While it is snowing again in Ajara, I did a bike-tour in Switzerland - at the 20th of December! Even on 1'200 meters there was almost no snow. It is really time to travel to Ajara to enjoy all the snow they already got. Unfortunately the new ski-area Tetnuldi did not open as planned. From the development team I learned that they postponed the opening until end of January.
However, we will travel to Georgia beginning of January. 1st stop will be Goderdzi Pass and 2nd stop will be the Sanalia Bowl. After that we will decide where to go for the second part of the trip.
On December 8th we have been informed that the SIM-card of our weather station has a failure. It is a problem of the provider. The card supplier is sending us a new card and beginning of January we can change the SIM-cards. Hopefully that is the reason for not transmitting the data.
However, the logger should store the data so that we can download all data in January.
Goderdzi Pass ski area started season with loads of fresh powder. You can find up to date pictures on facebook. The new resort is approximatly 20km northeast of the Sanalia Bowl and has the same climate.
The Goderdzi Pass Team posted some nice pics from the new guest houses:
While we get the first snow in the Alps, there has been already rich snowfall for the past two weeks in Georgia. Everything is white and ready to start the season. One more month and we will be there.
A further option came up. On friday I had a meeting with the Tetnuldi Development Team. Tetnuldi is a mountain of 4'858 meters in Svanetia where a new ski-area is developed. Three lifts between 2'265 and 3'040 meters will be opened in a months time. Allthough most slopes are facing west and south there are some interesting north-facing slopes as well.
For the next years to come it is not very likely that freeriders will ride these slopes in crowds. Therefore, it could be an interesting option to start of with a lodge and a snowcat in proximity of this new resort. The big advantages are that there is always a back up and that the development will be much easier. After establishing a presence in Georgia further developments will be much easier to realise.
Not only since we passed the tracks of a bear, we are concerned about wildlife in the area we want to ski. It is not that we are affraid of bears. Bears use to sleep in the winter and in contrast to polar and grizzly bears, brown bears are not aggressive.
However, we are affraid of disturbing wildlife ourselfs. That is why we talked today with representatives of the WWF Caucasus about our development plans, skiing in general and wildlife in
At Goderdzi Pass we visited the newly finished cottages, which are looking really great. Build in local traditional architecture and local material but modern inside. I like them.
However, so far there are accomodation facilities for less than 100 guests and the lifts have a capacity of more than 2'000 guests per hour.
The site visit in the Sanalia Bowl was ill-fated. It was one week to late. At the beginning of the week the first snow came and for the rest of the week it is supposed to snow almost every
At 1'800 meters we got stuck with our off-road vehicle. The officer of the border police and myself started to hike up the the alp village and the further up to a small abandoned hut of the border police at 2'206 meters.
There we installed the weather station and the time lap camera. That evening the first data transmission was successfull unfortunately it remains the last one as well.
The hut is also a good alternative to sleeping in a tent in the winter as we will be not alone in the bowl. On our way back we passed the tracks of a bear - not older than 30
Back in Tbilisi!
There are some meetings tomorrow in the capital of Georgia. At lunchtime I meet our projectmanager of the Goerian National Investment Agency and then we drive to Ajara. On Tuesday we will hike up in the Sanalia Bowl. Quite exiting to see the bowl the first time with snow.
Today I set up our facebook-page: www.facebook.com/powderproject.ch
I need still to include some more content. But from now on you can like us and the powder project.
Next week is the site visit and promptly it starts to snow. I hope we will be still able to reach the bowl next week.
We are online!
Today www.powderproject.ch became our domain and email@example.com is our new e-mail address. You can contact us anytime.
It is working! Automatic data logging, uploading and downloading.
We will track:
We installed the meteo-instruments in Switzerland for a test. Instruments and sensors are mounted and data recording for test reasons has started.
Automatic uploading of the sensor measurement data is working fine.
Next week we are going back to Georgia to install the instruments in the bowl at around 2.100 Meters to meassure air and soil temperature, humidity and wind speed, direction and gusts.
For documenting snow depth, we are using a timelaps camera.
Today we received the instruments for our meteo-station. In two weeks we want to install the instruments in the bowl in Georgia to track temperature, wind and humidity. With a SMS-controled web-cam we want to document the snow depth. In three weeks we hopefully can put out the first real-time pictures of the bowl on this web-page and watch the snow rise.
We received the first inquiry although we have not jet started. A group of 5-6 German freeriders asked for an offer for this February. This is exactly what we expect for next season: groups of 4 to 6 freeriders book together, use our infrastructure and our knowledge but ski independently by themselves. We are looking forward to start operations ...
We have scheduled the site visit for the first week of November. It is the plan to install a meteo station at the same time. We want to meassure temperature, wind and snow depth to get a good
imprecion about the micro-climate in the bowl. Knowledge about the wind is also crucial to plan the lift line
Today we have had an important conference call with the Georgian Border Patrol headed by our projectmanager at the Georgian National Investment Agency. After the experience at our last exploration tour where we have been stoped by the Border Police, it was important to discuss this issue.
The outcome is very positiv. In general there are no objections by representatives of the Border Patrol. To clearify the locations of lifts and lodge we have agreed on a site visit as soon as possible. This is an important outcome which allows us to install meteo stations in the bowl this autumn and start our snow-exploration tours in December.
First priority is to finalise the concept and complete the business case. For this we are talking with construction firms and financial institutions.
An other issue is the collection of weather data in the winter 2015/16. We are in close contact with suppliers of meteo instruments to find a practical solution. It is planned to build 3 small stations in the Sanalia River Valley.
The second exploration tour ended at the former Soviet/Nato border. It was a full success. We found endless slopes of all levels of difficulty.
Now, we are very impatient waiting for the winter to come. In December we want to be back in Ajara to ride these slopes.
We had some good talks with our project-manager at the Georgian National Investment Agency, tourism experts and a specialist for geophysics who knows the mountains of Georgia better than anybody
Next week starts the second exploration trip.
Goals are to explore the mountains and slopes around the Sanalia River Valley. We also want to learn more about the access roads and natural hazards threatening the mountain roads in the winter. Identification of possible spots for the lodge and lift stations is also on the agenda. It is all about the question how to open up as many lines as safely as possible.
In addition we want to make some more pictures and establish some more contacts with local people. Some meetings with financial institutions are scheduled in Tibilisi.
We are looking forward to visiting Georgia again ...
Back from the first exploration trip. After many kilometers on dirt roads, quite a few Chachas and toasts, we found a promising location in the highlands of Ajara. At the last day of the trip we visited a small Alp-village close to the Turkish border. The valley ends in a huge bowl with a ridge above 2'500 meters. And it is mainly north-facing!
A second bowl is just beside the big one and offers a range of gentle slopes. This is promissing country for freeriders ...
Georgia is a great travel country with friendly, helpful people. Actually we met so many great people that was amazing. And without these people it would not have been possible to find these perfect locations.
The history is rich, the nature is amazing and local food is great. For myself I enjoyed Tibilisi a lot, I like the Old Town and the contrast with the modern buildings and of cause I like the good local red wines. This is the place to travel and we will find out whether it is the place to ski as well...