May The Gods Ski With You - 14 Days
"Greece? Skiing? Since when?!"
- Most people
|Difficulty Rating:||Grade 3 - difficult|
|Season:||Feb, Mar, Apr,|
Greece is certainly not known for its skiing, and we would like to keep it that way! 80% of Greece's landmass is considered 'mountainous', one of the most mountainous countries in Europe. It is home to 20% of all of Europe's 'Ultra Peaks', a peak with over 1500m of prominence. It is incredibly biodiverse and is home to the greatest number of endemic species of all European countries. So why doesn't anyone know about the vast alpine backcountry opportunities in winter?
We believe we can thank Greece's tourism promotion efforts for our ability to be the only people not just on a slope, but on the entire mountain range! If you type "Greece" into a google image search, you'll be confronted with millions of images of Santorini, Zakynthos, beaches, white villages with blue dome roofs, maybe an archeological site and if you're lucky the odd gyros. This is the Greece that everyone sees. Everyone except us.
In March 2019, our May the Gods Ski With You exploratory expedition was a smashing success. As an exploratory expedition, the overall experience, repeatablitiy and comercial/market viability are assessed and if positive, the expedition is refined and repeated as a 'Legacy Expedition'. This expedition didn't just 'tick the boxes' but smashed them out of the ball park! Needless to say, March 2020, we're going back! There are a few refinements, we're going 2 weeks earlier in the season, we've reduced the driving/transit time and spending more time in each location to get a better feel for each venue.
Check out this teaser from Warren Miller's 2014 'No Turning Back'
- Warm up ski in Greece's top Ski Resort
- 9 days skiing backcountry
- 6000m+ of backcountry descent
- Spring skiing - Longer days, bluer skies!
- Backcountry safety equipment included (beacon, probe, shovel)
- Expertly guided by Greece's top backcountry ski instructor
- No backcountry experience required
The below itineray states 9 days skiing in a row and does not have any scheduled rest days. This is to allow for maximmum opportunity to ski during the trip. The itinerary does allow for any of the ski days to be taken as a rest - it is up to you to decided when is appropriate for you!
Day 1: Arrive in Athens. Dinner overlooking the Acropolis.
Day 2: Early start, drive 2hrs to Arachova. Ski Mount Parnassos Ski Centre. Stay in Arachova.
DAY 3: Drive Arachova to Samarina - 5hrs total drive. Possible visit to Delphi and Meteora Monasteries along the way. Stay in Samarina.
DAY 4: Ski Mount Smolikas from Samarina. Stay in Samarina.
DAY 5: Ski Mount Smolikas from Samarina. Drive to Distrato - 1.5hrs. Stay in Distrato or Pades.
DAY 6: Ski Mount Smolikas from Distrato. Stay in Distrato.
DAY 7: Ski Mount Smolikas from Pades/Paleoselli. Drive to Tsepelevo - 1hr. Stay in Tsepelevo.
DAY 8: Ski Mount Tymfi from Tsepelevo. Stay in Tsepelevo.
DAY 9: Ski Mount Tymfi from Skamneli. Drive to Papigo - 1hr 20min. Stay in Papigo.
DAY 10: Ascend to Astraka Refuge, ski to Dragon lake and back to Refuge. Stay in Refuge.
DAY 11: Ski any number of objectives. Return to and stay in Refuge.
DAY 12: Morning ski and descend to Papigo. Stay in Papigo
DAY 13: Transfer back to Athens.
DAY 14: Departure/Onward journey
Day 1: Your arrival day in Athens. We will pick you up from the airport and transfer you our hotel in downtown Athens. Any spare time you have can be spent walking around and exploring the neighbourhoods on the slopes of the Acropolis before we gather in the evening for dinner overlooking the Acropolis.
Day 2: The action starts straight away! We'll depart Athens early and drive 2hrs to Mount Parnassos Ski Centre, the most popular ski resort for Athenians. Think Aspen, Colorado with a Greek twist. The day will be spent skiing in the resort, a great way to warm up, get the feel for the snow conditions and if necessary get some great pointers to fine tune your skiing from one of Greece's best backcountry instructors. We'll spend the night in a comfortable hotel in the nearby village of Arachova and dine in one of the many taverns in town.
DAY 3: A long drive today to reach the highest village in Greece! Samarina sits at 1450m above sea level on the north eastern slopes of Mount Smolikas. The total driving time today will be around 5-5.5hrs but will be broken up with opportunities to visit a number of world class sites along the way. Delphi, Thermopylae and the Monasteries of Meteora are all within reach.
DAY 4: Our first ascent! We will spend the next 4 days skiing Mount Smolikas from a range of different approaches, all the ascents that we will do have descent options for both intermediate and advanced skiers - condition dependent. Today we will ski straight out of the back of Samarina village and get a feel for Greece's backcountry offering. We then return to our hotel in Samarina and head to a tavern!
