Yes, there is! At Boomerang on Snow, our goal is to take you ski places you have not thought much when it comes to skiing. “Cultural” skiing is what we do, because is fun, different, and offers a lot more than your usual ski holiday. We ski to travel, and we travel to ski!
I always loved visiting Turkey, ever since my first visit as a child. There is something about it that pulls me back. The people, the food and of course its rich history and now skiing. Whilst we offer ski instruction and development programs, focusing only on skiing would make us ignorant to the beauty of the world we live in. Therefore, for every destination we go skiing, we aim to experience more. Join us and explore cultural skiing.
Whilst Turkey has several ski area areas, this year we explored Erciyes, the largest ski resort in the country. Situated in central Anatolia, this modern ski resort boasts 112 km of slopes serviced by 18 lifts with a capacity of 26,750 people per hour. The Erciyes story started in 2005 and culminated with the opening of the ski resort in 2011. It is a new resort boasting the latest in lifting equipment from the big names you are used to see in Swiss of Austrian ski resorts, including heated chairs for some of them.
Accessing the resort is easier than you would think. A flight to Istanbul followed by a short internal flight to Kayseri, a 1.5 million modern city, and a 20-minute transfer is all what it takes. There is also the self-drive option for those with more time on their hands. In our travels we found that the highways in Turkey offer a convenient and fast way of covering the distance between cities.
When it comes to accommodation, the world is your oyster. If you don’t mind a short commute to the slopes, Kayseri offers anything and everything from quirky Airbnb properties to 5-star hotels. You will be hard pressed to choose the best option, but there is accommodation for all budgets. A holiday in Kayseri will offer you the possibility to shop in the second largest Bazaar in Turkey or its modern malls as well as visit touristic attractions such Kayseri Castle, Hunat Hatun Complex or the Seljuck Civilisation Museum. Also, you will have the chance to explore the beautiful Turkish cuisine from fresh street food to high-end restaurants.
The alternative is to opt for a ski in ski out location on the hill. This will provide the convenience of not having to worry about finding a car spot on the hill or carrying your skis with you. Whilst a bit on the plus side of your wallet, this option gives you more time on the slopes, enjoying the snow. If you are worried about missing out what Kayseri has to offer, remember: it is only 20 minutes away and there are transport options available. Vehicle rental is reasonably accessible in Turkey, and whilst getting behind the wheel of your rental, is not as fast as you might be used to - you must provide your parent’s names at the time of rental, enjoy a cuppa and overall Turkish hospitality- you’ll leave with a modern and safe vehicle.
You can access the 112 KM of slopes from four entry points.
Hacilar Kapi (gate) is the closest one to Kayseri and has limited accommodation. You will also find here free ample parking if you decide to drive. At the bottom of the slope there are ski rental shops, locker rentals, kids’ playground and sleigh, as well as your usual restaurants.
This would be your main choice if you are an intermediate skier as most of the slopes are red. You can access them though a gondola taking you from 2088 m to 2636 m. If you missed your morning coffee, there is also a restaurant at the top of the gondola. As you can expect most of the runs here are reasonably long, at over 2500m in length. In addition to the gondola, you will also find two chairlifts at Hacilar, albeit one is primarily serving as a link to Hisarcik skiing area.
Hisarcik Kapi offers terrain for all skill levels, as well as being the access point for the highest lifted point in the resort, Ottoman Station located at 3400 m. The first timers can use the magic carpet and the bunny slope to practice their first turns, beginners can enjoy the blue slopes, whilst the intermediates and advanced can push their limits on the red and black slopes. Hisarcik also boasts a vibrant après ski scene, with its restaurants and facilities. Lifting infrastructure comprises five chairlifts and one T-bar as well as two magic carpets for the first timers. There is also free parking for those who drive up the mountain, and rental shops if you need equipment.
Tekir Kapi I found to be the main hub in the resort, where most of the shops are, and generally very central. Amongst the quirks of this ski resort there is a military shop in a truck that sells high quality gear. There is also a military base near the slopes, slightly unique for a ski resort. The call for prayer from the Mosque, is the only reminder you are in Turkey. Whilst this is the main hub, carparking is not free and costs 50TL for the full day. The main lift is Tekir gondola, and the beginners can look forward to the 1650 m long slope. The intermediates, still have plenty of terrain, and yes, you can ski reasonably fast on the beginner run. Although a beginner slope, it offers plenty of opportunity for those who enjoy carving. From Friday evening through to Sunday, this area is open for night skiing as well. There are also two chairlifts opening more red and blue terrain. There are some options for accommodation close by.
Develi Kapi is the high end of the resort, where you will find most of the accommodation and the high end après ski. It is the perfect place to enjoy an alcoholic beverage with a super tasty lunch. You can also enjoy several shorter blue runs and couple of longer red ones, accessible by two chair lifts. It offers free parking, but at the time of our visit, it was rather muddy, which was in stark contrast to the opulence of the hotels and bars at Develi.
The ski pass is offered as a point system, where any chairlift ride will set you back one point. I found this to be exceptional value, considering the run length. As the resort was opened in 2011, all infrastructure is modern and well maintained. You have a choice on how many points you purchase, and as expected, the more points you buy the less you will pay per point. You will also be able to use the points to enjoy tobogganing! This is a fun way to spend more time on the snow with or without kids!
Skiing is not the only thing Anatolia has to offer. If anything, it is the most recent addition to their awesome touristic offers. I have touched on Kayseri above but let us not forget Cappadocia is less than an hour drive. Whist the balloon experience requires a relative high level of commitment – getting up very early, as well as financial – you will be rewarded for your efforts. But wait, there’s more: underground cities, fresh pomegranate and orange juice, unique volcanic rock formations, horse riding, cave cities, tasty food, quad bike riding cave houses and the list can go on.
Turkey has a lot to offer, and if you fancy spending more time you could extend your stay and visit a lot more.