Ski Europe. Massive terrain, impressive lifts, great skiing. Courmayeur, Italy.
Ski Europe. Massive terrain, impressive lifts, great skiing. Courmayeur, Italy.
Ski Europe for perfect powder. La Thuile, Italy.
Ski Europe for perfect powder. La Thuile, Italy.
Ski Europe for wonderful villages. Saalbach, Austria.
Ski Europe for wonderful villages. Saalbach, Austria.
Ski Europe for awesome terrain. La Rosiere, France.
Ski Europe for awesome terrain. La Rosiere, France.
Ski Europe for the beautiful cities. Innsbruck, Austria.
Ski Europe for the beautiful cities. Innsbruck, Austria.
Ski Europe for the excellent children's ski programs. Mayrhofen, Austria.
Ski Europe for the excellent children's ski programs. Mayrhofen, Austria.
Ski Europe for the modern, efficient lifts. St Anton, Ski Arlberg, Austria.
Ski Europe for the modern, efficient lifts. St Anton, Ski Arlberg, Austria.
Ski Europe for apres like no other place on earth. Alta Badia, Dolomites, Italy.
Ski Europe for apres like no other place on earth. Alta Badia, Dolomites, Italy.
Ski Europe for vibrant ski village atmosphere. Saalbach, Austria.
Ski Europe for vibrant ski village atmosphere. Saalbach, Austria.
Ski Europe for solitude. Via Lattea, Italy.
Ski Europe for solitude. Via Lattea, Italy.
Ski Europe for quirky ski resorts. Sestriere, Italy.
Ski Europe for quirky ski resorts. Sestriere, Italy.
Ski Europe for uncrowded lifts and perfect piste. Dolomiti Superski, Italy.
Ski Europe for uncrowded lifts and perfect piste. Dolomiti Superski, Italy.
Ski Europe for incredible fun-slopes and terrain parks. Val Gardena, Italy.
Ski Europe for incredible fun-slopes and terrain parks. Val Gardena, Italy.
Ski Europe for delicious alpine dining. Zillertal, Austria.
Ski Europe for delicious alpine dining. Zillertal, Austria.
Ski Europe for exceptional resort facilties. Stubai Glacier, Austria.
Ski Europe for exceptional resort facilties. Stubai Glacier, Austria.
Ski Europe for comfortable resort access by train. 3 Peaks Dolomites, Italy.
Ski Europe for comfortable resort access by train. 3 Peaks Dolomites, Italy.
Ski Europe to ride unbelievable lifts. Axamer Lizum, Austria.
Ski Europe to ride unbelievable lifts. Axamer Lizum, Austria.
Ski Europe for extreme experiences. Chamonix, France.
Ski Europe for extreme experiences. Chamonix, France.
Ski Europe for year round glacier skiing. Hintertux Glacier, Austria.
Ski Europe for year round glacier skiing. Hintertux Glacier, Austria.
Ski Europe to ride some of the best mountains in the world. Monterosa, Italy.
Ski Europe to ride some of the best mountains in the world. Monterosa, Italy.

Europe

Ski Europe

Skiing in Europe is an experience unlike any other in the world.  The mountain villages, history and traditions, cultural diversity from one valley to the next, plus of course the food and drink, mix wonderfully with the huge terrain, incredible lift systems and great snow.  Spending the night in an Italian mountain rifugio or an Austrian guesthouse dating from the 1500s add layers to European ski holidays that make it unforgettable. Once you ski Europe, you will definitely be back for more.

The great advantage of skiing in Europe is the diversity and ease of access to a huge number of superb ski resorts in a relatively small area.  Most of the great ski resorts of Europe are within three hours travel (train, bus or car) from the major international gateway airports of Geneva, Milan or Munich. There are fabulous train journeys that go direct to incredible ski resorts, some even have a gondola ski lift at the train platform (Kronplatz in Italy). No where else in the world has so much to offer.

The number of ski resorts in Europe is massive, easily exceeding 1000.  From small village lifts to enormous interlinked resorts that have to be seen (and skied) to be believed. Much of Europe's best skiing is in The Alps, which span the Mediterranean coast of France through Switzerland, northern Italy, Austria, southern Germany and into Slovenia. The mountains are giants so skiing in Europe offers endless runs on huge vertical, and the spectacular scenery can be admired from the slopes, a comfy lounge chair or from soaring cable cars. The ability to ski from village to village is common, and in numerous resorts one can even ski from country to country. The old-world villages are quaint and offer opportunities to stop for a food, wine, beer or an aperitif.

