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Spotlight Article

Skiing in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan America Alliance
February 02, 2015

 

 

On January 8th and 9th the first snow of winter visited Azerbaijan. Baku, the nation’s capital, rarely sees snow and public transportation was interrupted. However, up in the mountainous regions of Azerbaijan the snow was wonderful news for the Mount. Shahdag Resort. The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources reported 15 cm of snowfall making the world class resort located in the largest National Park in Azerbaijan a winter wonderland.

Mount Shahdag resort, Azerbaijan’s first and largest winter resort, has 19 ski slopes that provide a variety of terrain for all skill levels. The mountain usually has impressive snow quality due to the reliable snowfall and regular snowmaking, but after a dry start to the beginning of the 2015 season beautiful natural powder has arrived. In addition to skiing and snowboarding visitors can also enjoy snowmobiling, zip lining, mountain segwaying, horseback riding, and snowshoeing.

The Shahdag Mountain Resort is boasts world class accommodations including hotels, spas, apartments and restaurants; however the real attraction is the National Park the resort is nestled within.  The park is one of many National Parks in Azerbaijan, which now make up 10.3% of the nation’s territory. The resort was built in 2012, but the park was established in 2006 and. By the decree of President Ilham Aliyev the park was enlarged from 1,159 km2 (447 square miles) to 1,305 km2 (503 square miles) in 2010, making it the largest national park, not only in Azerbaijan, but in the entire Caucasus Region.

A new Gondola at the complex has attracted more tourists to the mountain and increased the peak of the skiable slopes from 1435 meters (4708.01 feet) to 2100 meters (6889.764 feet). The resort is only three years old but quickly gaining popularity in Azerbaijan.  Last year Mount Shahdag hosted more than 85,000 tourists, this year the resort expects to host more than 100,000. The New Year’s holidays gave the resort a strong start with 10,000 tourists visiting during their vacations. 

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