Shar Outdoors Cat Skiing & Ski Touring

Overall Rating

Shar Outdoors

Shar Outdoors4.8/56
Shar Outdoors4.8 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
Ski & Sail Norway Lyngen Alps
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Shar Outdoors Cat Skiing & Ski Touring

Overall Rating

Shar Outdoors4.8/56
Shar Outdoors4.8 out of 5 based on 6 reviews

Shar Outdoors Ski Tours & Packages

Shar Outdoors is a new backcountry ski operation based in North Macedonia. Created by a crew of experienced local skiers & guides, Shar Outdoors has created some fantastic opportunities to ski the best of the Balkans (including North Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania & even northern Greece), whilst saving you all the hassle of organisation.

Tour options include cat skiing, ski touring & lift served sidecountry. Accommodation varies from newly refurbished mountain huts to 4-star hotels. The fully hosted & guided tours are an awesome combination of skiing & riding amazing terrain plus a local food & culture experience that doesn't exist anywhere else in the mountains of Europe. Choose your own dates & times or ask about jumping in with another group & get to know some new friends! Tours can be as long or short as you like, but the best itineraries will take a week.

See the tour listings below for more detailed information on what is available from Shar Outdoors or click here for their fabulous Balkans Cat Ski Safari.

Reviews

The Powderhounds reviewed Shar Outdoors in 2019 & had a fantastic time on their initial Balkans Cat Ski Safari as well as a day out ski touring. See the reviews here >

Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to see where we are currently skiing!

Where is Shar Outdoors, North Macedonia?

Shar Outdoors operates throughout the Balkans in North Macedonia, Kosvo, Greece & Albania. They are based out of Popova Sapka ski resort & have a cat ski operation base in the mountains above Bogovinja in North Macedonia. 

North Macedonia was previously known as FYROM – the former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia or just plain Macedonia by its friends! The country’s capital is Skopje. Shar Outdoors is located a quick 1 - 1.5hr drive west of Skopje.

Skopje is accessed by plane through the impressively named Alexander the Great Airport (SKP). Overland routes to Skopje are not recommended. All Shar Outdoors tour packages include pick up & return transfer to the airport.

Flights into Skopje Alexander the Great Airport

The Skopje Alexander the Great International Airport (SKP) is a modern facility 23km by road east of the North Macedonia capital, Skopje. During winter, flights from worldwide origins include most major airports in western Europe, England & Scandinavia plus Istanbul, Dubai & Doha in the Middle East

Daily flights to Skopje from any one origin city are limited. Daily flights exist from Vienna, Austria and offer the most convenience if travelling to North Macedonia whilst already in Europe. Another useful major European airport is Zurich, with two airlines providing regular services to Skopje. Zurich was successfully utilised by the Powderhounds for our visit to North Macedonia. The middle eastern airports at Doha & Dubai can be useful if travelling from other international origins (i.e Asia, Oceania). See flight map here for Skopje origins & destinations.

Powderhounds recommends using either Austrian, Edelweiss or Germania airlines. These airlines provide better seating, luggage allowance, service & reliability – albeit for a slightly higher price!

To search for a great deal on a flight to Skopje, use one of our recommended flight search engines.

Airport Transfers

For airport transfers, Shar Outdoors will arrange a private transfer direct to the start of the tour, with the cost included in the package price.

A Great Trip

Adam Cavey
19/02/2020
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Mixed Group
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Intermediate
  • Country
    Uk, Gremany, France
  • Admin Rating
    4

