The Ultimate Guide to Erciyes Ski Resort

Turkey is famous for its sandy beaches, blue water, and summer resorts. However, it is also an excellent option for skiers and snowboarders worldwide.

Ogün Köprülü
Ogün Köprülü 2022-10-20
Kayseri Erciyes

General Information about Erciyes

Turkey is famous for its sandy beaches, blue water, and summer resorts. However, it is also an excellent option for skiers and snowboarders worldwide.

Mount Erciyes, also known as Argaeus, rises over Kayseri, home to Turkey’s largest ski resort. Mount Erciyes is the highest point in Anatolia, reaching an elevation of 3.917 meters.

Mount Erciyes is a volcano, and Cappadocia’s famous fairy chimneys (rock formations) formed due to the lava and ash that erupted from it. However, this was decades ago, and, as per recent studies, it is currently inactive and considered extinct.

How to reach Erciyes?

Erciyes mauntain
Erciyes mauntain Photo: wikimedia.org

Erciyes Ski Center is located in Kayseri, in the middle of Turkey. Erciyes is easily accessible thanks to the many direct flights that leave from airports across Turkey and Europe. Travelers from all over the world flock to the hour-long trip connecting Istanbul and Kayseri. Turkish Airlines, Pegasus, and Corendon are your direct flight options.

It takes only 25 minutes between the airport and the ski resort. This makes Erciyes even more attractive. The width of the road will make you feel like you are going on the highway, not as if you are going to the ski resort. But, of course, with a much more beautiful view!

Especially in snowy weather, the process of opening the roads is carried out at great speed. In this way, even if you stay in the city, transportation to the ski resort with a vehicle with winter tires will not be a problem at all.

Erciyes Ski Season

Erciyes Ski Season
Erciyes Ski Season, Photo: Kayseri Erciyes A.Ş.

Erciyes's ski season typically begins in late November and lasts until early April. For example, in the 2021 season, the resort was open from late December to mid-April.

Of course, these dates may change according to the weather conditions of that year. January to mid-March are the snowiest months and always offer a delightful skiing experience each season.

When arranging a ski vacation, skiers and snowboarders become suspicious about March. Visiting a facility for the first time amplifies this skepticism immensely. However, the elevation of the slopes at Erciyes ranges from 3,446 meters to 2,210. Due to the slopes’ height, snow can last well into April. If you are an off piste fan, then you must read our comprehensive Erciyes off piste guide.

Before noon in March, skiers and snowboarders can always enjoy the slopes. However, the snow on some of the lower slopes might start to soften as early as noon on warm days.

In conclusion, March is a great time to go skiing in Erciyes, so go ahead and book that vacation.

Erciyes Ski Resort

Erciyes Ski Resort
Erciyes Ski Resort, Photo: Kayseri Erciyes A.Ş.

With its 150 kilometers of skiable terrain, Erciyes is the biggest ski resort in Turkey. The facility has 41 slopes, and more are regularly added.

The resort has 12 high-speed chairlifts and two gondolas. Many of the chairlifts are brand-new, with heated seats and wind-protecting bubbles.

In addition, the facility has two magic carpets, which is an excellent opportunity for beginners to learn.

According to color, pistes at Erciyes are graded from simplest to most challenging: blue, red, and black. 35% of the groomed ski area has a blue difficulty level, 52% has a red level, and 14% has a black level. Although most of the tracks were on the red difficulty level, I think the majority of them should have been blue.

There are four distinct areas in Erciyes. In order of proximity to the city center, these areas are Hacılar Kapı, Hisarcık Kapı, Tekip Kapı, and Develi Kapı. Kapı means gate in Turkish. So let's check out each of these areas individually.

There are four distinct regions in Erciyes. In order of proximity to the city center, these areas are Hacılar Kapı, Hisarcık Kapı, Tekip Kapı, and Develi Kapı. Turkish for "gate" is kapı.

Let's look at each of these areas individually.

Hacılar Gate:

Skiing here is recommended for experienced skiers since it has some of the longest and most technical slopes. In this area, race teams also practice. Alongside rocky, steep tracks, off-piste skiing is also possible.

Compared to other regions, this one has fewer restaurants than other regions, and the ones that exist are of lower quality. Therefore, we recommend you pick another region for lunch.

Last but not least, both skiers and pedestrians can use this gondola. Many locals visit Hacılar Kapı, especially on weekends, to ride the gondola and view the city from above. Naturally, this lengthens the gondola queue.

