works for developing wildlife and preserving national parks, nature parks, and fauna habitats are supported via airborne discovery missions.
To put it shortly, the Kaçkar Mountains have much to offer to fans of this special kind of skiing.