A Great Trip

Adam Cavey
19/02/2020
A group of two snowboarders and one skier, we have been on several ‘adventurous’ ski trips. This winter we were specifically looking to try cat skiing for the first time, preferably somewhere off the beaten track. We found Shar Outdoors on the Powderhounds website and after reading some positive reviews, contacted Ivan for more details. I think you would struggle to find someone more helpful and quicker to respond to enquires, no matter how annoying we got.
We arrived at Skopje and were collected directly by a private minibus which whisked us straight to Popova Shopka about two hours drive away. Our trip was for seven nights full board with six days of cat skiiing, accommodation being at the Scardus hotel. A modern hotel in the local ski resort which was our base for the next week and housed the main base for Shar Outdoors on site. Air bags, transceivers and avalanche kit were given out along with our safety briefing that evening - meaning we could get straight onto the mountain next morning.
After a good breakfast we headed out to the cat for the first time along with two other groups of four and met our guides for the day. Mikael, Mateo and Goce would form a fantastic team, taking care of us for the next week. The weather was amazingly warm for the beginning of February and the guides did a great job of finding interesting runs in the unusual spring snow conditions.
The mountains truly are beautiful in this area of Macedonia and over the next four days we toured the range extensively to find the best slopes as the snow softened and conditions changed. Every day brought new adventures and the mix of people onboard changed, sometimes a full cat and some days just six or seven of us. With only cats providing access to the mountains, there was always plenty of space to choose your lines and the guides gave us sound advice of where to head for.
I really can’t praise our guides highly enough. They all knew the area intimately and kept their good humour no matter what the circumstances- even in a small blizzard one day! You can’t beat arriving at breakfast to hear your snowboard has been waxed and edged for you after a casual remark the previous day - thanks Goce! Their professionalism was outstanding and we always felt safe, even in the most challenging conditions. Part of our desire to stray from the ‘beaten track’ is to encounter new cultures, and the friendliness exuded by everyone we met in a Macedonia made us all want to visit again.
The fifth day of our trip saw high winds and a very good snowfall. Conditions were challenging but very rewarding. Once again we saw the benefit of local knowledge as Goce and Mikael knew the best places to have the most fun. The Rakija was particularly tasty in the bar that night.
The final day of our trip was a gift: the wind suddenly dropped and the sky cleared at 8am. We had a whole mountain range with 30-50cm of fresh powder and we made a full day of it. Even with the other operator in the area out, there were only 5 cats working the whole mountain area and at 3pm we were still finding untracked snow. Everything from long open tracks to tight runs through packed trees - anything you could want. The mountains echoed with laughter. We voted not to stop for lunch and the guides and cat driver were happy to ride throughout the whole day.
The whole experience of cat skiing was a revelation, I’d definitely do this again. We were all surprised that the cat was not as noisy as we expected and provided a sociable atmosphere where we got to know our fellow adventurers. Most rides between runs were 15-20 minutes long and often gave us a chance to take in the majestic scenery of the Balkans. My app tells me that we averaged over 3000m a day, some great times on a variety of conditions. Sometimes challenging, but never ever dull. Thanks so much to Shar Outdoors - you really care about what you do and it shows. We will return!

Quite an Adventure!

Sue Fitzsimons
14/02/2020
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    51-65
  • Rider Ability
    Advanced
  • Country
    United Kingdom
  • Admin Rating
    5

Quite an Adventure!

Sue Fitzsimons
14/02/2020
Four of us set out off to Cat Ski in the Balkans, although we were a little uncertain as to what this would actually involve. We arrived in Popova Shapka and put a brave face on the fact that all we could see was mud and rocks on the mountain. That night, a huge storm blew in and we woke to a very different landscape - snow everywhere, still coming down, no visibility and huge gusts of wind. Conditions on the first day were very tough and skiing stopped at lunch time; the next day the sun came out and we had possibly the perfect powder couple of days. Meto from Shar Outdoors was our guide, ably backed up by Boris, and we were joined by 5 Swedes.

We then moved on to the Pelister Mountain, and had 2 more wonderful days led by Jove of SF Freeride, backed up by Alexander. Our hosts at the Sumski Feneri Hotel were wonderfully welcoming and we learnt a lot about Macedonian history & culture. Plus the food was spectacular - including the home cooked lunch in a mountain hut. The hosts are all incredibly enthusiastic and clearly love what they do, which is life affirming.

