A beginner’s guide to skiing in Georgia, including a quick look at the country’s four established ski resorts and their offerings.
About the author: Originally from the UK, Rebecca Blackmore has lived in Georgia with her partner since September 2020. She loves pub quizzes, superhero movies, and documenting her travels through photography and writing.
Georgia might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of a ski getaway, but this diverse little country has a number of resorts to rival even the best-known slopes in Europe.
Whilst most of Georgia’s ski resorts are still developing, the upside is that prices are a fraction of what you would pay in most other countries.
Here is a quick comparison of the four established ski resorts in Georgia, all with ski lifts and groomed pistes.
Also read: The best places to visit in Georgia in winter.
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Gudauri Ski Resort: Best overall choice for skiing near Tbilisi
Nestled on the south face of the Greater Caucasus at an elevation of 2,200m, Gudauri is the largest and most developed ski resort in Georgia.
Established in the 1980s, Gudauri is a popular resort town, well served by hotels and restaurants. The ski season runs from mid-December to April.
The resort has 22 ski routes covering a total of 70km, plus off-piste areas that are suitable for experienced skiers. There are 15 ski lifts, including open chairlifts and enclosed gondolas. Helicopters have almost complete access to the mountains, providing incredible opportunities for heliskiing.
- Pros: Easy to reach from Tbilisi; great range of skiing for all levels; professional ski schools.
- Cons: Nothing else to do in the area; high prices.
Ski lessons & equipment rental at Gudauri
Skis and all gear plus ski clothes (jackets, pants, gloves and goggles) are all available for hire in Gudauri. Carpe Diem Hotel offers equipment rental in the centre of Gudauri and has a well-equipped store. Aviator Ski Rental also comes highly recommended.
Vagabond Adventures is Gudauri’s premier ski school. English-speaking instructors offer private lessons for all levels, from beginner to freestyle. Group lessons for children are also available.
The Alpine Project runs private and group courses in skiing, snowboarding and climbing. All of their instructors are from the local area and are qualified mountain guides. They emphasise working in harmony with the natural environment and supporting the local economy.
Where to stay in Gudauri
Luxury: Gudauri Lodge.
With an indoor pool, massage room, and outdoor hot tub, Gudauri Lodge provides a luxury resort experience. The property also has a gym, sauna, and onsite restaurant and bar. → Check prices here on Booking.com.
Budget: Gudauri Dacha.
Designed for serious riders looking for a good time, Gudauri Dacha offers simple lodgings for around $25 a night. Linens, WiFi, a Georgian breakfast and dinner are included.
In addition to hotels and resorts, there are hundreds of apartments and private cabins available to rent in Gudauri and New Gudauri (closer to the gondolas). With several supermarkets in town for self catering, self-contained accommodation can be a great budget-friendly option. → Browse Gudauri apartments here on Booking.com.
How to get to Gudauri
Reached via the stunning Georgian Military Highway towards the Russian border, Gudauri is less than two hours’ drive from Tbilisi. From Gudauri you can easily continue on to Stepantsminda (Kazbegi) to marvel at the spectacular Mt Kazbek and the famous Gergeti Trinity Church.
The most comfortable (and safest) way to travel to Gudauri is with a private transfer booked through GoTrip. Prices start from 150 GEL per car, and you can make as many photo stops along the way as you like. → Find a GoTrip driver here.
It’s possible to hire a car and self-drive, but the mountain roads can be tricky, especially in winter. Only choose this option if you’re a confident driver, and be sure to double-check conditions by calling the roads department before you set off. → Check car rental prices on Local Rent.
Marshrukta minibuses leave for Gudauri from Didube Station in Tbilisi. A one-way trip takes around 2-2.5 hours and costs 13 GEL. Many vans continue to Kazbegi/Stepantsminda, so be sure to tell the driver you want to get off in Gudauri.
See here for a detailed transport guide and more options.