Hisarcık Gate:

Our favorite slopes in Erciyes are at Hisarcık Kapı, so we generally prefer this place. The longest technical slopes, after Hacılar Kapı, are found in Hisarcık Kapı. You can reach the resort’s most challenging black tracks via the Divan and Ottoman lifts. The Ottoman lift will take you up to 3,400 meters. Besides the groomed tracks, this region has determined areas for off-piste skiing. We like to snowboard here the most, among other areas.

There is also a beginner slope, but it is much smaller than the one in Tekir, so Tekir is more suitable for the beginner level.

Not only in Hisarcık Kapı, but among all Erciyes slopes, the best slope is track number 18. It is a 2.100-meter track, the first section of which is difficult, and the second section is of medium difficulty. You have to use the Divan lift to reach this runway.

If you are looking for slightly easier slopes, then you can use the ones by taking the Keven lift. Also, Keven lift, which connects Tekir and Hisarcık Gates, has two different slopes, number 11 - easy and number 9 - medium difficulty. Both are very enjoyable slopes.

If you want to cross from Hisarcık to Hacılar, the connection is a bit arduous; You go up with the back chairlift and slide down track number 6, then take the Karakulak Chairlift and slide down again to reach Hacılar. The tracks here are not very enjoyable as they are generally for connection purposes; just remember that the black track 8 next to the back chairlift is a nice but challenging track.

Tekir Gate:

All slopes here are at the beginner level and are preferred by those new to skiing and for those still learning. To go to the slopes at Tekir Kapı, you must first get on the gondola. Similar to Hacılar Kapı, this gondola allows non-skiers to ride as well. However, this causes it to get congested, especially on weekends. Therefore, during peak hours, we advise skiing at other gates.

Develi Gate:

There are two lifts at this gate, namely the Kaniş and Kültepe lifts. If you are a beginner, then Kaniş is for you. However, the prominent lift of the Develi gate is Kültepe because the 2.370-meter-long FIS Snowboard World Cup slope is located here.

There is a plan to build a snowpark here, but we will see whether it turns into reality or not this season.

You can have on and off-piste experience in this place. However, it is mainly for intermediate-level skiers. Another great deal is once you finish the day, you end up at the heart of apres-ski here. The two most popular apres ski places, DAS and Magna, are located at this gate.

Where should I stay in Erciyes?

Chalet Kaiser & Argaeus
Chalet Kaiser & Argaeus

There is a wide range of accommodation options in Erciyes and the Kayseri city center.

Chalet Kaiser and Argaeus:

Being the most luxurious and exclusive accommodation in Erciyes, our chalets are jaw-dropping one-of-a-kind luxury mountain chalets. One chalet can host nine people; if you are a big group, you can rent both as they are twin chalets. Generally, friend groups and 2-3 families rent these chalets to have fun, as ski travelers prefer to spend time and party together after a long ski day.

DAS:

DAS 3917; With its 72 rooms in Erciyes, it welcomes its guests in a comfortable atmosphere. In addition, guests are offered many flavor alternatives in the property's restaurant and bar.

In the 750 m2 SPA center of the facility, you can relax with the Turkish bath, sauna, indoor swimming pool, and massage facilities and keep fit in the fitness center. In addition, the mini club in the facility offers an area for little guests to have fun.

Magna:

Magna Hotel holds the privilege of being the first hotel at Develi Gate. The facility offers ski-in and ski-out access to its guests. In addition, Magna provides various SPA, apres ski, and skiing gear shopping services as a boutique hotel.

Radisson:

If you are willing to find the same standard worldwide, then this place is for you. However, they got backlash due to their high pricing policy in 2021/2022.

Megasaray Erciyes:

As we see the project details, this hotel will be one of the most luxurious items on the mountain. It is set to open by the end of 2023.

Erciyes ski map

Erciyes ski map
Erciyes ski map, Photo: Kayseri Erciyes A.Ş.

Erciyes is Turkey's largest ski resort, offering 150 kilometers of skiable terrain. The facility now offers 41 slopes, and more are continuously being added.

The resort includes two gondolas and twelve high-speed chairlifts. In addition, many brand-new chairlifts with heated seats and bubbles block the wind.

You may see the updated ski map below. Get ready for surprises during the season.

Ski Instructor

Ski Instructor
Ski Instructor, Photo: Kayseri Erciyes A.Ş.

There is a ski school at Tekir Kapı where you can take private and group ski/snowboard lessons. Group lessons are a bit different than the ones at the Alps. You must have a few people who know each other to take group lessons. Ski schools do not group people up at the same skill level.

Hotels also have their instructors. You can also book a lesson at your hotel. Even though there are many instructors, it may be challenging to find an instructor who can give a lesson in a foreign language on busy days.

