Sunday, March 10, 2013

Great skiing in Gudauri under the warm caucasian sun

Certainly quite excited about the new snow that welcomed our arrival in Gudauri, we head straight back to the resort to see what more is has to offer.
 
A blue sky with almost no wind wasn’t anything to calm us down!!!

With most of the right-in-front-of-you terrain that have been ridden on the last day, we had to use a bit more imagination to get to some fresh snow.

One of the option we chose was to hike towards the higher chairlift that goes to the top of Mt. Sadzele. Since it hasn’t run for at least 3 days, we were pretty sure that we would find some good snow. We put our skin and did the short climb up to the top of a nice 400-500m untouched run. Babiche went first and we quickly found out that there was a thick windcrust that was on and off…
 
Damn! 

We thought we heard some wind the past night but we never thought that it would have create such a crust.

We change aspect by dropping on the slackcountry on the north side of the chair that goes all the way to the top of Mt. Kudebi. There we found better snow but the windcrust was still present. We did a few laps there and finally got hope that we would find some good snow if we find some that has been nicely protected.
 
To end this overall great day of skiing, we did the short hike up Mt. Chrdili. From there, we can drop back to the resort. There we find some great snow on which we carved some long turns.
 
At nighttime, we catch up with some French guy at the grocery store that told us about a great run that we were able to do. 


We had to start down in Kvemo Mleta,  next to the church right after the bridge there was a 900-1000m vertical run to do. At the top of the hike, there is a monastery where some friendly monks lived!

We had our plan for the day!

Guess what is the more important in Georgia: fruits or booze?! (Here the full display of fruits and vegetable at the grocery and a third of the one of alcohol!)
We catch a taxi and head down. At the church, there was an apprentice monk who told us about were the trail is usually.

We found without much trouble even if we had to share at some point with some cows! That was the first time I had to watch out not to step into some cow drops while skinning. 
The skin up was quite straight forward as a bunch of people has climbed up in the past days. As mentioned by our French friends, we found some really friendly monks up there. There was three of them of were permanently living up there.

 
They welcomed us inside of their cabin. Two of them were mostly speaking Georgian with a bit of German and Russian! One of them was speaking a quite broken English. While mixing all the words we knew from all the languages we all knew, we were able to understand each other and share a good time.
 
  
They offered us some really delicious homemade wine, some cha-cha, some cognac and tea. We had to decline a couple of shots they offered us as we still had to ski down!
 
After spending quite a nice afternoon, we made unsure turns down to the valley bottom on some changing snow conditions. We nevertheless were able to get some really nice turns on the way down.
As we woked up under another great day, we aim to the slackcountry of Gudauri. With a single ride costing about 3$ (and if you manage well, you only need 2 of those), it’s pretty cheap way to get to the top!

We head towards Mt Bidara to hit the backside of the resort and ski towards Jvari Pass. 
It was fricking warm!!! We were all struggling with the harsh sun coming on us! Babiche misses his mullet so much that he made himself one out of a nylon bag.
 
We kept hiking up to the top of Mt Bidara at 3174m while my dad stayed at the pass soaking in the sun.
 
Babiche was to ski straight down the face we just hiked and I was to hike further on the mountain ridge to get to a nice little ridge that was going down.

Babiche got some various snow with firm snow on top and much softer spring-like snow lower down.
 
I kept hiking on the ridge until I got to my run. There was a firm base underneath the new slabby new snow. The top part has been already warmed up by the sun, so I wasn’t that confident about the stability.

After 2 ski cuts and a few safety turns, one side of the ridge I was skiing on went down… And down it went! The slide went probably 1000m vertical. Only the top part slid on what looked like an old suncrust.
 
I skied next to and on the bed surface until I got to a lower angle ridge. My dad and Babiche skied a different aspect that was less steep.
 
We made it safely to the bottom without any new incident.
 
We were lucky enough that a car saw us coming and waited for us to give us a ride back to Gudauri. 5$ later, 20 minutes of bumping into an old little truck, we were back at our hotel.

We spend what was left of the day drinking beer and enjoying the view on our patio!
  
The weather seems to be stable for the next days, so hopefully, we’ll be able to get some other great days of skiing!
 
Cheers,
evans

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