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The Art Of Ski-touring: Slice Your Ski Lines Into The Macedonian Back Country Tour

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Day 1: WELCOME TO MACEDONIA As you land at Skopje airport, a group transfer will be provided to Popova Shapka ski resort on Sharr Mountains. This Sharr Mountains range is the south part of the Via-Dinarica . .
Country: Macedonia
City: Ohrid
Duration: 8 Day(s) - 7 Night(s)
Tour Category: Ski Touring
Departure Date: Thu 01 Jan '99
Package Itinerary


As you land at Skopje airport, a group transfer will be provided to Popova Shapka ski resort on Sharr Mountains. This Sharr Mountains range is the south part of the Via-Dinarica mountain trail connecting all Western Balkans countries from Slovenia to Macedonia, i.e. all ex-Yugoslav countries plus Albania. It is the most popular mountaineering and skiing destination in South Balkan with its 43 peaks above 2.500m! The resort where we’ll be staying the first night is at 1.717m altitude. (D)

Total drive: 95km / 1h 20min


Back in the past, the old mountaineering legends and daredevils from Macedonia referred to this mountain range as ‘the Macedonian Himalayas’, whereas they used this mountain range for simulation training for their expeditions, back in Yugoslavia, especially for the combination between exposed terrains, seracs, extreme winds, altitude average, and hostile conditions…

We’ll experience today this imposing and divine mountain range, where we are headed for ski mountaineering up in the clouds.

We start at 1800 m, heading at the cable lift, which will fetch us up to 2450 m. From this point on we stick our climbing skins, and we head SW upwards to Crn Vrv 2550, the summit of Ceripashina peak.

We continue forward, toward Kazani, Karabunar 2600m and heading south towards Bakardan peak (2704 m) where we’ll take our lunch break, and we’ll spot the best lines for the descent. Bakardan (2704 m) is one beauty of a peak, especially when from a ski mountaineering perspective. We ski down and arrive into the Vakaf flats, where we’ll continue for another 3km pole push through the beautiful, hopefully, sunny Vakaf flats to our mountain hut.

In the evening we head to the ski resort Mavrovo on Bistra Mountain, placed in the largest national park in Macedonia – Mavrovo. Dinner will be by the fireplace in the living room of our guesthouse in Mavrovo, where we’ll stay overnight.

Total drive: 72km/ 1h 30min


The Mavrovian mountains have a lot to offer in terms of ski adventures and winter joy. Although there are ski center utilities which are a good advantage if we wish to use the shuttle of the ski lifts to gain elevation, Mount Bistra offers a whole ski touring the world to explore. Located in the South East flank in Mavrovo National Park, with an elevation range between 1300 m to 2169 this mountain consists of highlands with around 21 peaks arising, with some seriously good backcountry skiing slopes.

The usual fun skiing that we do from Mavrovo is the “Chasing snow” option, where we use the chair lift to gain elevation up to Mt Bistra highlands, where we stick our climbing skins and continue walking further looking for the best snow and for the best lines to ski. Depending on the weather conditions, we chase the best snow in a range of 3-7km on the Bistra highlands, surrounding peaks, couloirs, north-faces, or steep slopes.

Back in Mavrovo, we take the van and continue our trip SouthWest to village Vevchani, located at the foothills of Mount Jablanica. The guesthouse where we’ll spend the night is one of the best places in Macedonia to experience traditional mouthwatering village food and great homemade Rakiya and wine. Overnight in Vevchani.
Total drive: 96km/ 2h


Jablanica is a remote mountain standing between Macedonia and Albania as a natural border and connection between the large West Macedonian mountain massif and Ohrid Lake. It is a paradise for hiking and ski touring, especially attractive when covered with fresh powder snow, waiting for some ski touring enthusiasts to enjoy in its purest virgin nature.

The departing point today is the village of Vevcani 950m or Gorna Belica 1200m. Departing point sometimes depends on the amount of snow on the roads which are not regularly cleaned in this remote area. The trail follows the forest gradually ascending over the tree line. It is important to have good visibility since in a foggy day the upper part of the mountain seems like a giant snowfield. All surrounding peaks are skiable. Depending on snow conditions we choose our lines.

The highest peak is Crn Kamen (Black Stone) 2257m with a rocky base and not the best choice when not enough snow. The neighboring peaks are a bit lower, yet offer some really pleasant runs and good snow can be found till mid of April. The total walking time is between 2.5-3h if departing from Gorna Belica or around 4h if departing from Vevcani village.

