Turkish skiing is finally attracting the attention it deserves. With its high mountains and climate Turkey offers excellent skiing between November and May.
The high mountains of Turkey have made the country an important center for winter sports and tourism.
According to experts like Dr. Okan Gültekin, Turkey Ski Federation (TKF) board member, skiing has never been bigger in Turkey. Once considered a sport too expensive for all but the rich, events like the winter Universiade — an international sporting and cultural festival which is staged every two years in a different city under the supervision of the International University Sports Federation (FISU) — held in Erzurum in 2011 have popularised the sport on a grand scale.
“People who used to come to ski resorts only to barbecue are now enjoying the skiing facilities there. The fact that people can get skiing gear everywhere at reasonable prices has contributed greatly to the increasing interest in winter sports. More and more children have started to take up skiing after new ski resorts were opened in the Black Sea and Eastern Anatolia regions.”
According to Gültekin snowboarding and alpine skiing are most popular in Turkey, but new sports like ski jumping, shooting and even heli skiing are emerging to growing popularity. Heli skiing allows advanced skiers to ski in areas only accessible by helicopter. Heliskiing is offered in Turkey by Turkey heliski, which drops off small groups at 3000 feet to enjoy the powdery windswept snow with experienced guides on a weekly basis from its base in Ayder, a small mountain village nestled in a narrow valley in the Kaçkar massif at some two hours by car from Trabzon.
Winter tourism is growing hand in hand with the growth of winter sports, and tourism has contributed greatly to the future growth of winter sports in Turkey, with many new facilities being opened, including ski schools and resorts.
For many years Turkey had only one notable ski resort at Uludag, but many ski centres built in the last few years, including Palandöken, Kartalkaya, Erciyes and Ilgaz, are now drawing tourists from home and abroad. There are now 24 ski facilities in Turkey according to a new report by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, including Akdağ Ski Center in Samsun, the Kartepe Ski Center in İzmit, the Yolçatı Ski Center in Bingöl and the Erendağı Ski Center in Antalya.