Turkey may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of winter sports, but skiing and snowboarding centers are sprinkled across the country’s mountainous interior, offering surprisingly good runs and facilities. Turkey’s ski culture is still a work in progress so you can find some resorts running well short of capacity, and charging a lot less than their Central European equivalents.
North: Conveniently situated near the Istanbul-Ankara highway, Kartalkaya has good runs for skiers and even better options for snowboarders. With 13 pistes and seven ski lifts, there is plenty of room for all and an agreeably unhurried atmosphere. Their web site doesn’t come translated in to English, but there’s info at the nearby Grand Kartal Hotel – and lift tickets are free with your stay!
South: If you’re in the city of Antalya, Saklikent makes a good day trip. Although there are only two pistes, its location on Mount Bakirli near the country’s south coast means that late in the season you can ski in the morning and swim in the sea in the afternoon.
East. In Turkey’s extensive eastern flank, summers are roasting while the winters really bite. One of Turkey’s most impressive winter sports areas is out here, high altitude Palandöken, near the city of Erzurum. The slopes here enjoy some fine powder, and with huge treeless swathes there are great slopes for all grades of skier, right up to the black run fanatics. It’s also a favorite with snowboarders and has served as a site for international winter sports competitions.
West. At just 150 kilometers from Istanbul it is Uludag’s location that ensures its popularity. There’s not much to challenge the truly experienced skier, but good facilities and scenic pine forests make this a great getaway for a day or two. Combine with a trip to nearby Bursa for a fix of culture to go with your powder.