Are you looking for cheap skiing in Europe? We’ve found Gudauri Ski Resort to be the cheapest ski resort in the world, so let us tell you how you can have an awesome and cheap skiing holiday in Europe!
Skiing in Gudauri Ski Resort is so cheap, you’ll find in this post how we paid the foll0wing:
→ £20 a day to rent equipment and ski clothes
→ £14 for a day’s ski lift pass
→ £50 a day for a decent apartment next to the main ski lift
→ £1.50 for a bottle of wine
Doesn’t get much better right?!
If you’re thinking of heading to the cheap Gudauri Ski Resort in Georgia (the country), here’s a review from both myself (as someone who has never skied before) and from Steve (who’s skied about 10 times in places like Bulgaria and some of Australia’s ski resorts as well).
We’ve been wanting to visit Georgia for a while, mainly for the incredible hikes in the beautiful mountains and the friendly people we heard so much about. Because we had some time over Christmas, we decided to come and visit for the access to the cheap skiing at Gudauri ski resort for 3 days as well as celebrating New Year’s in the capital, Tbilisi for another 3 days.
10 reasons to visit Gudauri Ski Resort in Georgia
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1. It’s easy to get to Gudauri Ski Resort
Right outside our apartment next to the main ski lift.
We bought our flights on Skyscanner with Georgian Airways which was a 5 hour direct flight from London Gatwick for a couple of hundred pounds.
When we arrived at the airport, we paid USD $60 for a cab to Gudauri ski resort because our flight was over night and we couldn’t be bothered to wait around for a bus to the Tbilisi bus station and then get a marshrutka (minibus) from there.
The cab driver started his rate at $100 but we got him down to $60 which is what I read on other blogs to be the right amount. You can pay for some things in USD and others in GEL (Georgian Lari).
The cab ride took more than the 2h 30m we were expecting as it was heavily snowing on the way up there so it took about 4 hours in the end. On the way back from Gudauri, it took 2h30m as we hoped. You just need to ask around at Gudauri for a time to get a Marshrutka (shared minibus) to get back to Tbilisi. This then cost us 10GEL each (£5 / AU$10 each).
2. You can rent clothes and skis at Gudauri Ski Resort!
Renting out ski clothes and equipment at Gudauri Ski.
Because I’ve not skied before, we rented out everything we would need at Gudauri Ski Resort at a shop called Gudauri Ski. We actually couldn’t find much information online about whether there was any clothes rental shops at Gudauri and just winged it. This was the only shop we found where you can rent out ski clothes in Gudauri.
For 70 GEL each a day (AU$35 / £20) we hired out the following:
- Ski pants
You can also rent out ski jackets but somehow Steve found us some super warm jackets at Sports Direct in England for £30 each, women’s here, men’s here and similar here. We were going to throw the jackets away after the trip as we’re off to Mexico next but they are so good, we’re happy to lug them around during the next leg of our trip!
The temperature did get down to -10C but it actually didn’t feel that cold. Whilst skiing I wore a very thin pair of thermal leggins I bought from Primark in UK for £8, ski pants, a thin long sleeved top and my jacket. I even saw some people skiing in their t shirts at one point.
3. Stay right next to the main ski lift in Gudauri for cheap
We booked this apartment on booking.com but didn’t realise it was right next to the main ski lift which was awesome so we could literally ski into the building back to our room.
We paid £50 a night to for our own studio apartment next to the main ski lift.
Although it was misleading, we thought we were actually staying in the New Gudauri Hotel which has a sauna, pool and gym, but when we arrived, we were taken to an apartment opposite the hotel and told we’d have to pay USD$20 to go and use the facilities. We quickly realised that a lot of the apartments in Gudauri are privately owned.
We paid £150 for three nights accom (AU$270) which is more than we’re used to paying but it had loads of wardrobe space, a sofa, kitchenette with 2 hobs, toastie machine, fridge, and a kettle with all utensils for eating and cooking so it came in handy. We bought a lot of food from England with us so thanks to having a kitchen, we only ate out once.
4. Food and wine are super cheap at Gudauri
As I mentioned above, we actually brought our own food from England with us so we could cut costs (muesli, pot noodles etc) but we did have one meal whilst there at a posh restaurant and it cost us £20 for two mains, two drinks and a starter to share.
Steve trying a local dish at Gudauri Ski Resort.
Steve bought a bottle of wine for like £2 (8 GEL) as Georgia is a country very much known for its wine.
We found this decent bottle of white wine for just 6 GEL (£1.50 / AU$3)
5. Ski lift passes are really cheap at Gudauri Ski Resort
Steve mentioned how the ski lift passes were so cheap at Gudauri as in Australia you’d be looking at paying $100 for an all day pass. Here’s what the prices were when we visited during December 2018.
- 1 ride: 10 GEL = £3 / AU$5
- 3 rides: 25 GEL = £7 / AU$13
- All day pass: 50 GEL = £14 / AU$26
6. Not many people on the snow at Gudauri Ski Resort
Seeing as I’ve not been skiing before, Steve was so shocked at how there were fewer people at this resort in comparison to other ski resorts he’s been to before as we were there in between Christmas and New Year. We even didn’t hear many English speaking people either apart from a few British families and a couple of Americans. It seems like skiing in Georgia is still a bit unheard of.
7. The snow is so good
If you’re wondering about how much snow there is and the quality, there’s loads at Gudauri. Steve loved the snow probably the most about his experience here.
8. Gudauri Ski Resort is perfect for intermediate and beginner level
There were loads of runs to go on at Gudauri Ski Resort, perfect for the intermediate skier. As a beginner, there were plenty of areas for first timers and there were loads of families at this resort as well.
There’s another ski resort in Georgia but it’s for more advanced skiers and I’ve heard a bit cheaper than Gudauri.
9. Learn to ski with an instructor
There were quite a few beginner classes going on when we were there and we saw one going on with the ski rental company we used called Gudauri Ski which looked great. The class was taken in English and when I enquired about doing a class, they were booked out the following day so I stuck to Stevo’s classes instead. Skiing lessons cost just 60 GEL (£17 / AU $32) for one hour.
10. Fly over the mountains at Gudauri in a paraglider
The landscape is absolutely beautiful at Gudauri ski resort and there’s no better way to see it at its best other than flying over in a paraglider. Although I’d imagine it would be freezing, it looked amazing and we’re a but gutted we didn’t do it now. Prices were around AU$125 per person (£70) and you could easily book this at the ski lift.
If you’re going skiing for the first time, be warned it’s hard work. I wish I was in better shape when we went (I haven’t exercised properly for a while), and didn’t realise how difficult it would be. I honestly thought I’d be skiing down the slopes in no time. I’ve now realised that it will take me a good few visits to a ski resort to get to this stage.
Gudauri ski resort is the perfect long weekend getaway from England or a brilliant holiday on your European travels. I would also recommend spending a few days in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi as it’s beautiful!
Europe’s cheapest ski resort in Georiga
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