A new era for winter tourism is about to begin – Turkey is ready to challenge Europe’s famous ski centers! Turkey has restructured its winter tourism strategy to showcase its winter tourism potential to the whole world. We invite you to experience Turkish luxury ski resorts decked out in their finest white. Discover ski tracks and resorts in Turkey and give your five senses a feast: see, taste, smell, touch, and listen! PHOTOS: Onur SAĞSÖZ

PalandOken Skı Center Waıtıng For You

Palandöken Ski Center is a ski resort for alpine skiing and snowboarding on the Palandöken Mountain in Erzurum Province, eastern Turkey. On the road from Erzurum to the summit, the Palandöken Ski Resort is located at the mountain village of Başköy at an altitude of 2,100 m. The distances between the lift station and Erzurum is 4 km.

The ski trail is the longest in Turkey. Due to the quality of the snow (a fine-grained light powder), steepness of the slopes, and the length of the trail, Palandöken is known as the best mountain in Turkey for skilled skiers. The toughest run is on the backside of the mountain, known as the Ejder (Turkish for “Dragon”) trail. Due to fog and the risk of an avalanche, the Ejder lifts and trails are sometimes closed. The skiing season can begin in November and last as long as June. In 2008-2010, more lifts were opened. Currently, there are a total of 8 lifts, and the trails have been improved.

The ski center is situated 7 km southwest of Erzurum, and was built for the 2011 Winter Universiade. Its base is at 2,200 m and the top elevation is 3,176 m. In addition to a gondola lift, there are five chairlift lines serving all 22 pistes on different slopes on a skiable area of 460 hectares. The skiing season usually begins in late October and, in the higher regions, ends in the first weeks of May.

The Ejder and Kapıkaya runs are the longest. They are Olympic-sized and are suitable for slalom skiing and giant slalom disciplines. The total length of the runs is 28 km with the longest one being 12 km long and having an elevation difference of 1,100 m.

The runs of Palandöken Ski Resort are served by aerial lifts (eight chairlifts of various size and one gondola lift) with a total hourly transport capacity of 8,100 skiers. Accommodation is available at the hotels at the ski resort and in the city. The runs are illuminated so that skiing is possible when darkness sets in at about 16:00 local time. In January 2017, the lighting system was improved for enhanced visibility.

In 2011, Erzurum hosted the 25th Winter Universiade. The alpine skiing competition took place at the newly constructed Konaklı Ski Resort, while the freestyle skiing and snowboarding competitions were held at the Palandöken Ski Resort. In December 2012, the operation rights were transferred from the Turkey Ski Federation to the Youth Services and Sports Directorate of Erzurum Province. The ski resort’s operation was transferred to the Erzurum Metropolitan Municipality in September 2016. PHOTOS: Onur SAĞSÖZ