New Year, old drought: Snowfall skips Türkiye’s most ski resorts

Celebrating the New Year in ski resorts is widely popular among Turkish holidaymakers and foreign tourists. However, in many ski resorts across Türkiye, snowfall has been lower than expected. Some resorts have “resorted” to pumping artificial snow on dry slopes to attract visitors, but operators are urging visitors to make advance bookings as they expect a steady flow of holidaymakers in the New Year.

Climate change has certainly brought many challenges to the fore and has severely affected the country’s ski resorts as major winter tourist attractions are yet to fully resume their business due to delayed snowfall. However, Türkiye is still positive and except for heavy snowfall to welcome the New Year and meet people’s demands.

At Palandoken Ski Center, located at about 3,176 meters (10,419.95 ft) above sea level in Erzurum, “artificial snowfall” and “snow storage” techniques were used due to delayed snowfall this year. Hotel occupancy rates at Palldecken, the first ski resort in Turkey to open for the season using the system implemented in the Alps, reached 90% before the New Year.

Hotel customers will welcome 2023 with a live concert, fireworks display and torch skiing event.

Occupancy rates of hotels at Ercyes Ski Center, one of the most important winter tourist destinations in Kayseri, reached 92%. Both domestic and foreign tourists enjoy skiing in the centre, where the snow depth is up to 50 centimeters (19.69 inches). The season started four days ago. On New Year’s Eve, hotels in the region, run at full capacity, entertain guests with various interesting activities.

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Meanwhile, at Kurtalkaya ski center at the summit of the Koroglu Mountains in Bolu at 2,200 meters, lighter-than-expected snowfall kept three of five hotels open, while two others filled their runways and welcomed guests. “Artificial Snow.”

As for the Kartep Ski Center, even at the top of the Samanli Mountains in Kokeli, there was not enough snow this year. Therefore, 11 ski tracks could not be activated there. Kartepe Ski Center Track Manager, Tanner Tamer said, “Due to less than expected snow, our ski facilities at Kartepe are currently closed. However, our reservations are open and regular vacationers are waiting to enjoy the ski activities we have to offer.”

Uludag, one of the most important centers of winter tourism in Bursa, plans to open its ski center on December 15. But the schedule could not be followed due to lack of total snowfall. As a result, the holidaymakers canceled their plans.

Merga Butan Ski Center in Hakkari awaits ski lovers with its four-star hotel, chairlift system and track areas. At the ski center at an altitude of 2,800 meters, only 20 centimeters of snow has been recorded this year, but the center is expected to start the season with snowfall forecast.

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The Succulent Ski Center, known as “The Uludag of Antalya”, is expected to receive the first snow of the year. In Saklakant, 47 kilometers (29.2 mi) from the city center and above Bedaglari, accommodation services other than hotels, pensions and rented houses are available. “New Year’s Eve is celebrated differently at Antalya Peak. This year, the snowfall is coming late. But we have a week ahead. We will open our tracks with a good snowfall,” said hotel manager Kyuma Ojaidan.

Likewise, Salda Ski Center on the Eseler Plateau on the borders of Burdur’s Yesilova District has yet to receive snowfall, so no preparations have been made for New Year’s Eve. Located at an altitude of 2,079 m, the ski center has an 8,860 m chair lift line and five tracks with a length of 1,000 and 1,500 m.

The hotels of Sebiltepe Ski Center, located in the Scots pine forests in the Sarikamas district of Kars, have completed their preparations for the New Year. At the summit of Sibiltepe at an altitude of 2,634 meters, the snow depth reaches 30 centimeters. On the second stage tracks, the snow depth was measured to be 20 cm. Cancellations were earlier reported due to insufficient snowfall at the ski resort, where reservation rates were at 50% ahead of the New Year.

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Occupancy rates are reported at 90% at Zigana Ski Center, the pearl of winter tourism in the Eastern Black Sea region. The center will receive snow on New Year’s Eve when there is no sign of snow when the report is submitted. On the other hand, Trabzon’s Uzungol Tourism Center and Rise’s Ider Plateau, which lack ski facilities, are among the region’s top destinations for winter tourism. According to reports, reservations for New Year’s Eve at both centers have exceeded 90%.

Ilgaz Mountain Ski Center between Kustumonu and Kankiri also did not record enough snowfall this year, so the ski season in the area is still closed. It is reported that the new season will begin with the snow depth gradually reaching 80 cm. Different lengths of tracks at Ilgaz Ski Center and Ilgaz 2-Yurduntepe Ski Center offer ski lovers a fun winter vacation. Mount Ilgaz is 40 kilometers from Kastamonu and 200 kilometers from Ankara.

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