One note of caution - if you think you will have a warm up day in Shapka Popova, you will be disappointed. There is a brand new lift but it hasn't been opened, at least in the season so far to February 2020). (Editors note - the ski lifts in the Popova Shapka ski area are notoriously unreliable. The brand new lift has been sitting idle for years!)

Great Company, Great Experience Potential!

Paul - The Netherlands
03/02/2020
  • Would Revisit
  • Would Recommend
  • Age
    18-35
  • Ability
    Advanced
  • Rider Type
    Alpine Skier
  • Month:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    3

Great Company, Great Experience Potential!

Paul - The Netherlands
03/02/2020
We were with a group of 3 with mixed ability levels. The Shar team adjusted to this very well and were always on top of things to make sure we had a good experience. We had some setbacks outside of their circle of control, but we definitely see the potential that the Macedonian mountains have to offer!

Besides the skiing the cultural aspect of the trip was interesting and we had great food and drinks :-)

Cheers!

Local Guides, Great Snow, Awesome Time

22/11/2019

POWDERHOUNDS EUROPE

Powderhounds Ambassador
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POWDERHOUNDS EUROPE

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador
  • Would Revisit
  • Would Recommend
  • Age
    36-50
  • Ability
    Expert
  • Rider Type
    Telemarker
  • Month:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    5

Local Guides, Great Snow, Awesome Time

22/11/2019
We spent a wonderful night & day with Meto & the crew skinning out from Popova Shapka in pristine conditions. Deep powder, blue skies, superb company. First tracks were the order of the day on every run.

The pace of the group was well manage. Safety & slope selection were first class. Above all, led by the positive attitude of the guides, the day was simply just a helluva lot of fun. And isn't that what skiing is all about?

One of the most memorable days we have ever had on skins (& there have been many days on skins!) was topped off with a very late lunch feast sampling huge amounts of all the best local food & beverages in a restaurant that to anyone who didn't know better, was in what appeared to be a derelict building (not uncommon at Popova!). Amazing what is behind some doors. Without a good local guide, one would have right past it.

Local accommodation was in the best hotel at the ski resort - a 4-star at the top of the village. Pricing is excellent for the service & experience provided.

Such Fun….

03/08/2019

POWDERHOUNDS EUROPE

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador

POWDERHOUNDS EUROPE

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
  • Country
    The Globe
  • Admin Rating
    5

Such Fun….

03/08/2019
What fun we had. A multi-national group, an enthusiastic host, mountains, snow, food, drink, snowcats plus some sparkling repartee were the ingredients for a sensational inaugural Balkans Cat Ski Safari. It proved to be a wonderfully care-free way to sample the best of the Balkans skiing, landscapes, history & culture. The safari proved a concept & was a triumph for our host Meto from Shar Outdoors.

We were lucky enough to start the ski safari with a day of ski touring in some absolute awesome powder in Popova Shapka. The guiding was superb, as was the company, the entertainment & the late long lunch.

That night, from the moment the stragglers were picked up in Tetovo, the game was on for a magical mystery tour to locations which none of us had ever heard of. Next stop Pelister. The Sumski Feneri Hotel was gorgeously decked out on festive lights & provided the best lodgings of the trip. The hotel owners set the tone for hospitality on the rest of the trip – fantastic. The skiing was great. Snow wasn’t perfect, but there was powder & some very good tree skiing. Would love to ski the summit chutes one day, but it wasn’t to be on this trip. Lunch was beyond imagination in a lovely mountain hut. We skied until dark, then partied all night at the hotel.

