How is the skiing?
The terrain in the areas we operate is varied, and offer great riding for both experienced riders, and for those who are fairly new to ski-touring/splitboarding. Svaneti receives regular low pressures with snowfall, and January and February are normally the best months for powder-skiing. Spring-skiing usually starts in late February. With 10 hours of daylight already in January the ski-touring season starts early in Svaneti. We can offer big lines, mellow lines and everything in between. There is also excellent treeskiing in Svaneti for days of low visibility, and we use both local villages as well as the local ski-resorts during days of heavy snowfall. For more information on the terrain please contact us and we will provide you with more information
For Norwegian customers: Er Svaneti Backcountry medlem av Reisegarantifondet?
Ja, Svaneti Backcountry er medlem av Reisegarantifondet.
We want to stay longer in Georgia after our tour is finished. Could you organise this?
We would be happy to help you with a prolonged stay in Svaneti and Georgia. Through our local partners and our years of experience in Georgia we have a vast network to offer additional adventures. Please let us know about your preferences and we will tailor a program for you.
What languages are spoken in Svaneti?
The official language in Georgia is Georgian, but in Svaneti they also have their own ancient language, Svan. Svan is an unwritten language spoken by between 30 000 and 80 000 people. In addition, some people speak Russian, especially the ones who gained their education during the Soviet Union. Some people speak English, but not many. Among the younger generation it is more common that people speak English, especially since they included English in the curricula in Georgian schools.
What is the waiver of liability?
As a requirement for every group making a booking with us, all group members are required to sign a liability waiver form when they book a tour with us. This document is a contract that states that you are aware of the hazards inherent to backcountry recreating and that you relinquish your rights to sue Svaneti Backcountry and our subcontractors. All guests are required to read the waiver (preferably before arriving for your trip) and complete and sign it prior to arrival in Svaneti.
Do you have any rental gear?
No. Unfortunately we do not have any rental gear. All group members need to bring complete touring and avalanche gear. Minimum requirement of avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe.
Are you open for booking for splitboarders?
Yes. Splitboarders are very welcome to join us on our tours!
Is it possible to get picked up at another location than the airport?
Yes. We can pick-up and return you to another location than the airport. Please let us know your travel schedule and we will organise according to your needs.
I have specific dietary needs. What should I prepare for?
Svan cuisine is simple, and in wintertime it can be a challenge to be vegetarian in Svaneti. Since most Svan families are self-sustaining, the meals in summer and autumn will be based on harvested vegetables and fruit, while in wintertime it is mostly based on bread, meat, potatoes, root fruits etc. For strict vegans and vegetarians it can be challenging to travel in Svaneti. Due to the limited access to vegetables and fruit in the villages where we operate, a vegetarian diet would consist mainly of bread, potates, root fruits, cheese etc. For vegans it would be challenging to follow a Svan diet without own supplements. We recommend all vegetarians and vegans to bring their own energy bars, nuts, etc to ensure a healthy diet. Please let us know beforehand about your specific dietary restrictions/preferences so we can do our best to meet your needs. Also note that all health conditions and allergies must be noted on the registration form.
How is the accommodation in Svaneti?
The accommodation in Svaneti is in traditional Svan guesthouses, family-owned hotels, and with private host-families. The guesthouses are simple but cozy, and every day you will be served traditional Svan meals to get that genuine Svaneti experience. Svan people are very welcoming, and your host families will do everything to make sure you have a great stay. In wintertime only the main-room in the house will be fully heated. There will be heaters in the sleeping quarters, but we recommend that you bring a warm sleeping bag that is meant for winter use.
What should I bring?
Please see our recommended packing list for more information.
What insurances do I need?
We highly recommend you purchase medical, cancellation and travel insurance when you book a trip with us. In the event of an accident where evacuation is necessary, payment of any rescue or evacuation costs will be the responsibility of the injured party. The closest hospital is in Mestia, but a potential evacuation might require a helicopter. Make sure your insurance covers that possibility.
What are your cancellation/refund policies?
Any cancellations received 60 days prior to the start date for the group will be issued a refund, minus the 30 % deposit. Cancellations received less then 60 days before the start date are non-refundable unless we are able to rebook the cancelled spaces at the full terms of the original reservation. If this occurs we will provide a full refund, minus the 30 % deposit. We highly recommend you purchase a trip cancellation insurance when you place a booking with us.
Svaneti Backcountry reserves the right to cancel tours at any time due to unsettling political/social/environmental events, in which case we will offer a full refund. Svaneti Backcountry additionally reserves the right to cancel tours due to inadequate signups, in which case we will offer a refund in full; however, we cannot be responsible for any additional expenses incurred in preparing for the trip (i.e. airline tickets, equipment purchase etc.) Svaneti Backcountry cannot offer refunds for missed reservations, early departures, inclement weather/extreme avalanche danger, or snow conditions.
How much backountry/touring experience is needed?
The terrain in Svaneti is varied and it offers great skiing for basically all skill levels. However, we recommend that all group members are confident backcountry skiers/riders with minimum 1 year experience of ski-touring, and that your skill level is from intermediate and up. During our guided tours our will guide will ensure that you will get riding according to your skills and abilities. Bottom line is that Svaneti Backcountry can accommodate basically every need, and if you are in doubt please contact us and we will assist you in finding the right tour for you.
What are the physical requirements?
All group members on our guided ski-tours must be in good physical condition, and be confident skiers/riders. For all of our skiing we start at around 2000 meters above sea level. Most of the skiing involves climbing up to between 2800 and 3500 meters above sea level. Due to the elevation and climbing we recommend that any group making a booking with us prepare physically for the trip. All group members booking a tour with us must also prepare for long days out, and carrying their own backpack and gear.
What group sizes do you offer?
For guided tours we require a minimum of 4 persons. For our guided-tours with 2 guides we can host up to 8 people per group.
Do I need a visa to enter Georgia?
Foreign nationals, who permanently reside in the USA, the Republic of Lithuania, Swiss Confederation, Federative Republic of Germany, Republic of Korea, Czech Republic, Republic of Hungary, Republic of Poland, Republic of Slovenia, Kingdom of Denmark, Island, Kingdom of Norway, Kingdom of Sweden, Kingdom of Spain, Republic of Bulgaria, Slovak Republic, Republic of Romania, Republic of Estonia, Republic of Latvia and possess a document certifying permanent residence in one of these countries, do not need visa to enter and stay on the territory of Georgia up to 360 days.
The citizens of Russian Federation do not need visa to enter and stay on the territory of Georgia up to 90 days.
The citizens of the member states of European Union can enter Georgia on the basis of the Identity Card.
Foreign nationals who have a multiple entry US, EU or Schengen member states visas, which have validity for one year or more and had been used once at least, can enter or stay on the territory of Georgia without visa up to 90 days, within the validity term of the visa.
Please check the Ministry og Foreign Affairs of Georgia for the latest updated information.
(Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia)
Is it safe?
Yes. Georgia and Svaneti have experienced a major stabilisation and development during the last 10 years, and is now one of the booming tourism-destinations in Europe.
The safety of our travellers is our first priority, and in the event of any cancellations due to major political or societal events we will offer a full refund, and issue information well in advance. Svaneti Backcountry is always keeping updated through in country contacts, embassies, and media reports, and we continuously assess the situation in cooperation with our partners.
Do you offer tours to individual travellers or smaller groups than 4 persons?
For guided tours you can book as an individual traveller or a smaller group than 4 persons as long as there is availability. Please note that we have a minimum requirement of 4 persons to organise our tours, and if there are less than 4 people signed up we might cancel the tour.