In southern Europe, the Pyrenees reign supreme, with numerous ski resorts and backcountry freeride options in France, Spain and the tiny principality of Andorra. Landlocked Andorra is surrounded by high peaks and has built its economy on tourism, mainly based on skiing and shopping (fully duty free!), so you know it will be a great experience. Skiing in southern Spain allows for some beach and snow combinations that are difficult to replicate elsewhere in the world.

For the more adventurous, Norway and Sweden have some wonderful ski and snowboard adventure opportunities. Iceland and Greenland even more so. In the snowy Caucasus of Russia and Georgia, there is some massive investment in improving current resorts and also creating several new ones. Skiing in Russia includes one of the highest ski lifts in Europe at Mt ElbrusGeorgia is amongst the cheapest places to ski in Europe and can include cat skiing. Speaking of cats, the oldest and best cat ski operation in Europe is in the relatively unknown ski destination of Macedonia.

Luckily for the Powderhound, in many European ski resorts the locals have their priorities totally skewed when it comes to skiing. Many European's prioritise food & drink as the most important component of their ski day, then après ski festivities a close second, whilst the actual skiing or snowboarding is a distant third priority. This is what makes Europe a great ski holiday destination! There’s excellent skiing and snowboarding for the early riser, but also a chance to soak up some fabulous European culture, enjoy après and the animated nightlife, plus eat the wonderful cuisine.

Back-country touring opportunities are boundless in Europe, but avalanche awareness and skills are absolutely necessary.  If in doubt get a guide or join a tour.  See all our hosted tours here.

Heliskiing opportunities are increasing in Europe as well. The best operators in western Europe are based in Italy around the high Alps of the Aosta valley from Monte Rosa to Monte Bianco. Other great heli ski options are in the wilds of the Caucasus and Kamchatka in Russia. More information on heli skiing and cat skiing in Europe is coming soon.

Austria Skiing and Snowboarding

Ski Austria for the authentic village based resorts, amazing lift systems, wonderful off-piste powder, all year round glacier skiing, sensational après and the huge interlinked resorts. The Alps cover most of Austria, and almost every major (and minor!) town has some sort of ski lift infrastructure.  Austria is where alpine skiing was born and perfected, and the Austria ski resorts offer a very traditional skiing experience which resorts in other countries try to emulate. Even though it is a relatively small country, Austria has the most ski resorts in Europe - 275 (ish!), and we would argue, also the best ski resorts in the world.

Saint Anton ski resort in the Arlberg region is a brilliant all round ski resort which rightfully attracts skiers from all over the world. It also has the most rocking après in the world. St Anton is part of the huge interlinked Ski Arlberg area which includes the high end Lech and Zurs. A cluster of wonderful resorts accessible by train between Salzburg and Innsbruck includes legendary Kitzbuhel, the fabulous powder and après haven of SkiCircus Saalbach and the lift pass interlinked Zell am See/Kaprun (Kitzsteinhorn). The Zillertal has great diversity, best represented by Mayrhofen and Hintertux Glacier ski resorts. The 9 ski resorts near Innsbruck are also fun ski destinations, the best of which are the excellent Stubai Glacier and Kuhtai. Another Powderhounds favorite is Pitztal Glacier.

France Skiing & Snowboarding

Ski France for its huge high altitude, interlinked ski resorts, great food and wine, but also for the dramatic scenery, high altitude, consistent snow-pack, wonderful off piste powder and long, wide runs. The French locals in the mountainous areas are incredibly friendly, which adds to the experience. 

France also has some of the best extreme terrain in the world at Chamonix on western Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc. This French ski resort is on steroids and attracts hard-core skiers in particular, but has diverse terrain to provide a great experience for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. Serre Chevalier is a world class ski resort with terrain for all abilities, and wonderful off piste powder opportunities.  Val d’Isere and Tignes are amongst the best ski resorts in Europe. They cater to a more 'well heeled' market and have plenty of wide runs for beginners and intermediates, but the terrain is well worth the journey into the Tarentaise for us 'great unwashed' as well for the exciting freeride opportunities.  Nearby Sainte Foy is the worst kept powder stash secret in Europe, but like Les Arcs, should still be on any Powderhounds list.

The world's largest lift and ticket interlinked ski area is in France - the 3 Vallees (it is actually 4 with Orelle added in!). Made up of three main resorts, Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens, it boasts enough lifts, trails and people (!) to make your head spin. A huge range of 'smaller' resorts exist in France that will be attractive to the Powderhound seeking a bit more solitude. La Clusaz, Bonneval, Valfrejus and the newly created Sybelles are but a few. In southern France the Pyrenees have several world class ski resorts (Ax, Saint Lary) and sensational backcountry terrain.

