On the beautiful photogenic peaks of the Turkish Black Sea, at Kackar Mountains or Ayder, heliskiing has been a great alternative activity for more than 10 years now.
The idea is simple. The helicopter takes the skiers up to the peak like taxi and till the evening, you will be able to explore some different valleys and beautiful ski runs are mostly untouched especially considering it snows each night and the next morning, you have a brand-new run.
The area offering over 1700 m2 of skiable terrain, most of it is open terrain and some locations in the forest, it has hosted more than 3000 ski lovers from all around the world.
This new trendy luxury sport, becoming famous each year, is basically organized at The Caucasus, The Himalayas, Canada, New Zealand, and Turkey. In between all these options, Kackar Mountains in the Black Sea still remain as the best place for heliskiing welcoming guests mostly from Russia, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Austria UK, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and USA.
The highest peaks usually start getting snow by late August already offering beautiful views of green and white. With the heavy snow by December, Kackar Mountains are ready for skiing and mostly done between January to April.
While some acclaims that it threatens wildlife, it is not as risky as an illegal hunter. Within the gates and along the run, no one came across with the wildlife so far. On the other hand, it helps to prevent illegal hunting in the area. As the ski run is starting far away from the forest, it does not affect the trees, too.
Known as one of the most elite and expensive sports and unlike it seems an easy arrangement, heliskiing requires a serious security and permission process. Travel agencies and organizers need to get permits from all authorities and one final confirmation by the civil aviation for the flight route. Pilots who are going to take a role at the events, need to pass a special training and skiers also get the training of first aid for winter conditions. Skiers are fully equipped with radios, satellite phones, GPRS, airbags in case of an avalanche and maps of the region.
Anyone used to plentiful snow and has the technical knowledge and experience can do heliskiing.
It is restricted to go on skiing with licensed and experienced guides in the mountains.
As the kayaks for heliski activity are slightly larger than regular kayaks, it is best to practice this in advance before the adventure.
Self-confidence is not the only thing you need. You need to use the right equipment and make sure the safety precautions. Teams need to carry ABS backpack, avalanche detector, and shovel.
It is important to get the education of avalanche and security.
Finally, don’t forget to study the ski run before arrival and make sure you are skiing at your own level.
After a lovely breakfast by the fireplace, enjoy the briefing organized by your guides. As soon as you leave the door of the facility, you will be breathing the fresh air of the mountains. You will get on the helicopter in groups of 4 or 5 persons. Enjoying the picturesque views of the Kackar Mountains, you will arrive at the ski run and complete the quick security check. The rest will be the beautiful moments you will enjoy with the team.
By lunchtime, you will be enjoying the lunch box over 3700 meters with the perfect views. After the lunch break, the helicopter will take you to another valley and enjoy more skiing there. Before the evening, the helicopter will take you back to the hotel.
Enjoying traditional meals at the hotel, you can relax using the spa facilities of sauna, jacuzzi and some massage. Meet other skiers from all around the world and share your photos, videos, and experiences with them chatting by the fireplace.
The prices are starting at 700 Euros per person/day and for a weekly package, the cost would be around 10,000 Euros per person. Depending on the package you would like to book, it includes many services and for such a luxury sport, it remains pretty reasonable compared to other destinations.