Palandöken ski resort, 7 km (4.5 miles) south of the center of Erzurum in eastern Turkey (map), is among Turkey’s most dramatic and challenging ski areas.
Because of its high altitude, cold temperatures and dry atmosphere, TTP user Mitch Weisburgh (to whom I owe thanks for most of this information) has describedPalandöken‘s snow as resembling “Colorado powder”—in other words, light, fine and wonderful for skiing.
Three chair lifts 3-km (2-mi) gondola and one T-bar serve the 18 trails on the bald, treeless 890-hectare (2200-acre) resort expanse around the 3185-meter (10,450-foot) summit. The trails are useful, but in fact you can go off-piste as much as you like—no forests to get in the way of your travel or the view. Also, the ski season is an impressive150 days per year, on average.
City bus G6 trundles the route from Erzurum to the ski center every 30 minutes.
The two prominent luxury hotels, the 224-room Renaissance Polat Erzurum Hoteland the 54-room Dedeman Palandöken Ski Lodge Otel, each has its own lifts to the slopes, and there is a gondola as well. The lifts are relatively slow and short.
However, as there is no snowmakingcapability yet, the slopes depend on natural snow for cover, and very little trail grooming. In a dry period, there’s no skiing.
The gondola and Dedeman lifts provide access to the main mountain. On days of high wind (which may be frequent), the gondola and upper Dedeman lifts may not be able to operate.
Some of the trails and terrain can be rockyand dotted with hazards, particularly if the snow base is not deep. Most of the trails would be classified as lower intermediate in Colorado, but the mountain scenery is beautiful. Usually, there are no lines/queues to use the lifts: you just take your seat.
Equipment rentals are available through the hotels, and the staff are friendly and accommodating, but you may have to pay in cash.
Here are tips for skiing Palandöken:
1. Determine ski and snow conditions in advance, if possible. Make sure there’s snow!
2. Make airplane and hotel reservations in advance. The flights and hotels are often fully booked.
3. Prepare for the cold. The mountain is high, the winds can be strong, the wind-chill dangerous.
4. Expect a different skiing experience, unlike what you’re used to at home. The hotels are good, the people are friendly, but the skiing facilities are in the early stages of development.
Also consider the newer Konaklı Kayak Merkezi (Konaklı Ski Center) 18 km southwest of Erzurum, on the other side of the mountain. More…
For reservations, contact one of TTP’s recommended travel agencies.