Tetnuldi

Tetnuldi

Overall Rating

Tetnuldi

Tetnuldi2/51
Tetnuldi2 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
  • Recommend
    0%
  • Would Revisit
    0%
Europe Tours
Wagner Custome Skis
     Tetnuldi Ski Trail Map
  • Tetnuldi Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    2,265m - 3,160m (895m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    Unknown
  • Lifts (5)
    4 Chairs
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Mid December to Mid-April
    9:00am to 4:30pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs - 15km
    Longest run - 4km+
    Advanced - 15%
    Intermediate - 50%
    Beginner - 35%
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 20/21
    Adult – approx. €15
     Hatsvali Ski Trail Map
  • Hatsvali Ski Trail Map

Tetnuldi - Reviews

Tetnuldi - Reviews

Svaneti skiing

Louis
19/02/2020
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    51-70
  • Month Visited:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    5

Svaneti skiing

Louis
19/02/2020
I am posting reviews for 3 Georgian resorts, so please read all 3 because I am trying to provide some 2020 details that cross over between resorts that are different to every other country I have visited for skiing.
The Svaneti is in an isolated part of northwestern Georgia. It has amazing history, amazing culture and amazing scenery. Mestia is the biggest village in a place with it's own language and a turbulent past punctuated with conflict and invasion. It has retained its culture and you cannot just come here for the snow riding. In fact, riding is the last thing I'd come back for, which is a weird thing to state having spent all my life chasing snow.
There are 2 snow riding resorts in Svaneti. Tetnuldi is the larger, 15km and 40 minutes (that's right 40 minutes for 15km) up the valley from Mestia. You can't get to either on foot and there is no bus. Everyone encourages you to go to Tetnuldi. The locals are blatant. "Tetnuldi good. Hatsvali no good". Visitors fall for the hype. It's not true. Tetnuldi is over-rated, but an essential part of the local economy.
Early 2020 has been a terrible winter season in Georgia (and almost everywhere else it seems). I am not basing this review on that, because we did get good snowfall and a taste of the potential. However, it is hard to get enthusiastic about a 30cm base on rock. Luckily at least 50cm fell whike we were there and that was almost all the snow for most of February in a notorious snowy part of the Greater Caucasus.
So what's good about Tetnuldi?
-The drive is awesome, especially when your driver thinks it's a World Rally event while making and receiving phone calls and messages!
-The views.
-The food is excellent, more locally traditional and far better value than at Gudauri, the best resort in Georgia.
-The people are interesting and generally devoted to everything Svan.
-The snow quality is good even when compared to the big players like Japan.
-The backcountry is unlimited and there's quite serious side country off the top chair. There are guides available, although not all have good English. You can ski more than 1000m vertical off both sides of the resort down to small villages with open slopes or tree options. You do need someone with local knowledge and transport to get you home. You also need snow deeper than a pack of cards, so we gave it a miss.
-An adult lift pass is only 40 laris a day, or $US13 and passes work for both Tetnuldi and Hatsvali resorts. You can do Tetnuldi in the morning and Hatsvali on the way home, provided your driver agrees.
What's not good?
-First it costs 100-120 laris ($US35-40) to travel up and back each day. Yes that cost is shared for the vehicle which may carry up to 6 punters, but in our experience, unless pre-booked for a group of buddies (best done via your accommodation host), it was hard to get a shared ride and therefore averaged 35-60 laris per person per day on top of your ski pass. Thats one of the main reasons the locals push Tetnuldi. They need the money for transporting you. The drivers are nice guys and it's a good way to learn about the place, especially if you speak Georgian or Russian.
-Unless there's a good snow pack and decent conditions you are stuck with flat, boring and limited pistes, mainly along the single ridge the resort is sited on. There is good off-piste terrain inbounds, but see below...
-They didn't open all 5 lifts when we were there. The one drag lift never ran. The upper 2 chairs only opened occasionally and for short periods. Any cloud, fog, any wind, avi risk or who knows what combined with the a poor snow pack meant you were limited to one high speed chair and one slow, fixed-grip chair on the lower mountain. The advanced, inbounds terrain is almost all on one side of the ridge. It's accessed from the upper chairs or the fixed grip chair. The slow chair accesses rolling and gulley terrain (not unlike Japan) and therefore gets trashed very quickly unless the snow is falling hard. The resort has good potential, but it's not very big, so you may find there's limited action and no real way of knowing that before you leave town.
- Unless you like freezing cold toilets, (squat versions often) without toilet paper, you will be disappointed! The base lodge has one only each male and female western toilet, but they are locked before 10AM and before 4PM. You can walk 50m outside and down some slippery steps to another part of the building closed to the public, or 100m up the slope to the outside horror at the next cafe.
-Deadly slippery floors and surfaces. They love them in Georgia.
-Lift operators don't know you exist except for rare occasions. On the phone, in the hut, but that's about it generally. Police are everywhere, I guess because the resorts are run by government, but they only check for crooks and drunks. Is it reasonable to unload onto gravel all day, day after day? I don't think so.
-Warmth is something you better bring yourself. The base lodge is not actually cold, but that's as good as it gets on this mountain.
Don't take this as whining. I had some great runs and I've had a lot of fun at a lot of basic ski hills over a long time starting as a small kid. I don't crave Vail-like glitz. Tetnuldi has OK lifts and good terrain, but it's really not yet providing more than primitive adventure and it's an awful long way to go hoping for more than that.