Bakuriani Ski Resort: Best choice for beginners & families
Georgia’s second-most popular resort is Bakuriani, located south-west of Tbilisi in Samtskhe-Javakheti region. Less developed than Gudauri, Bakuriani has been a ski resort since the 1930s and was used as a training camp for Olympic skiers during the Soviet era.
Recently expanded after hosting stages of the Ski Cross and Snowboarding World Cup, there are five ski tracks divided into 23 ski pistes with a total length of 29km serviced by eight lifts and one funicular. Night skiing, where the slopes are illuminated, is possible in the Didveli area every night from 5pm until 8pm.
Bakuriani is particularly suitable for families as there is a newly refurbished cinema, an ice rink (skate rental 5GEL for 30 mins), and a toboggan ride. There is a designated area for children or beginners called ‘Twenty Fives’.
Bakuriani’s proximity to other popular destinations including Borjomi (where you’ll find hot springs), Vardzia cave city and Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park means you can easily combine winter activities with sightseeing.
- Pros: Suitable for beginner skiers & families; lots of other activities nearby; good budget-friendly accommodation options.
- Cons: Very popular (Bakuriani does get overcrowded).
Lessons & equipment rental at Bakuriani
There are a number of ski schools in Bakuriani. Bakuriani Ski Academy is well-reviewed and also offers equipment rental.
Where to stay in Bakuriani
Luxury: Rooms Hotel Kokhta.
Part of the prestigious Georgian brand that also has boutique hotels in Tbilisi and Kazbegi, Rooms Kokhta is a 95 room ski-in, ski-out luxury hotel with a beautiful design. → Check prices here on Booking.com.
Budget: Orbi Palace.
A newly built, well-appointed hotel featuring an onsite restaurant and spa located 500m from the slopes. → Check prices here on Booking.com.
How to get to Bakuriani
Minibuses leave for Bakuriani from Tbilisi’s Didube station approximately every hour. A one-way trip takes 2.5-3 hours and costs around 12 GEL.
If you want to make the most of your journey, I recommend travelling to Borjomi then taking the scenic Soviet-era steam train the rest of the way to Bakuriani. The Kukushka train (‘cuckoo’ in Russian, named for the sound it makes) runs twice a day and takes around 2.5 hours. You can read more about taking the train here.
Please note: At the time of writing, the Kukushka train is currently not running.
Hatsvali Ski Resort: Best choice for culture
The smallest ski resort in Georgia is located in the north-western Svaneti region, 8km outside of the historic settlement of Mestia. A visit to Mestia is a must when visiting Georgia, so why not combine it with a ski trip?
There are five runs in Hatsvali, covering a distance of 10km with a designated 300m run for beginners. Experienced skiers will enjoy exploring the varied and challenging freeride area. The resort is connected to Mestia via ski lift, and there are three lifts in total covering the slopes.
Please note: At the time of writing, the upper Hatsvali ski lift is currently closed for maintenance.
Tetnuldi ski resort is also close by, around 15km from Hatsvali, and is ideal for free riders.
Whilst in Mestia, make sure to visit the Ethnographic Museum and if you have time, take a day trip to Ushguli, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the highest continuously inhabited settlements in Europe.
- Pros: Dramatic mountain scenery; Svan culture & cuisine; plenty of accommodations & restaurants in Mestia.
- Cons: Further from Tbilisi.
Lessons & equipment rental in Mestia
Svaneti Spirit is located in Mestia centre and offers lessons and equipment rental.
Where to stay in Mestia
Luxury: Bude Mestia Cottages.
There aren’t a lot of luxury options in Mestia, but if you’re looking for something a little bit special, consider staying in one of these huts. The cabins are located a little way from the centre but transport can be arranged at the time of booking. → Check prices here on Booking.com.
Budget: Family Hotel Kala.
There are a plethora of affordable, comfortable lodgings in Mestia. I stayed in Family Hotel Kala and loved it. Our hosts met us at the airport, our room had an amazing mountain view and the breakfast, in true Georgian style, was tasty and far too generous! A double room costs around $30 a night including breakfast and airport pickup. → Check prices here on Booking.com.