A short drive (30min) from Jablanica takes us to Ohrid and Ohrid Lake, both UNESCO World Heritage sites: the city for its great historical heritage and the lake being the oldest and deepest lake in Europe with exceptional biodiversity. Dinner and overnight in the hotel in Ohrid.
Total drive: 96km/ 2h

Day 5: OHRID

A relaxing day in the Ohrid area: we’ll take a morning guided tour of Ohrid old town with a visit to the most significant Orthodox churches, the Roman Amphitheatre, the medieval fortress of Tsar Samoil, and the gallery of icons, with some 30 masterpieces dating back to 11th century.

Afternoon drive by the lake to visit the Bay of Bones archaeological site in the lake, and to St Naum monastery, the birthplace of Slavic literacy and Cyrillic script, today used in most of the Eastern European countries and Russia. Our lunch will be in a small fishermen's village, where we’ll taste the best fish broth in Ohrid made by the original recipe with troat and fish roe. The evening is free to explore the cobblestoned alleys of Ohrid's old town. Overnight in the same hotel in Ohrid.


Amazing scenery contrasting a snowy white mountain overlooking the enormous surface with all tons of blue color of one and only, Ohrid Lake. The tour starts at about 1650m until where we have organized transport by car or van. This road is not cleaned regularly so the ski tour might start 100m lower in conditions of heavy snow on the road.

We will pass through an epic beach forest with moderate steep trails. After 40min walk, we make a break at the exit of the forest where usually in good weather conditions we can start having a nice view of Ohrid Lake. As we got higher the views are getting more and more breathtaking.

The tour continues through a narrow gorge to come up to a viewpoint and eventually a second short break before continuing towards the summit following a bit steeper trail for another 1:15 min. The snow conditions here are changeable, the proximity of the lake makes the snow structure different from other mountains, still enjoyable for all ski touring, telemark and freeride addicts. It is also suitable for snowshoeing.

The descent can depend on weather and snow conditions. One option is to ski down on a long meadow facing the lake, orientation W - SW. Beautiful for late afternoon sunset runs in winter and early spring. Another option for more extreme riders is short but steep couloirs facing N or connecting a longer but less steep 4.5km line with a 655m altitude difference.

Late afternoon we leave Ohrid and head to Bitola, a city with 1.600 years of urban tradition and beautiful examples of architecture from different periods. Take a walk along Shirok Sokak (the Wide Alley) street and enjoy your dinner in one of the restaurants here. Overnight in a hotel in Pelister national park.

Total drive: 2 x 32km /50min ow (to the mountain) + Ohrid – Bitola 73km / 1h 40min


A short 15min drive brings us to the info center of national park Pelister at 1.360m, where we start walking up through a dense pine forest of Molika trees – the 5-needled pine typical for this national park. We’ll hike around 2,5 hours in the woods up to 2000m in height, where we’ll continue walking for another 2,5-3 hours on the slopes of Baba Mountain with amazing views over the surrounding mountains.

Once at the peak Pelister (2.601m), depending on the weather conditions we can choose our best slopes to ski down to the villages at the foothills of Mount Baba.


If you prefer to make more descend today and skip the walks, it is also possible to get up to the best slopes by snowcat and experience the fresh snow powder on different trails.

Late afternoon transfer to Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. It is not a ski center, but definitely one of the favorite spots in the Western Balkans for nightlife and good parties. Dinner and party in a beerhouse in the old town of Skopje. Overnight in a hotel in Skopje.

Total drive: 2 x 6km /15min ow (to the mountain) + Bitola – Skopje 175km / 2h 20min


After breakfast free until the group transfer to Skopje airport.

Please note that routes and activities described in the program may be subject to change due to weather conditions and the physical fitness of the participants.

Price is valid for min 3 / max 8 participants


Accommodation: 3 x boutique hotels, 1 x 3* family hotel, 1 x guesthouse, 2 x mountain hut (dormitory style)

Meals: 7 x breakfast, 7 x dinner

Transport with minivan/minibus

Full guidance by professional backcountry ski touring guides (guides CV available upon request)

Ski-lift shuttle on Day 2 and Day 3

Organization and logistics by Macedonia Travel


Drinks during the meals

Single accommodation supplement (not available only 2 nights in the mountain huts)

Private airport transfers

Travel/health insurance

All personal expenses not mentioned under “included in the price”


Ski touring skis or split board with touring bindings, skis, and ski poles (10-12cm /4-5 inches diameter)

Ski touring boots that fit well (not brand new)

Ski crampons

Ice Axe (lightweight mountaineering/alpine)


Ski goggles (with a lens for low light - recommended)

An avalanche transceiver, a probe, and a shovel

Headlamp and spare batteries.

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