Italy Skiing & Snowboarding

Skiing in Italy is as much about the eating, long lunches aperitifs and wine consumption, as it is about exploring the slopes and skiing powder. The culture is super relaxed and friendly but the skiing is superb and exhilarating. All that food and drink means they get out of bed a bit later too - great first tracks in Italy! Italy also provides the best value for money in Europe. It would surprise many people to know that Italy has the second highest number of ski resorts in Europe - over 200!

The Aosta valley has Italy's best skiing. Monte Cervino (the Matterhorn) is right on the Swiss-Italian border near Cervinia ski resort and Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc) straddles the French-Italian border near the wonderful Courmayeur and La Thuile ski resorts. Excellent resorts like Pila and Crevacol give the area diversity. The Monte Rosa massif offers a feast of skiing via the Monterosa Ski interlinked resort - a Powderhounds favorite. To the south, resorts such as Sestriere near the winter Olympics host city Turin (Torino) are fully linked with Oulx and other resorts to make up the excellent Via Lattea. Further east, Madonna di Campiglio is surrounded by numerous fun ski resorts. In the Dolomites, Cortina is a stylish resort with stunning scenery and world's best extreme terrain in the right conditions, plus Alta Badia, Arabba-Marmolada,  Val Gardena and 3 Peaks all have their charms. The fabulous cities of Milan, Turin, Verona and Venice are also within a few hours of the resorts.

Switzerland Skiing & Snowboarding

Ski Switzerland for the high altitude powder, precise organisation and train networks, cosmopolitan flair, great lift systems, charming villages and dramatic scenery. The après is relatively restrained in Switzerland, but there’s still nightlife, and partaking in fondue is essential - but grossly over rated!!

For Powderhounds, the larger ski resorts of AndermattEngelberg, Verbier, Laax and Arosa Lenzerheide are absolute stand outs.  They all boast steep and deep off-piste skiing, but also great terrain for families. St Moritz is glamorous and fashionable but has perfect piste trails, great off piste and a dark side at Diavolezza for experts. Davos-Klosters is also refined and sophisticated but with fabulous terrain, whilst Zermatt ski resort is a sensational all-rounder with the towering Matterhorn overlooking the fascinating town. Aletsch Arena is perfect for a family ski holiday. A multitude of unknown Swiss ski resorts like Brigels, Belalp, and Lauchernalp have wonderful skiing and snowboarding without the hustle and bustle of the mega resorts.

Georgia Skiing & Snowboarding

Georgia is undergoing a massive expansion in ski resorts and winter sports in general. The Greater and Lesser Caucasus mountains border Georgia and snow pukes down due the influence of the nearby Back Sea. A number of new ski resorts have opened in recent years and others are planned. Cat skiing is available too. 

Russia Skiing & Snowboarding

Like Georgia, Russia has invested squillions into the ski industry, particularly for the Sochi Winter Olympics. Modern ski resorts like Rosa Khutor compete with (or compliment) places like Elbrus with its highest lift going to 3847m! For adventure, cat skiing in Siberia and heli skiing in Kamchatka will fulfil anyone's wishes.

Germany Skiing & Snowboarding

Skiing in Germany is possible at over 100 ski resorts. It is no real surprise however that the best ski resorts in Germany are generally in southern Bavaria where they cling to the Alps near the Austrian border. Some truly remarkable railways and cable car climb the spectacular 2962m high Zugspitze where skiing takes place until May on the glacier. Below the Zugspitze is the Germany's best known ski resort, Garmisch, which boasts a North America and Japan beating vertical of over 1300m.

Skiing & Snowboarding in Norway, Sweden, Iceland & Greenland

Skiing in Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Greenland is generally for the more adventurous (and sometimes cashed up) Powderhounds looking for something completely different. In Norway, whilst there a number of ski resorts to sample, experiences like ski touring Svalbard, lodge or boat based skiing from mountain summits down to the fjords in the Lyngen Alps and Mush and Ski adventures with sled dogs are once in a lifetime experiences and the real reason to visit. Similarly, for some of the back-country tours available in Iceland and Greenland. In Sweden several ski resorts like Riksgransen above the Arctic Circle are sensational and the chances of seeing the breathtaking aurora borealis is very high. More information on these locations is coming soon.

Spain Skiing & Snowboarding

Yep, skiing in Spain. Kind of like thinking about skiing in Australia (that's Australia not Austria), the first question is always an incredulous, '... is there skiing in Spain?'. Yes there is and some of it is mighty fine. There is even the opportunity to do some funky sunny beach and powder snow combinations. More information about skiing in Spain is coming soon.

