translated by Tinatin Bujiashvili
Hatsvali is situated 8 km from Mestia. The road goes through pine forest. It has the potential to become the most favorable winter tourism destination in Georgia. It is already three years since two 400 meters long skiing track has started working. The tracks have European standards. Hatsvali didn’t have tourists when we visited it.
A few skiers were skiing on a track surrounded with a unique massive of forest. To go up the track in a ski lift costs 15 Gel. Skiers were happy as they didn’t have to stand in a queue for an hour or more to have the chance to ski as it is in Bakuriani. Unfortunately despite good conditions (low prices, cheap hotels) Svaneti has fewer tourists than other winter resorts in Georgia.
Above ski track there is a beautiful birch forest. Tourists can enjoy themselves by watching spectacular views of Ushba and white slopes of Tetnuldi. Svanian towers are proudly arisen from the bottom. They can also breathe fresh air.
Mestia has a good potential for developing tourism. Unfortunately not only foreigners but the Georgians know less about it.
“When former government ruled the country there was daily flights to Mestia. They did a good job. Today there might be one flight a week”, say Mestians about Mestia Queen Tamar airport. They also say that they don’t like its shape. It has a shape of a boot. However it’s less important.
There are three ski tracks in Hatsvali. They can be used not only by amateur skiers but also for sport competitions.
Besides ski tourism, Mestia is an interesting place for alpinists. Ushba isn’t the highest summit, but it is many alpinists’ dream. It is ranked the highest in five categories for its difficulties. A giant with two summits caused many climbers death. There was a period when climbing Ushba was banned through 1200 m steep cliff from the “mirror” slope of Svaneti.
Not only alpinists, but the developers of ski tourism may be interested in Ushba. People living in Mestia say that the slope of Ushba is the best place to build a ski track, because skiing will be available in summer too.
Vitali Gvarliani says that more people came in Hatsvali, Mestia than today. “The reason is a bad tourism management in Georgia”, says a manager one of the hotels. He hopes that one day many tourists will visit Hatsvali. It is one of the best ski resorts in the world with its unique pines and summits.