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.
Our objective on this expedition is to earn our place beside Zeus and other Olympian gods by the skiing the 3 Highest peaks in Greece, Gramos, Smolikas and finishing by Zeus' side on Mount Olympus! Our days will be filled with long ascents and incredible descents, pristine views and perfect spring snow. Our nights will be spent in boutique hotels in absolute comfort, feasting in local taverns on fresh traditional dishes and sampling all the local wines.
Check out this teaser from Warren Miller's 2014 'No Turning Back'
- Warm up ski in Greece's top Ski Resort
- 8 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!
Day 1: Arrive in Athens. Food tasting experience overlooking the Acropolis.
Day 2: Early start, drive 2hrs to Arachova. Ski Mount Parnassos Ski Centre. Stay in Arachova.
DAY 3: Drive Arachova to Aetomilitsa - 6hrs. Stop halfway at Meteora Monasteries.
DAY 4: Ski Mount Gramos - Gesos Peak (2100m - 800m ascent). Stay in Aetomilitsa.
DAY 5: Ski Mount Gramos - Chouka Petsik (2520m - 1000m ascent). Stay in Aetomilitsa.
DAY 6: Transfer to Tsepelovo - Ski Goura Peak (2466m - 1000m ascent) Stay in Tsepelovo.
DAY 7: Ski Great Lithara Peak (2467m - 900m ascent) - Stay in Pades.
DAY 8: Day 'off' in Vasilitsa Ski Centre. Option to ascend Gomara peak (2249m), resort ski, or rest day/spa etc.
DAY 9: Transfer to Smolikas, Ascend to Dragon Lake and highest peak (2637m - 1200m ascent). Stay in Distrato.
DAY 10: Drive 3-4hrs to Elassona.
DAY 11: Ascend Skolio peak - Mount Olympus (2911m - 1000m ascent). Stay in Army Huts.
DAY 12: "The Big Traverse" - 5-6hrs over Mount Olympus to Olympiada. Stay in Olympiada.
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 a private food tasting experience on an apartment balcony 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 with an old-world flare. 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 Mountain Ranges of Northern Greece. We'll drive about 3 hours to visit the famous Meteora Monasteries perched high on their granite cliff tops. We'll take a good break here, explore and enjoy lunch before continuing another 3 hours to Aetomilitsa where we will stay the night.
DAY 4: Our first ascent! We will spend 2 days skiing Mount Gramos, today will be Gesos Peak at 2100m, a good warm-up with a mere 800m ascent. All the ascents that we will do have descent options for both intermediate and advanced skiers - condition dependent. We then return to our hotel in Aetomilitsa and head to the tavern!
DAY 5: Day 2 on Gramos we'll ascend 1000m to its highest peak, Chouka Petsik - 2520m. Our program is carefully planned so that each day of touring offers opportunity to progress. Gramos bares the most mild terrain options and is a great way to start with long moderate descents with options for shorter more advanced features. We will again stay in Aetomilitsa.
DAY 6: After 3 nights we depart Aetomilitsa and transfer to Tsepelovo. At around 1200m, in the height of winter, it is not uncommon to ski straight out of the edge of the village. Another 1000m+ ascent to Goura Peak at 2466m. We'll stay in another stunning family owned hotel in Tsepelovo.
DAY 7: Today we ascent another 900m to Great Lithara Peak (2467m). Then a short drive to our next destination, Pades.
DAY 8: After 4 solid days and over 3700m of climbing, we have an optional 'day off' in Vasilitsa Ski Centre. You can choose to rest, enjoy a spa, explore, or rack up your descent meters by skiing in the resort. For those who are keen on another backcountry day, there is an option to ascend Gomara peak (2249m).
DAY 9: After a nice rest yesterday (if you chose it) we'll start early with a transfer to Smolikas, Greece's second highest peak and home to one of 2 'Dragon Lakes' in Greece. The lakes are so called because of a rare endemic species of Alpine Newt that lives in them, said to be ancient descendants of a much larger dragon that once ruled the mountain ranges. We'll climb to the lake, then continue on to the highest peak of Smolikas at 2637m - a whopping 1200m ascent. Smolikas' size makes it one of the most option friendly mountains we'll ski. You can choose your route down according to your skill level. There are bowls, ridges, cliffs, chutes and trees, one not choose them all? We will spend the night in the small village of Distrato.
DAY 10: We rest the legs today as we migrate from the North West to the North East with Mount Olympus in our sights. If the weather is clear we will be able to see Olympus and its massive prominence from quite a distance. A short 3-4 hour drive to Elassona allows for plenty of time for exploration along the way and around the beautiful village when we arrive.
DAY 11: Today is the big day, we ascend into the ancient heavens and visit the Olympian Gods for the first time. From Elassona to climb 1000m to Skolio peak - Mount Olympus' second highest peak at 2911m. If we are fast enough and the conditions are good (and you packed crampons and an ice axe) there may be an opportunity to traverse and then climb to the Mytikas, Olympus' true summit at 2918m. From here, on a clear day, you can see all the way down to the Aegean Sea. We'll then ski down and spend the night in the "Army Huts".
DAY 12: Our last day skiing, we've made it a good one! We'll ascend from our mountain refuge and make "The Big Traverse" - 5-6hrs over Mount Olympus and a long descent down into the Olympus Ski Centre to the village of Olympiada for our last night in a small village hotel.
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 4x4 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 skiing equipment (skis, 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,|