Other Europe Ski Destinations

Andorra in the Pyrenees Mountains, between France and Spain.
Poland's mountainous southern rim provides prospects such as Zakopane in the Tatra Mountains.
Slovakia
, on the other side of the Tatras, is a relatively new adventure destination with lots of mountains and varied terrain to explore. Ski resorts include Jasná, Donovaly, Vratna and Drienica.
Romania
is becoming an attractive destination for skiers including resorts at Poiana Brasov and Sinaia.
Slovenia the best known areas are the Kranjska Gora and Maribor Pohorje which host downhill events.
Bulgaria’s
resorts include Borovets, Pamporovo, and Bansko. Hang on to your wallet!

Cost of Skiing and Snowboarding in Europe

Skiing in Europe can be as economical or expensive as you wish. The cost of lift tickets is extremely cheap when compared to all other continents with the exception of Japan. Eating and drinking out is comparative to other places in the world. 

Of the big 4 ski destination countries in Europe, by far the cheapest skiing is in Italy, followed by Austria and then France & Switzerland. Switzerland is the most expensive ski destination in Europe.

By way of cost comparison to North America for lift tickets, in 2017 a day lift pass at Keystone in Colorado costs about US$136 (or about €128) whereas a day lift pass for the Italian part of the massive Via Lattea cost only €37 (or about US$39). The mathematics is stark.  Move further east and the prices drop even more. The modern Russian ski resorts have daily lift tickets for around €20 -25.

Slope side accommodation in ski resorts (as with anywhere in the world) will tend to hit the hip pocket, particularly in France and Switzerland, although of course there are different standards available (from budget to extravagant) at any given resort. In Europe the options for staying in excellent 'off mountain' village accommodation are vast, can be considerable cheaper and far more rewarding from a cultural experience. Accommodation standards vary from country to country. For example, a 2 star hotel or guesthouse in Italy and Austria is as good as, or better, than most 3 star accommodation in France.

More Reasons to Ski and Snowboard Europe

In western Europe, coping with local languages isn’t too difficult. You’ll probably already know a few words of French, Italian and German, and there are so many British tourists frequenting the ski resorts that a degree of English is spoken in all places. Regardless, it is good fun trying the local language and adds an intellectual element to any European ski holiday.

Eastern Europe isn’t quite so populated with English tourists, but in order to get away from the crowds, the small vocabulary you’ll need to learn will be worth it. Learning some European language will be part of the cultural enjoyment of the skiing holiday.

If you haven't skied Europe yet, do it now. Airfares and lift passes have never been cheaper and you will be richer for the experience.

