FREERIDE TOURING MACEDONIA: 2021-02-27 - 2021-03-06

Freeride touring in Macedonia - week 1

27.02.2021 - 06.03.2021

Due to the Covid-19 situation, in the following ski season 2020/21 we guarantee full refund in case of cancelation caused by the restriction or ban. Please do book the flights with cancelation insurance to protect your money fully. Lets' hope for the best but be ready for worse! 

The mountains of North Macedonia are not the first place you would consider a backcountry ski touring or splitboarding expedition. However an enviable snow record, lack of local freeriders and limited tourism combined with it’s stunning food, friendly locals and low prices make it an adventurous destination you should visit before word gets out.

 

The Snowbusters Macedonia Ski Expedition is a two week trip that explores the best skiing North Macedonia has to offer. We will combine time in ski resort accessed backcountry and remote skinning in four different Macedonian destinations. It will be a ski road trip that helps you understand (and love!) this interesting country that is a melting pot of different cultures.

 

Touring in North Macedonia is not easy, so you should have previous experience and very good fitness. Below is a rough itinerary, the final plan will vary dependent on the weather and snow conditions to ensure you make the most of your time with Snowbusters. All plans are adaptable to the group's needs so it can be made easier or more difficult.

 

SAFETY & AVALANCHES

 

During the week we spend a lot of time learning about safety in the mountains. Specifically, how to avoid an avalanche through understanding conditions, reading snow profiles and simple snow stability tests. You’ll learn how to perform an avalanche rescue if things go wrong along with some useful first aid.

 

Although there is some theory, most of it is taught in real life situations on the mountain. Snowbusters will demonstrate how to organize a group avalanche rescue and you’ll take part in rescue simulations. This includes multiple backfilling, digging victims and hypothermic treatment.

 

Day 1 Arrival day

  • Collection from Skopje Airport and transfer to resort.

 

Day 2 to 4: Popova Shapka

  • We base ourselves in the rustic Mountain Hut Konak, which is right on the slopes of Popova Sapka ski resort in the Šar Mountains of northern North Macedonia. It is a small ski area with 20km of pistes and 9 lifts. But while we might make use of the lifts our goals are the surrounding backcountry.
  • There are several excellent touring locations in the area we can choose from depending on the groups experience and conditions. Tours of 6 to 10 hours with a vertical gain of around 1000m are possible with some great lines to ski. 
  • Transfer to Mavrovo.

 

Day 4 to 6: Mavrovo

  • Another ski resort in the northern part of the country, Mavrovo has around 25 km of slopes and 14 lifts. We will be staying at the basic, but comfortable, Ski Hut Gorica which has excellent access to Mavrovo National Park. There will be a little driving to access the best touring but nevermore than an hour.
  • The terrain here is easier for touring, with steady approaches to some moderately steep couloirs and interesting features. Nearby is Mount Korab, it is a full day tour but you get to ski one of the best lines in Macedonia – a huge 5km long gully with a vertical difference of 860m and average steepness of 25 to 30 degrees.

 

Day 7: Rest day

  • At times this trip will be pretty intense. There will be a lot of skinning every day so fatigue will build up. So we have factored in a rest day in which you can just relax or do some low key cultural activities. However this could be moved depending on the conditions.

 

Day 8 to 10: Mount Pelister

  • Next we head to southern North Macedonia and set up base near Mount Pelister (aka Baba Mountain). There are a range of classic tours to reach the 2601m peak, with a prominence of over 1500m it is hugely rewarding. The routes down from the summit are long and varied. As the third highest peak in the country there is often great powder. Lower down there’s excellent skiing through the forest. In bad weather we can visit nearby Ski Centar Kopanki.

 

Day 11 to 13: Jablanica Mountains

  • The Jablanica Mountains are on the Albanian border, reaching up to 2,257m they are an undiscovered gem. Even by the low key Macedonian standards this area is below the ski radar. It is sure to become very popular in the future and you can be one of the pioneers! Based in a small village at the foot of the mountain we will stay in either a listed house or mountain hut.
  • There are some exceptional areas to tour in the Jablanica Mountains with a range of aspects available for all conditions. There are couloirs, steep faces, moderately steep slopes and great tree skiing. We will fit in two excellent descents each day.
  • Transfer to Skopje Airport.


In addition to the scheduled rest day you will probably wish to take it easy on two other days. We will plan this around the conditions and how everyone is feeling. In most places there is the option of a day resort skiing to give your legs a break. Anyway we will be there to provide full 6/12 days of kick ass skiing / snowboarding without any compromise.

 

 

 

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North Macedonia

 

What you need to know

  1. Designed as a poor and only freeride touring experience without any compromises.
  2. Make sure you are fit, confident steep runs skier. No previous free ride / ski touring experience. Get in touch with us if you have any doubts.
  3. This is a skiing trip and our number one goal is to maximize your time spent on the slope learning. Of course there is always time for après-ski beer.
  4. We want you to worry as less as possible so we are fully available to assist you in all ways possible.

Typical day

Coffee, tea, breakfast, morning yoga, jogging, ... or what ever morning routine you are use to.

6 - 8 am
8.30 am

Heading off to the adventure of the day.

Time to tour up and ride it deep and steep.

8.30 am - 4 pm
5 pm

Après-ski beer / vine. We sort out the plan for next day.

Planning the next day (avalanche forecast, route planning, ...)

6 pm
7 - 8 pm

Possibly meeting for communal dinner.

Drinks, bit of party, sleep. But it is only a suggestion ;)

8 - 10 pm

What’s included

  • 12 days ski & snowboard guiding and coaching
  • Shared accommodation in self catering motorhomes

EXCLUDED

  • Ski / snowboard rentals
  • Travel expanses 
  • Skiing/snowboarding insurance
  • Food and drinks

WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?

You should bring your personal ski or snowboard freeride touring equipment (skis with touring bindings, splitboard, skins, telescopic poles, ...), avalanche set, head lamp and ski or snowboard clothing. 

FOOD

This trip is flexible regarding food. We can either shop for groceries and cook communially or do it all individually. Alternatively there are many cheap restaurants serving traditional food. Macedonia is a cultural melting pot with a wide range of influences on its cuisine and you can get excellent meals without breaking the bank.

Accommodation

Shared accommodation will be organized in mountain huts, ...

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GUIDES / COACHES

ALL THE DATES

27.02.2021 - 06.03.2021 990€ BOOK ONLINE
06.03.2021 - 13.03.2021 990€ BOOK ONLINE
27.02.2021 - 13.03.2021 1,590€ BOOK ONLINE
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