Next stop was Kosovo & the Brezovica ski resort. Whilst it would have been amazing in its heyday, Brezovica’s ski lifts have seen better days & so Dane Freeride cat skiing evolved to fill the void. The snow was wind affected in parts, but the terrain is exceptional when fully realised. Staying in a functionally rustic mountain hut, 10 of us shared basic facilities with minimal fuss. The common room was the excellent David’s Bar & Restaurant where breakfast & dinner lived up to our know high expectations

We left the safari before the final stop back at Bogovinje. From the photos of the terrain, the powder skiing is the high alpine is world class. Next year for sure.
- A steady stream of highlights on the inaugural Balkans Cat Ski Safari included:
- Fresh tracks on a glorious day in the mountains between Popova Shapka & Bogovinje.
- Powder turns in the trees at Pelister & views all the way into Greece & Albania.
- The long, long valley run into the fascinating Štrpce Kosovo (even after leaving some of my flesh on a wild bramble thorn!) & the hilarious drive back up to the resort after a few après ski refreshments.
- Helping the locals celebrate the Eastern Orthodox New Year in style.
- Racing the snowcat all the way down to the base at Pelister & winning.
- Sumptuous dinners everywhere we went - Brezovica, Pelister, Popova Shapka, Skopje…… it didn’t matter where, the food was extraordinary.
- Making light of some very pensive moments during the Kosovo border crossings (& getting a nice stamp in our passports – sometimes it pays to be Aussie!)
- Closely following the SF Freeride guides into the forest in powder & at speed – they know every inch of that hill!
- Getting a sense of the amazing terrain around Bogovinje & Popova Shapka.
- Drinking the local spirit, rakija, with the locals & having the locals come off second best!
- Sampling the favourite Balkans travel snacks whilst on the road – not sure about the peanut butter sticks!
- Just having a good time with a group of like-minded skiers (& one snowboarder – gotta have one) in a strange new land that is not so strange anymore!

So, is everything perfect & just like cat skiing in Canada? Well, no. This is the Balkans after all. And no one should come here thinking they are getting a ‘Chatter Creek’ experience – especially given the price (6-days at Chatter Creek would cost €5000+)! The Balkans is still a touch raw & even edgy at times (i.e. the Kosovo border crossing). There was immense damage done in the region’s recent history, much of it unseen, but the scars are still there for anyone to see. The tourist infrastructure, particularly at ski resorts, has suffered from neglect & so some sights, smells & locations may challenge one’s sanitised ‘western’ view of the world. Also, some of the guiding could at times best be described (on a world scale anyway) as ‘loose’. But it is all about freeride & conditions were generally safe enough for a bit of a ‘free for all’. Nevertheless, the guides were super enthusiastic & clearly enjoying themselves.

Come with your eyes wide open & soak it all in. This trip is not just about skiing or snowboarding powder; it is a whole lot more. Whilst we had a great time, follow up tours in 2020 & beyond will no doubt be better again & if you score clear weather and fresh snow conditions, this is an adventure worthy of the bucket list. Get a group together, get to Skopje & get on the road for a ski safari that you will not forget anytime soon. The hook is set & we’ll be back. Perhaps Mt Korab next time ………

Adventure, culture, skiing - an amazing Balkans experience

12/07/2019

Wendy

Powder Enthusiast
Powder Enthusiast

Wendy

Powder Enthusiast
Powder Enthusiast
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
  • Country
    Australia
  • Admin Rating
    5

Adventure, culture, skiing - an amazing Balkans experience

12/07/2019
If you knew me you understand that I like to go down the path less traveled.
The Balkans Cat Ski Safari provided the perfect balance that gave me a taste for the Balkans & has left me wanting MORE.
I didn't know what to expect of the Balkans (& certainly knew very little about the cat skiing), all I'd heard was horror stories reported on the news and this has had an impact on the people of these beautiful countries with unique history, culture, warmth and beauty.
The complexity has blown me away and I am grateful that I got to experience the snow covered mountains with a small group of like minded people led by a charismatic and passionate guide.
I realise I haven't written anything about the snow yet as there was so much more to the experience such as genuine people who shared their warmth, intelligence, family, food, culture and sometimes confusing facts about the origin of certain foods.
These same people assisted me to develop a taste for Rakija and the ceremony around it!
The skiing was exciting and different depending on location, geography and weather. I was lucky enough to experience gorgeous powder on my first day.
The Pelister National Park experience was amazing, the guides found the best snow in wind affected areas and their enthusiasm was contagious.
Crossing the border to Kosovo was an experience in itself and the border guards seemed quite interested in the diversity of origins in our group.
In Kosovo the guides found the best snow in variable conditions amongst some fantastic terrain. The most memorable run was an adventure all the way into a valley town.
Shar Outdoors Packages & Tours
select
Balkans Cat Ski Safari DETAILS
Price p/p From price based on 7-day package in a group of 4 people which includes 6 days cat skiing at 2 or 3 different locations, 6 nights lodging, all meals & ground transportation
Base/invoice currency is in EUR inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 2,433

