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17 December 2019 / Travel

7 of the Best Snowboarding Places in Turkey

When visiting snowboarding places in Turkey, don’t underestimate the facilities, snowfall, scenery or experiences that await you. While Turkey’s reputation as an ideal beach holiday destination makes people think of sand, sea and sun, the country’s skiing resorts are growing in popularity as Turkey seeks to transform itself into a year-round holiday place.

Turks were one of the first to embrace snowboarding as a sport. However, this isn’t a surprise because residents of the Kackar mountain range used them for decades to get about. Now an Olympic sport, most say the roots began in the 1960s, when a man called Sherman Poppen tied two skis together.

However, people who know their Turkish history often cite Laz villages in the Kackar mountains who used snowboards as far back as 400 years ago. They called it a “lazboard”, and it comprised a rope tied to the front, and the rider would hold a stick at the back to control direction.

Such is the intense discussion; in 2016, the Daily Telegraph published an article asking whether Turks invented snowboarding. Based on a film called “Foothills: The Unlinked Heritage of Snowboarding,” it showed people in villages sitting at 2,000 metres in the Kackar mountains using a device like today’s modern snowboard.

But what is the attraction? Well, often preferred by younger generations, it is not as refined as skiing, but for those who seek an extra adrenaline jump, it is the perfect sport. Turkey’s ski resorts understand this and many embrace snowboarding to tap into another popular winter sports industry.

But where should you go in Turkey to embrace the sport? Well, there are 18 centres, sitting at high altitude. Ideal months to visit are between December to April, but die hard fans should check weather reports for guaranteed snowfall. The bonus is that most centres operate rental shops, so you don’t have to spend a fortune getting kitted out first.

7 of the Best Snowboarding Places in Turkey

1: Palandoken in Erzurum:  Turkey’s Star Performer

The 3,176-meter-high Palandoken mountain had the pleasure of hosting the 2016 FIS championships, therefore, cementing its reputation as Turkey’s best snowboard resort. Sitting in the eastern region of Erzurum, the area is also home to many famous universities hence has the ideal opportunity to market itself to younger generations. As a busy ski and snowboarding mountain resort, the local council invested millions of Turkish lira in artificial snow machines just in case of bad weather, hence you have a guaranteed playground from December to March. Forty-three kilometres of slopes and 13 lifts accompany its grading as ideal for beginners, and anyone planning a trip should check out the official Ejder 3200 website on Google.

2: Saklikent in Antalya: Ski and Swim in 1 day

Antalya’s is Turkey’s 2nd most popular holiday place. This reputation stems from miles and miles of gorgeous beaches, yet head to 2250 meters in the Beydaglari mountain to arrive at Saklikent resort. Rated as ideal for beginners and intermediates, 500 chalets provide overnight accommodation or head back down the mountains in the afternoon to experience snow and sea in one day. The season finishes in mid-April, but February and March are the best months to visit. Don’t think winter in Antalya is just about skiing or snowboarding because plenty more activities provide a diverse holiday should you want to stay or a week or two.

3: Uludag in Bursa: Possibly the Best

In northwest Turkey, Uludag is another mountain resort whose reputation for professionalism spreads near and far. Belonging to the Bursa region, it is not far for Istanbul locals to travel, although many have bought property in Bursa thanks to its reputation for beauty and the great outdoors. Uludag ticks all the boxes because it is near to the city; hence you need not stay overnight to tap into excellent snowboard trails. Twenty-eight slopes and 16 ski lifts sit between altitudes of 1770 and 2322 metres and operate every day during the season from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

4: Mount Erciyes in Kayseri: The Hip Place to Hang Out

This beauty standing at 4000 meters high is a dormant volcano and despite arriving late to Turkey’s snowboard social scene, is fast catching on as the ideal place to practise stunts. As another mountain resort investing millions in ski and snowboard infrastructure, alongside events, festivals, and entertainment, it proved itself as a hip place to be. Fourteen lifts and 55 kilometres of slopes market themselves to all grades of snowboarders making mount Erciyes a perfect all-rounder.

5: Long Snowboard Season in Sarikamis

For diversity and lots of choices, combine a trip to Sarikamis in Kars with nearby Palandoken because there is a short distance between them. This resort, known for its crystallised snow, surrounding pine forest and lack of wind, offers a long winter sports season. Standing at 2364 meters, many know Sarikamis for its quality of snow that can reach up to 200 centimetres. With most grading of slopes ranging from easy to intermediate, Sarikamis delivers with four lifts and 20 kilometres of slopes making it perfect for first-time snowboards.

6: Kartalkaya in the Bolu Province

Sitting in between Ankara and Istanbul, Kartalkaya is a firm favourite of snowboarders. Although snow quality and infrastructure receive top marks, the stunning landscape scenery is a bonus. Kartalkaya also delivers for experienced snowboarders with off-track slopes, 20 kilometres of slopes and eight lifts. For overnight visits, choose from 5 hotels in the main resort, or boutique hotels within a 20-minute drive, and look forward to a decent après-ski session.

7: Mount Yildiz

Translating into Star Mountain, snowboarders love Mount Yildiz in the Sivas province. Also offering sledging and skiing options, it was a latecomer to the winter sports tourism industry but is fast catching on. Having invested millions in infrastructure, they aim to be alongside others as one of Turkey’s best mountain resorts. Annually hosting competitions, few foreigners go there, but it is a firm favourite with Turks because it offers some of Turkey’s lowest prices.

Further Reading

The Best Time to Visit Turkey: The country wants to become a year-round destination for tourism, and in this article, we discuss the best time to visit depending on your budget, and holiday preferences. From winter skiing to trekking, hiking and beach holidays, Turkey is open all seasons.

Celebrating New Year in Turkey: Head to any snowboarding places in Turkey at New Year and expect to join in a fun-filled festive event with big parties. Turks celebrate the occasion with style, and on a grand scale making it one of the country’s most important days.

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