Kaçkar Mountains attract heli-skiing enthusiasts from many countries
Skiers from many nations will soon flock to Kaçkar Mountains in Turkey's northeastern province of Rize as the new heli-skiing season begins in two weeks.
Bookings for this season far exceeded the reservations placed last year, according to local officials.
Athletes from Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Canada, the U.S. and Russia have registered to take part in the event.
Kaçkar Mountains have been hosting adventurous skiers for more than 10 years and this year it offers an alternative to heli-skiing enthusiasts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many athletes turned to Kaçkar Mountains this year as Europe is struggles with the coronavirus pandemic.
Skiers and snowboarders, taken by two helicopters, will be left at mountains' peaks and start descending through the untouched snow. When they reach the destination, the helicopters will lift them once again to the top of the mountain for other rounds throughout the day.
"We are ready to welcome the skiers. All preparations have been completed. We are expecting more skiers than the last year," said Esra Alemdaroğlu, regional director of culture and tourism department in Rize.
The teams are paying between 7,000 euros to 10,000 euros for each athlete.
"The number of heli-skiing enthusiasts is increasing by the year. This event gives a boost to local tourism. We are hosting skiers from January to April," Alemdaroğlu said.
She noted that athletes from Canada and the U.S. will also be attending the event this year.
"They share their activities in the Kaçkar Mountains on social media platforms, which help promote our city and encourage people to experience heli-skiing," Alemdaroğlu added.