DAY 5: Day 2 on Smolikas. Our program is carefully planned so that each day of touring offers opportunity to progress with terrain and instruction. After the day skiing, we will transfer around 1.5hrs to Distrato for dinner and settle in for the next 2 nights.
DAY 6: Today we ascend Smolikas from the south/south east near the village of Distrato. Each day we will have a different route to ascend and each day's high point is determained by our speed and determination. Essentially, we keep climbing until we're either tired or reach our turn around time (or the top!) then rest and descend! Return to Distrato for another local wine and dinner at a tavern.
DAY 7: Our last day skiing Smolikas today. We'll head a little further west and ascend from another new route. Depending on conditions we can ski from the nearby villages of Pades or Paleoselli. Tree skiing anyone? At the end of our day we'll take a short 1 hour drive to our next destination, Tsepelevo.
DAY 8: Mount Tymfi's incredible, bare eastern slopes offer us to be imediately above the treeline and on snow directly out of the car. Whats that? No walking? Perfect! Some great terrain options here with the opportunity for some very large ascents (which means long descents!). We will take a mountain road from the back of town and continue driving until the vehicle reaches snow, we then don our skis and continue the ascent! Another big day out then return to Tsepelevo for the night.
DAY 9: Back to Mount Tymfi today, we skirt around its base to the next village and up another mountain road. The distance isnt far but we only need to hop over one ridge and we're in a completely different world! On returning back to the car, we celebrate and then drive around 1.5 hours to our home village of Papigo.
DAY 10: So far our expedition has been based in very comfortable boutique hotels and we have been venturing out on day trips. The next 3 days we're heading out for a back backcountry sortie. We'll spend the next 2 nights staying at a Mountain refuge, perched high on a ridge right below the summit of Mount Astraka. From here a world of opportunities will be presented to us. Choose your own adventure. Do nothing, find some short gentle terrain, eye off some steep technical lines, head out to the Dragon Lake or enjoy a big open bowl. Dinner and the night in the Refuge.
DAY 11: A full day up in the top of the Mountains. If conditions and weather allow, we will attempt to summit Gamila Peak - the highest point of Mount Tymfi. And enjoy a long open run all the way back to the refuge for another night.
DAY 12: It's been a long trip! This morning the pace is on you - we can get up early for some last lines or sleep in and rest. Either way, around midday we'll descend back down to Mikro Papigo and then across to Megalo Papigo where we'll stay for one last night and a fantastic dinner.
DAY 13: We take our time today with a lazy morning, another buffet breakfast and a healthy number of coffee refills before heading off back to Athens. This day is flexible, we can take our time on the drive, stopping and exploring along the way, or blast back to the capital and spend the spare time exploring and learning about the city that gave birth to western civilisation. Tonight's dinner will no doubt be enjoyed from a rooftop watching the sunset over the Acropolis. Just magic...
DAY 14: The time has come to say farewell. If you're on your way home we can deliver you safely to the airport, or assist you with your onward journey. We always recommend planning an extra couple of days before flying home from an expedition, if you do, there are plenty of options we can arrange for you. From day activities to more time skiing, just let us know and we'll make a plan that suits you!
Expedition cost is $5,300* twin share, ex Athens, Greece.
*minimum number of bookings required, see Terms and Conditions for full details
- Airport transfers to Hotel in Athens
- All accommodation as set out in the itinerary
- All breakfasts
- All meals as set out in the itinerary
- Private vehicles for the tour
- Qualified backcountry ski instructor/guide - Guide ratio 1:4 max
- 1 day Ski pass in Parnassos Ski Centre
- Avalanche safety equipment - Beacon, probe, shovel per person
- Refresher instruction on avalanche safety and beacon searches
- All access permits and fees
- Lunch and dinner in Athens - as per itinerary
- Travel Insurance (compulsory) - must cover backcountry skiing
- International Flights to Athens
- Personal clothing and equipment
- Personal backcountry skiing equipment (Touring skis/splitboard, boots, skins)
- Additional personal expenses such as alcohol and additional snacks
- Tips for guides
- Cost raised by cancellation or modification due to events beyond our control, e.g., landslides necessitating trail diversions, weather delays, political unrest, illness, etc.
Note the below items can be added at the time of booking.
The Battles That Shaped the World - Day tourFrom Athens, we'll depart on a long day to learn about 2 major battles that, back in 490bc and 480bc, shaped the world as we know it today. We'll visit the sites, museums and monuments at Marathon and Thermopylae and learn all about the heroic feats of the Greek's fighting back against the overwhelming force of the mighty Persian Empire. Price below is per person, min of 4 people required.
|Difficulty Rating:||Grade 3 - difficult|
|Season:||Feb, Mar, Apr,|