Possessing sufficient natural conditions to compete with the world in the arena of winter tourism,Turey is very active during the winter months. Filled with foreign and domestic visitors, ski centers have become even more popular through new investments.
“My homeland is in the mountains” says author Sabahattin Ali. It is like a sentence stated by Turkey itself, because it snows for more than six months in over 20 cities in our country, most of which are covered with mountains. The joy of snow is utterly different. Its tranquility, the blaze it spreads, the sound it makes when someone walks on it, a snow flake on the tip of your nose… All of these represent the poetic side of it. Yet it has an entertaining side too: Skiing! There are many other sports rather than just skiing that can be played in regions that get snow for many months. Snowboarding, tobogganing, tubing, ice skating, snowmobiling, etc. People compete with each other, olympics are organized and they bring countries closer with these various activities.
New Investments Increase demands
Turkey turns its abundance of highlands into an advantage. Turkey has a great potential with its activities related to tourism, its climate and its geographical structure. Thousands of foreign and domestic visitors travel to ski centers in every corner of the country. Particularly Russian and European tourists tend to prefer Turkey in terms of its winter tourism. Eastern Anatolia is being converted into one of the world’s winter tourism centers with new investments and projects. The Black Sea Region, having a very significant potential for winter tourism, is also aimed to attract tourists all year round.
There are approximately 20 ski resorts in Turkey. These include: Davraz (Isparta), Erciyes (Kayseri), Palandöken (Erzurum), Süphan, Cıbıltepe Balıkdağ and Çamurludağ at Sarıkamış (Kars), Uludağ (Bursa), Ilgaz (Kastamonu), Köroğlu Dağı (Bolu), Hasandağı (Aksaray), Zigana (Gümüşhane), Alanya Akdağ (Antalya), Kop Dağı (Bayburt), Ladik Akdağ (Samsun), Ilgaz Kadınçayırı Yıldıztepe (Çankırı), Çakırgöl (Gümüşhane), Kartepe (Kocaeli), Alanya Akseki (Antalya), Sapgör (Bitlis), Ergan (Erzincan), Tarsus Gülek Karboğazı (Mersin) and Fethiye Seki-Eren (Muğla).
Ski centers can be visited for a day or longer. In every ski center, there are private hotels or some public rest stops. The slopes and lifts in these ski centers are managed by the hotels. Every hotel has its own ski slope, therefore arrangements and payments must be made to the hotel.
Important ski centers
Uludağ is located 36 kilometers south of Bursa’s city center. It has proper conditions for Alpine and Northern skiing as well as ski touring and skiing with helicopters. Apart from skiing, there are also other activities offered in these facilities, such as snowboarding, big foot, ice skating and snowmobiling. The best period for skiing is the time between December 20 and March 20.
Kartalkaya is in the Köroğlu National Park and is 180 kilometers away from Ankara, and 50 kilometers away from Bolu. Skiing season is from December 15 to March 31. It has 9 platter lifts and 2 chairlifts, as well as appropriate conditions for Alpine skiing, cross country, ski touring.
Being one of the ski centers preferred mostly by foreign tourists, Palandöken is located in the south of Erzurum. The period between December 10 and May 10 is the most appropriate time for skiing there. You can reach to the summit of Palandöken, also known as Büyükejder, from two different ways, one of which is the ski center and the other is Başköy, located on the south slope of the mountain. There is a cafeteria waiting for you at the summit.
Davraz is 26 kilometers away from Isparta. The skiing season is between the months of December and April in this ski center that has a continental climate. An investment of 10 million liras has been invested in the region.
Saklıkent is 50 kilometers from Antalya and located on the Bey Mountains of the Mediterranean Region. Its skiing season lasts two or three months, depending on the amount of snowfall.
Ilgaz is in the Ilgaz National Park, located on the Ilgaz Mountain Chain with its summit of 2 thousand 850 meters, right on the city borders of Kastamonu and Çankırı. Its skiing season continue through April.
Sarıkamış is in the southeast of Kars and has an altitude of 2 thousand 634 meters. The best period for skiing is between December 20 and March 20. Sarıkamış and the surrounding area have quite good conditions for alpine skiing, northern skiing and ski touring activities.
Erciyes is located 25 kilometers south of Kayseri. The high regions of the mountain, being an extinct volcano, is covered with snow throughout the year. The best period for skiing is between November 20 and April 20.
Zigana Winter Sports Tourism Center is close to the highway that connects the Black Sea Region with the Eastern Anatolia Region, and 3 kilometers away from Turkey’s longest tunnel (Zigana Tunnel,1850 meters). It is 40 kilometers from the city center of Gümüşhane and 55 kilometers from the airport of Trabzon. The best time to ski here is between December and April. One of the newer ski centers, Kartepe is in Maşukiye, which borders the county of Kocaeli. The trip to its summit in which you travel alongside huge trees on either side of the road is 17 kilometers long. It overlooks the Sapanca Lake and Izmit Bay from the top. Kartepe Ski Resort, covering an area of 3 million 500 thousand square meters, has some of the largest slopes in Turkey. The areas of Kartepe, Geyikalanı and Kürekdağı are used for skiing only.
Towards the Winter Universiade
The 25th World Inter-university Winter Games will take place in 2011 in Erzurum. 350 million US dollars will be invested in the Palandöken Winter Sports Center.
Artificial Snow System in Kartepe
Considering the possibility of insufficient snowfall in Kartepe, artificial snow systems have been set up. Now you can ski even if there is no snowfall.
Don’t miss your chance to eat soujouk sandwiches in Erciyes and handmade ‘mantı’ in Kayseri. In Sarıkamış, you must try ‘Velibağı,’ which is a kind of flatbread made from potato dough.
IN THE MIDST OF NATURE
You can submit yourself to nature from the wildlife at the many winter sports centers across Turkey, down to the hotel decorations.