My Danish friends wouldn’t believe me when I told them that I would bring my snowboard from Denmark to Turkey. “Why would you bring your snowboard to this exotic country?”. But when you arrive to Bursa in January you will not experience Turkey as the Danish tourists know it from Alanya and other summer paradises. The average temperature is 5 cº at this time of the year, and if you take a 45 minutes bus-ride with the Bursa-Uludağ minibus from the city center you will find yourself in a winter wonderland. In Uludağ you will find fresh and cool air, beautiful views and suprisingly good skiing conditions.
If you found your way to Uludağ on a clear and unclouded day it is possible to have a view over Bursa, the Marmara Sea and sometimes all the way to Istanbul. My best recomondation is to remember to put a chocolate bar in your pocket – when you get of the lift and you find yourself on the top of Uludag mountain, grap a chocolate bar, start the music in your earphones, lean back in the soft snow and enjoy the most beautiful view. This is the good life.
People who are skiing in Uludağ are not very used to see foreigners on the slopes, so people are super talkative and interested in why you have found your way to Uludağ. The slopes are not too long, and the lifts are rather slow, so prepare yourself to use the lift trips for talking with sweet and curious locals. It is always a good opportunity to have nice local recommendations for the area or to practise some Turkish. If there is no-one to talk to, you will use the lift-time enjoying the astonishing snow-covered trees and mountains.
One disadvantage about Uludağ is the rather short slopes besides the quite slow lifts. So a tip is to adopt into the queuing-culture in Uludağ – or the lack of it. You don’t necessarily put yourself in the back of the line and you will not get anyway if you don’t insist – so you will have to elbow your way to the lift if you would like to use your day skiing instead of waiting. You can check the piste and lift-system out here. I will definitely recommend lift called 4 or 8 (the different maps do not agree on the number). It is a beautiful wide and long slope that is suitable for almost everybody and every level.
The most crowded day in Uludağ is on Sundays. The Turkish people like going to Uludağ for picnics and restaurants with their families on that day. Many people will go there without the aim of skiing – just for a sucuk ekmek (spicy sausage in bread), sıcak şarap (hot wine), and the beautiful view. You will also see more people on the slopes, but it is not overwhelming. But go on weekdays if you want to have the slopes for yourself.
Well, as a vegetarian I noticed that the people of Uludağ are not especially fond of the vegetarian options. As mentioned the most popular dish is “sucuk ekmek” along other meat dishes. It is served from barbeque stalls all over the area. Follow the smell. If you, like me, want the vegetarian option can you find çorba (soup), pide (pizza-ish) or french fries in the overpriced restaurants as the best options. The budget-version is to bring your own food. For instance grab a çiğ köfte dürüm and bring it in your backpack and enjoy it on the top of the mountain.
As I have just arrived, I haven’t had the opportunity to experience Uludağ National Park without it being covered in snow, but the area should also be excellent and popular for trekking and picnics in the summer. The area should have a very rich vegetation, special flora and fauna and many different animals species. But more about trekking in Uludağ later this year when I will have tried it out.
– The price for skipass is 120 TL for one day. You can find more about the prices here.
– You can rent skiing equipment in Uludağ, but I don’t know about the prices as I brought my own snowboard (It is cheap to bring it with you in in the airplane)
– The price for the minibus to Uludağ is 15 TL and leaves from Çakırhamam Civarı, Yiğitler Cad. Okçubaba Türbesi Karşısı No:11, Bursa