Skiing in Greece

Although the Swiss Alps are still number one for European skiers, Greece’s slopes are giving Switzerland a run for the money. The snow may be wetter than one would like, and snow-making is limited, but the December to April ski season in Greece offers ski enthusiasts the enviable attractions of stellar views, endless sun, and excellent ski options. There are around 20 ski resorts in Greece. Most are small, but a handful are larger operations with more challenging trails, ski schools, rental shops, night skiing, and big lodges.

Here are a few of the best:

Central Greece
The country’s biggest ski center, Parnassos is located 180 km from Athens. Parnassos is made up of two sections (Kellaria Mountain and Fterolaka Mountain). Kellaria features mostly easy and intermediate trails while Fterolaka’s seven trails include the 1,500-meter black (expert) Sahara trail. Expect traffic and long lines on weekends and holidays. You can take a virtual tour and get the rates visiting www.parnassos-ski.
Northern Greece
Thessaloniki residents looking for a day on the slopes head to Seli ,95 km away. Fifty thousand skiers a year visit the resort. There is on-the-premises lodging, a small base village, and easy driving access. Lift rates: 13 euros weekends and holidays; 10 euros daily.
Farther north, 17 km from Naoussa, is tree-flanked 3-5 Pigadia, which typically welcomes 65,000 visitors a year. It can satisfy advanced and cross-country skiers alike. There’s a snowboarding park and two rental shops. Weekend visitors can combine skiing there, or at Seli, with a visit to the wine-producing city Naoussa (18 kms from both). Visit www..3-5pigadia.gr/ for more info.Thirty-nine km northwest of the town of Edessa, at the border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, is Greece’s highest center,Kaimaktsalan (or “Voras”), which offers 25,000 skiers a year the best dry, fluffy snow in the country. There are areas for snowboarding and snowtubing, and for those who want something to warm their bones, there’s a bar. Bad weather can close the lifts and the winding mountain road leading to the center. www.kaimaktsalan.gr The top spot for skiing in northeastern Greece is Falakro, which is visited by more than 30,000 skiers each year. True to its name, which means “bald” in Greek, the resort features wide, obstacle-free trails. You’ll also find three lodges. It is accessed by a winding mountain road. www.falakro.gr.
Peloponnese
The ski center closest to Athens is Mainalo, 162 km from Athens. 80,000 visitors flock to the center annually. The snowboard park has been expanded, and a new lodge and two new lifts are in the works.  www.mainalo-ski.gr.
Kalavrita Ski Center, 25 km south of the coastal town of Diakofto, opened on Mt. Helmos in 1988. Seven lifts and 12 trails (of all skills levels) include the 1,400-meter Stiga 1 and a good 2,200-meter Stiga 2 trail. Moguls, off-trail skiing, cross-country skiing, snow tubing, and free beginners’ lifts make this a must-do for skiiers. Despite good organization and fast lifts, there are often long lines and prices are high. Skiers are wise to rent less expensive equipment in town before heading to the resort. www.kalavrita-ski.com.
Tips for Skiiers:
*Call ski centers before leaving home to make sure they are open. Many (but not all) are open only on weekends and holidays;
*Budget 10-15 euros to rent boots/skis/poles and 20 euros per day for snowboard rentals. Ski lessons are about 25-30 euros per hour;
*Visit www.snowreport.gr for info, snowcam photos, and weather updates;
*Always carry car chains;
*Klaoudatos ski buses (Athens tel. 30-210-5781880 and Thessaloniki tel.30-2310-264163) are available between Athens and Parnassos, Kalavrita, and Mainalo and between Thessaloniki and Seli and Elatohori.

Here is the map with the mountains, ski resorts with the lifts and slopes.

Posted by: TEO
Created by: SUSO

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