Until winter season 2011/2012 I hadn’t heard anything about Uludag mountain, moreover I had no idea there was a skiing resort in Turkey! I was introduced to it by my godmother who found this winter holiday destination perfect for her, her daughter and many of her friends – everyone had different level of skiing ability and this resort fit everybody’s needs. Yes, if you’re an advanced skier, I’d say you will quickly get bored, but for intermediate and beginners it is a great choice to combine skiing and relaxing winter vacation for family and friends.
Uludag mountain rises to 2500 m and it is a national park with rich flora popular in summer for camping and day-trips, but in winter when it is all covered in beautiful snow (the snow level in winter gets up to 3 m) it becomes a very popular ski resort. The ski runs are located within the altitude 1700-2500m.
Comparing with European winter resorts, skiing in Uludag is not only considerably cheaper but it also feels very cozy – with only 20 km of ski runs (the longest is 4 km) and 17 ski lifts (1 of them with heating) – yet it is divided into 2 main skiing and accommodation areas, offers some apres-ski activities, good prices for ski equipment, tons of instructors for beginners and kids, and cozy cafes and restaurants to drink and eat outdoors between sports activities. The two areas are connected by a rope way (you can take skis with you).
1st area has narrow and long ski runs that lay inside of pine tree forest, you will find many options for simple accommodation here, all of hotels located very close to the ski lifts. 2nd area has only 4 or 5 hotels but all of them are operating on an all-inclusive basis, attracting a wealthy crowd from Istanbul and other turkish cities, also families and skiing “newbies” – these hotels have direct access to ski lifts. I couldn’t believe my eyes the first time I came here – wearing our ski clothes we went downstairs to the ski room (inside the hotel) where we rented the skis and boots (which were dried and stored there during our stay) and then walked outside and 50 m away was hotel’s ski lift that connected us to the rest of the slopes. So convenient :) Make sure to search ahead and find best hotel in Uludag that will suit you needs. Also ask if the hotel provides a ski vacation package – sometimes you can get the best price if the transfer to Uludag and ski pass are included in the room charge.
Uludag mountain is also a great choice for travellers that want to combine sightseeing and skiing. If you’re staying in Istanbul, the ski resort is only 300 km away by road or 150 km plus ferry-boat, so you can easily go just for a short ski weekend in Uludag. To get to the mountain it’s better to take a ferry to Bursa and from Bursa it’s either a 1 hour ride on a bus or teleferik – cable car. It has been completely renovated and reopen this year and offers a beautiful scenery during a short 25 min ride up to the mountain. Best time for skiing in Uludag is between end of December to end of March.