Ski Tours in Europe

Safari (Road Trip) Tours
Tarentaise Valley Ski Safari DETAILS
GUIDED OFF-PISTE ADVENTURE
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Days Skiing | 3+ Resorts
From price based on twin/double-share room occupancy.
Base/invoice currency is in EURO inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,189
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Ski some of the most famous ski areas of the world in France with an experienced guide riding vertical descents of up to 2,000m through untracked powder even days after a snowfall. Join a "fixed date" tour or get your own group of 4+ together for a custom tour.
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Monterosa Ski Safari DETAILS
GUIDED OFF-PISTE ADVENTURE
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Skiing Days
From price based on twin/double-share room occupancy.
Base/invoice currency is in EURO inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,066
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
This guided tour takes in some of Italy & Switzerland's iconic alpine ski areas (Zermatt, Cervinia, Monterosa) in the upper valleys of the Monte Rosa massif among 4,000m peaks such as the Matterhorn. Join a "fixed date" tour or get your own group of 4+ together for a custom tour.
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Chamonix Mont Blanc Powder Skiing Safari DETAILS
GUIDED OFF-PISTE ADVENTURE
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Days Skiing
From price based on twin/double-share room occupancy.
Base/invoice currency is in EURO inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,066
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Ski off-piste for 6 days around Mont Blanc, discovering the largest glacial ski area in Europe. Ski descents of between 1500 and 2800m in virgin snow via the most beautiful summits and passes in Chamonix France and near Courmayeur Italy. Join the "fixed date" tour or get your own group of 4+ together for a custom tour.
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Europe here
Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours
Skiare GOLD Packages DETAILS
PRIVATE GUIDED INSTRUCTIONAL PACKAGES
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Ski Days
From price based on twin/double-share in a 3-star hotel room during medium season (Dec 1 - 23, Jan 6 - Feb 2, Mar 10 - 24).
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 3,940
Ability: Beginner to Expert
Make the most of your Dolomites ski holiday with a private guide / instructor who will show you many of the great sights & ski areas whilst helping you to improve your skiing. Whilst this example package is based on 7 nights, packages are fully CUSTOMISABLE from 3 days plus and can start from any day of the week.
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Skiare SILVER Packages DETAILS
MIXED GROUP GUIDED INSTRUCTIONAL PACKAGES
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Ski Days
From price based on twin/double-share in a 3-star hotel room during medium season (Dec 1 - 23, Jan 6 - Feb 2, Mar 10 - 24).
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,922
Ability: Beginner to Expert
Make the most of your Dolomites ski holiday with a MIXED GROUP guide / instructor who will show you many of the great sights & ski areas whilst helping you to improve your skiing. Whilst this example package is based on 7 nights, packages are fully CUSTOMISABLE from 3 days plus and can start from any day of the week.
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St Anton Ski Safari DETAILS
GUIDED OFF-PISTE ADVENTURE
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Days Skiing | 7 Resorts
From price based on twin/double-share room occupancy.
Base/invoice currency is in EURO inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,269
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Get the most out of a ski trip to St Anton with a knowledgeable guide and visit nearby ski areas such as Zurs, Zug, Lech, Oberlech, Stuben, St Christof & Sonnenkopf. Join a "fixed date" tour or get your own group of 4+ together for a custom tour.
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Europe here
Backcountry Skiing Tours
Arctic Ski and Sail DETAILS
SVALBARD SKI TOURING CRUISE
9 Days | 8 Nights
Price p/p
USD 7,900
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Head way way north to Svalbard for this inimitable ski touring/split boarding experience. Cruise around the Arctic Sea on a small sail boat and head ashore to ski amazing mountains in the land of the polar bear. Only 8 guests: join as a solo traveller or small group.
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Chamonix Ultimate Experience Ski Tour DETAILS
GUIDED SKI TOUR | MIXED GROUP
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Ski Days
From price based on twin/double-share room.
Base/invoice currency is in USD ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 3,495
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Ski 3 countries in one week based in the legendary Chamonix. Experience the Grands Montets, Aiguille du Midi, the Valley Blanche, Verbier and Courmayeur in amongst the highest peaks of the Alps.
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Monterosa First Tracks DETAILS
Monterosa First Tracks
7 Days | 6 Nights | 5 Skiing Days
From price based on twin/double-share room occupancy.
From price also based on a group of 4.
Base/invoice currency is in EURO inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,276
Ability: Beginner to Expert
A week fully guided ski touring course in the Monte Rosa, based in the Freeride Paradise of Alagna, part of the Powderhounds favorite Monterosa Ski area. Ideal for beginners but also for people with experience that would like to improve their ski and climb technique plus other backcountry skills.
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See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Europe here
Heli Skiing Tours
Heliski Kamchatka Volcanos Russia DETAILS
GUIDED OFF-PISTE HELISKI ADVENTURE
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Ski Days
From price based on twin/double-share room occupancy.
Base/invoice currency is in EURO inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 6,827
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Helski on volcanos in one the most stunningly beautiful places in the world. Enjoy 6-8000m vertical a day with single descents of up to 1600m. Stay in wonderful accommodation with its own hot springs. Join the "fixed date" tour or get your own group of 4+ together for a custom tour.
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See all Heli Skiing tours that visit Europe here
Cat Skiing Tours
Eskimo Freeride Cat Skiing 4 & 8 Day Packages DETAILS
ESKIMO FREERIDE CAT SKIING PACKAGES
4 or 8 Days | 3 or 7 Nights | 3 or 7 Days Cat Skiing
From price based on 4-day package which includes 3 days cat skiing & 3 nights lodging in high season(Jan 20 to Mar 20)
Base/invoice currency is in EUR inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 923
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Eskimo Freeride offers 4 or 8 day cat ski packages with 3 or 7 full days of cat skiing and snowboarding powder inclusive of accommodation and all meals. Choose your own dates. Fully customised options to suite your own dates and duration are also available. All packages are family friendly!
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Cat Skiing Bakhmaro DETAILS
CAT SKIING BAKHMARO
7 Nights Lodging, Meals + 5-6 days cat skiing
From price based on 7 nights twin/double-share room, full board and 5-6 days guided cat skiing.
Base/invoice currency is in Euro ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,706
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
The ultimate European cat skiing adventure, Cat Skiing Bakhmaro includes airport transfers, 7 nights of accommodation in the traditional village of Bakhmaro, all meals at Bakhmaro plus 5 - 6 days of cat skiing.
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See all Cat Skiing tours that visit Europe here