When one thinks of Turkey, the first thing that comes to mind may not be snow sports, but the country’s unique geography actually makes it an ideal destination for skiing and snowboarding. With its coastlines on four different seas, Turkey generates a unique snow content thanks to moist air coming from the mountains and sea that surrounds them. There is a surprisingly long history of winter sports in Turkey, including the 300-year-old petranboard culture, considered to be the ancestor of snowboarding, and known for its use in traveling between villages due to heavy snowfall on the Black Sea coast.
One of the best places to visit for skiing and snowboarding is Mount Erciyes, with 112 kilometers of slopes, which represents the largest investment in winter sports in the country. The Tekir plateau, on the eastern peak, has a winter sports center at an altitude of 2,100 to 2,900 meters, and Erciyes is easily accessible, only a four-hour flight from a third of the world’s countries, with 15 daily flights from Istanbul to nearby Kayseri airport. Other popular ski destinations include the Ovit Highlands, the Uladok peak, Palandöken, and Kartalkaya. These resorts featuring skiing, snowboarding, heliskiing, ice skating, and snow biking with off-piste and backcountry activities, wildlife watching, and unique experiences such as paragliding and ice climbing.
Turkey is an affordable ski destination, with passes costing between 11 and 17 euros per day, and modern infrastructure with plenty of lodging options on and off the mountains. However, beginners should note that some ski centers might not be ideal terrain for them. Experts will be thrilled with the off-piste experiences offered, especially at the Ovit and Kackar mountains. As the ski instructor Erdem Kurt explains, “Offer and snow, in short, will never be lacking in Turkey.”