How to get to Mestia
The fastest and most picturesque way to get to Mestia is by taking a short flight with Vanilla Sky. Flights to Mestia run three times a week and a one-way ticket costs around 75 GEL. Flights are weather-dependent so this option is best suited if you have some flexibility. The flight takes about an hour and was one of the best experiences I have had in Georgia, so I urge you to try it if you can.
The journey from Tbilisi to Mestia by road takes a minimum of 7-8 hours. It’s not advisable to do this trip by marshrutka. If you have time, it’s a good idea to break up the journey with a night in Kutaisi or Martvili. A transfer from Kutaisi to Mestia starts from 300 GEL when booked through GoTrip.
If you prefer to travel with public transport, the most comfortable option is to take the train from Tbilisi to Zugdidi and then complete the journey with a three-hour minibus ride.
Goderdzi Ski Resort: Best choice for escaping the crowds
A small resort in the mountains of Upper Adjara east of Batumi, Goderdzi is new and underdeveloped but has some of the best snow in the country. It has been referred to as the ‘Japan of Georgia’ because of the amount and quality of the snow.
Due to its location, Goderdzi has the longest season of the ski resorts in Georgia, running from early December until the end of April. There are four pistes, 8km of tracks served by four lifts. Cat-skiing is popular at this resort and there are numerous tour operators that offer this option.
- Pros: Excellent skiing; beautiful scenery; far fewer people.
- Cons: Remote location (more difficult to get to); fewer accommodations & services.
Lessons & equipment rental at Goderdzi
There are no established ski schools in Goderdzi and rental options are limited. The best option would be to rent your equipment in Tbilisi or Batumi, or to try and arrange this through your hotel or guesthouse.
Where to stay in Goderdzi
Luxury: Hotel Ambassadori.
The only hotel in Goderdzi, the Ambassadori is a luxury property with an onsite restaurant and spa. It even has its own outdoor ice rink! The hotel can arrange lessons and equipment rental. → Check prices here on Booking.com.
Budget: Guest House Luka.
Located in Danisparauli village, Guest House Luka is well-reviewed. A double room costs around $60. → Check prices here on Booking.com.
There are cottages available to rent within the ski resort, but online information is limited. Descriptions and contact info are available here.
How to get to Goderdzi
Goderdzi is a four-hour drive from Batumi but requires a 4×4 vehicle as parts of the road are unpaved. Direct buses are not available in winter, so if you wish to use public transport, you will need to take a bus to Danisparauli village and complete the journey by taxi or take the bus to Khulo and make use of the free shuttle service to Goderdzi.
Alternatively, Mta Goderdzi Tour offers transfer and accommodation packages from Batumi.
See here for instructions on how to travel from Tbilisi to Batumi by train or bus.
Skiing in Georgia FAQ
When is the Georgia ski season?
Georgia’s ski season typically runs from the end of December until the end of April. Opening dates for the slopes vary from year to year depending on the weather and snowfall. Some resorts open earlier than others, for example skiing in Goderdzi is usually available a few weeks before Gudauri and Bakuriani.
There is a live cam in Gudauri that you can use to check the snowfall.
How much does it cost to go skiing in Georgia?
Day passes for all the above-mentioned resorts average 40-50 GEL for an adult or 25 GEL for a child.
Multiski Card season passes are available for all the resorts, and start from just 600 GEL for winter (start of the season until mid March) or 300 GEL for spring (mid March until April).
Where to rent or buy ski gear and clothes in Tbilisi?
Most resorts give you the option to rent equipment and clothing onsite. If you prefer to buy ski clothes, there are a couple of recommended retailers in Tbilisi.
Hypermarket Xtreme is the best place to buy professional equipment and ski clothing sets. Shops around Dinamo Station – including Snowy Mountains at 11 Tsereteli Avenue – sell new ski clothes and accessories at a discounted price.
If you’re looking for an alternative skiing destination in Europe, why not give Georgia a try? What is your favourite place to go skiing in Georgia?
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