BALKANS CAT SKI SAFARI
7 Days | 6 Nights | 6 Cat Skiing Days

Location: Europe | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Off-Piste, Backcountry, Sidecountry
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Price p/p From price based on 7-day package in a group of 4 people which includes 6 days cat skiing at 2 or 3 different locations, 6 nights lodging, all meals & ground transportation
Base/invoice currency is in EUR inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 2,433
Discover the Balkans with this fully hosted & guided cat skiing safari taking in 3 different snowcat operations in North Macedonia & Kosovo. Choose your own dates & fully customise your cat-ski safari. A typical 7 day road-trip includes 6 days guided catskiing, all ground transport, accom, meals plus a full time host. More
View inclusions & Add-ons
Click here for rates, dates & availability
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
Custom Booking Period
Min Days
Price
Availability
Custom Booking Period: Jan 02 - Apr 17, 2021
Min Days: From 2
Price: Enquire
Availability: Available
DETAILS
Macedonia Ski Touring Safari DETAILS
Price p/p From price based on 7-day package in a group of 4 people inclusive of 5 days guided skiing at various locations, 6 nights lodging, all meals, transfers & ground transportation
Base/invoice currency is in EUR inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 1,550

MACEDONIA SKI TOURING SAFARI
7 Days | 6 Nights | 5 Ski Days

Location: Europe | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Off-Piste, Backcountry, Sidecountry
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Price p/p From price based on 7-day package in a group of 4 people inclusive of 5 days guided skiing at various locations, 6 nights lodging, all meals, transfers & ground transportation
Base/invoice currency is in EUR inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 1,550
Discover the pleasures of skiing the remote peaks of Nth Macedonia on a fully guided ski touring safari. Combine untracked fresh powder with local food, drink & culture. Choose your own dates & fully customise your ski tour with an option to include cat-skiing. More
View inclusions & Add-ons
Click here for rates, dates & availability
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
Custom Booking Period
Min Days
Price
Availability
Custom Booking Period: Jan 02 - Apr 17, 2021
Min Days: From 2
Price: Enquire
Availability: Available
DETAILS
Bogovinje Cat Skiing DETAILS
Price p/p From price based on 2-day package in a group of 4 people which includes 2 days guided cat skiing 2 nights lodging, all meals & ground transportation.
Base/invoice currency is in EUR inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 828

BOGOVINJE CAT SKIING
Customised Multi-day Cat Skiing

Location: Europe | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Backcountry
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Price p/p From price based on 2-day package in a group of 4 people which includes 2 days guided cat skiing 2 nights lodging, all meals & ground transportation.
Base/invoice currency is in EUR inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 828
Come cat skiing in North Macedonia based in a remote mountain hut above Bogovinje. Choose your own dates, length & fully customise your snowcat ski trip. A typical 2 day package includes 2 days guided catskiing, all ground transport, accom, meals plus a full time host. More
View inclusions & Add-ons
Click here for rates, dates & availability
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
Custom Booking Period
Min Days
Price
Availability
Custom Booking Period: Jan 02 - Apr 11, 2021
Min Days: From 2
Price: Enquire
Availability: Available
DETAILS
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