As the Swiss Alps and many of the world's other ski resorts suffer from a lack of snowfall, Türkiye’s Kackar Mountains in the Black Sea region are attracting more and more winter sports enthusiasts for offering the adrenaline-filled rush of heli-skiing.
Going higher than ski lifts could ever reach, heli-skiing enthusiasts jump from helicopters onto steep mountain slopes, challenging their bodies along with their high-alpine skiing skills.
After the skiers get down to their destination, helicopters are ready to ferry them back up to the top of the mountain again to take another go.
Heli-skiing has been offered along with the Black Sea coastal destination of Camlihemsin in Rize in the Kackar Mountains since 2005, as organized by the Turkey-Ayder Heliski Aviation and Tourism Company.
The value and attractiveness of the Kackar Mountains grows every year with its close proximity to Europe and its unparalleled snow quality.
Domestic and foreign pilots and mountain guides with extensive experience with search and rescue activities in various countries now brought their expertise to heli-skiing operations in Türkiye.
Recently a group of 16 winter sports enthusiasts from Switzerland, including an Indian family, enjoyed the favorable weather conditions, ample snow, and picturesque vistas in the Kackar Mountains.
Demand for Kackar Mountains growing every year
Esra Alemdaroglu, regional director of culture and tourism in the Black Sea province of Rize, told Anadolu that research of varied destinations found that the Kackar Mountains has the most popular track and snow quality, hands-down.
Pointing to the growing popularity of the Kackar Mountains, Alemdaroglu said: "Last year, we got 432 applications for winter sports reservations. And over 400 this year. We’re generally getting inquiries from Switzerland, European countries, Russia, Canada and Türkiye. The snow quality of our track and the beauty of our valleys stand out.”
Alemdaroglu stressed that the necessary legal permits and safety in heli-skiing activities are the top priority, adding: "All measures are worked out in detail.”
Celal Ozkan, the heli-ski operations manager, said that the winter resort is very important for Türkiye and that the utmost safety is provided.
"The world's best pilots and ski guides work here. We have an incredibly beautiful thing in the Kackar Mountains. The quality of the snow is very good, the slope of the mountain is ideal for heli-skiing,” he said.
Telling how many heli-skiing areas were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic while in Türkiye they were kept open with strict safety protocols, he added: "With our safety-minded quality work during this period, we saw more and more ski sports enthusiasts. The athletes who came and saw the region left incredibly happy. We’ve started to offer reservations for 2024 already.”
Nearly 500 natural heli-skiing tracks
Roland Brunner, who has been working as a pilot and ski guide since the day one at the mountains, said that the sights of the region are stunning and that it’s a pleasure doing his job.
"There are nearly 500 tracks in the region. An excellent heli-skiing route. The quality of the snow is very good and light. The reason for this is the weather conditions in the Black Sea in January and February,” he explained.
It’s very difficult to operate in the Alps because there’s no snow there this year, he said, adding: "The conditions for heli-skiing in Türkiye are very good."
Source: Anadolu Agency