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.
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.
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.
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.