If you need an experienced ski or snowboard instructor, we have instructors who can teach skiing to your kids or help improve your skill level.

Where should I hire ski equipment?

ski equipment
Ski equipment

Although various stores rent skiing gear, some places use outdated gear. We recommend the best options for you.

Develi Gate

DAS: Having a ski room directly next to Develi Gate, DAS has modern equipment for all levels of skiers and snowboarders.

Magna Apex: Magna Apex has one of the most modern ski rooms in the mountain. Compared to DAS, it can be more pricey. But you can rent what you need.

Radisson: When it comes to ski rental, Radisson ski room has good options. However, we can’t say the same thing about snowboarding.

Tekir Gate

Zümrüt: If you are a beginner or you are going to teach skiing to your kid, you will most probably end up at Tekir gate. Zümrüt rental options are not the newest, but they will only do the job for beginners.

Alberg: This ski hire place also has average equipment, which is OK for beginner-level people.

Lift prices 2022 / 2023

Lift prices
Lift prices, Photo: Kayseri Erciyes A.Ş.

This system has pros and cons. It can be challenging to predict how many lifts you'll use in a day; a lot varies on which lifts you use, how well you can snowboard, and how much snowboarding you wish to do. Fortunately, there is no daily time restriction on the utilization of tickets. You can use your ticket until the end of the current season. Therefore, It is wise to buy more rides if you are planning a long trip or have a couple of visits.

Last year you could buy tickets for 1, 7, 14, 30, 50, 100, or 200 rides. There aren't any official announcements, but we assume this season will be the same. If you are an avid skier planning a whole day skiing, 14 ride pass will be enough for you.

14 ride pass was TRY 140 (EUR 10), and 50 ride pass was TRY 400 (EUR 26) last year. You can ski for a week with a daily pass in Alp. Erciyes has excellent value for money. You may see the updated ski pass princess from the official website of the ski resort.

Apres-ski

Das Apres
Das Apres, Photos: das3917.com

Who doesn’t like to end skiing day with a couple of drinks? There are a few good options for apres ski. They are all located at Develi Kapı.

DAS: Hotel also has a bar and club located next to pistes. You can enjoy various alcoholic beverages with live music and DJ performances on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They also organize events a couple of times during the season. On weekends music usually ceases at dinnertime and starts around 21.00.

Magna: If we say that Magna has started the apres ski tradition at Erciyes, we won’t be wrong. They also organize events and work with famous DJs, performers, and radio stations.

Skiing gear shopping

Forum Kayseri
Forum Kayseri, Photo: forumkayseri.com

The majority of the ski rental shops also sell skiing and snowboarding gear. However, you can’t usually find products of known brand quality. The ones you will find will be expensive once you consider the quality.

If you need quality equipment in Erciyes, you should visit the SPX shop in Develi Kapı. SPX is the distributor of many well-known brands. Therefore, you will find what you need.

If you visit the city center, you will have more options. Kayseri Park and Forum Kayseri are the biggest malls in Kayseri. You can find shops like Decathlon, Columbia, and North Face.

Dining and Wining

Dining and Wining
Dining and Wining

Kayseri is the earliest center of food trade in Anatolia. The first settlement in the area was funded between 3,000 and 4,000 B.C. The city's status as a thriving economic hub and all the cultural exchanges between the various civilizations and societies that passed through it influenced Kayseri culture and cuisine.

Kayseri is famous for its You should try (i) mantı - traditional Turkish dumpling, (ii) pastırma – seasoned and air-dried cured beef, (iii) sucuk - a Turkish beef sausage, and (iv) pöç – a traditional dish made from oxtail.

We would like to remind you that Erciyes is a conservative city, and most of the restaurants in the city center do not serve alcohol.

High-end

DAS Apres Ski: It is the best option to try world cuisine in Erciyes. They also have snack options that you can enjoy during the day. Last year they collaborated with well-known restaurants from Istanbul and organized sushi nights or fine-dining events.

Radisson Steak House: It is a great option to have a steak with fine wine after a long day. The restaurant is located in Radisson Hotel.

Magna: Magna’s menu features a global selection and unique tastes from the region. They also have a rich wine selection.

Mid range

Kemal Koçak: This restaurant is located in the city center and is one of the locals' favorite places. You can enjoy (i) traditional Kayseri cuisine, (ii) steakhouse, oven-cooked lahmacun, and pizza. Unfortunately, they do not serve alcohol.

Taşmekan: Taşmekan is located between the mountain and the city center. They are well known for their kebabs and meat dishes. You can also have a great Turkish breakfast. Please note that they also do not serve alcohol.

Inexpensive options

There are many cafes close to the lifts. You can try them during the day.


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