So after 4-5 days here I finally decided to go down the back side of Gudauri. I had hopes there would be some road down there and after testing hitchhiking a few times it seemed like a good idea. That and a successful snow pit test. The snowpack in incredibly uniform, I am guessing due to pretty high temperatures (yet below freezing). Nothing reacted. I did the test twice. It did react once I applied 2-3 times the normal maximum force, but yeah. You can’t trigger that on skis.
I first went down the north side of Sadzele pass into this bowl, where a bunch of Russians were hanging out. They we walking back up and over the pass into the ski area boundaries. You can accces this with a 3-4 minute walk and a traverse from the top lift (Sadzele Lift). I asked about skiing the north side into the valley, the russians and I agreed there would be a road there but had no idea how to get back. I thought, I’ll hitchhike. Seeing the north side of Mt. Bidara made me dream, there were only two tracks there, and what a view you must have from the top!
I was a bit scared, so I traversed into the north side of the mountain and dug a snowpit. Wow snow pits, it’s been such a long time, like what, 7 years? Like all good things it comes back easy. By the time I was done with it, I saw a big group ski down the north face, and I thought to myself, why not follow them, if they are going down there they must have an exit plan.
So I skied down, for 30 minutes, in untracked snow. It was perfect, with the view, and the fellow people to my right. I kept looking out for the road at the bottom and couldn’t see it. It was COVERED!! I ended up skiing over it; dropping the cement wall of the tunnel and finally made my way to the road and to the group of people. They were quite friendly, especially the woman who spoke quite fluid english. Her boyfriend took no time to make his presence felt. 14 people, 2 women. Yvan who fancied over telemark skiing after seeing me yell of joy skiing down untracked snow, quickly became my friend; turns out he spoke fluid french. Nice people… The ride back to the south side took 30 minutes, we crosse an innumerable amount of trucks. That road is one of the only roads through the caucasus that reaches Russia. It is called Military Highway 1. Trucks from all around travel through here, as far away as Turkey.
now.. feast on the pics!