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In December, 2004, two brand new lifts opened to the public, replacing older Soviet ones. Now when you get to the resort, just past Kecharis Monastery, the first lift, costing 1,000 dram (approx $2) each time with four person seats will take you up to the real staging area, where a second new lift, two seats wide will take you up to the ski slopes for 500 dram. From that point you can ski down this easier slope, or take the third, older, one seater lift up to the harder slopes. There is a little ski lodge up here, but the options on food are limited, and it can get smoky. The slopes can get a bit confusing with skiers, sledders, and snowmobiles going all at once, but are not bad. The skis are best rented before arriving at the slopes (probably the writers house is your best bet), the photo of the ski "rental area" below should illustrate why. But at that rental area in the parking lot shown, the skis are 1,000 dram an hour or 4,500 dram a day. The third lift to the crest was replaced with a brand new one in late 2005, and opened for the winter. The view from the top of the crest is stunning.
The 2500 meters long lift has been renovated by a prominent Swiss company specializing in assembling aerial tramways and other construction works. The Tsakhkadzor resort is on the eastern slope of Mount Teghenis and is famous for its numerous lodges and sport facilities.
- January 1, 2006:
The resort is a bit of a distance (2 or 3 very cold kilometers) from the town so if you are staying at most of the nearby hotels you need to drive or take a taxi (easily available in the city center) to the resort. If you take a taxi, make arrangements to be picked up. There is no taxi stand at the resort and if you have the resort call for a taxi, you will pay 5 times the going rate (5000 drams instead of 1000 drams).
The lift is at the bottom of the lower ski run and costs 1000 drams a trip. If you plan on skiing a couple of runs, you can buy several tickets at once and save yourself return trips to the ticket booth.
The ski lodge is at the top of the lift. There is ski school underneath the lodge that rents skis. The skis, poles and boots are nice quality and in good shape. They had plenty of ski boots both large and small. Ski rental is 1000 drams an hour or 5000 drams for the day. A private lesson from a professional instructor is 10,000 drams an hour. The instructors are skilled and very polite.
New looking sleds for the use of children can also be rented near the lodge. The sledding area is directly in front of the lodge.
There are three ski runs currently. The first is from the lodge to the base and is quite long. It was well groomed and EMPTY!! the days we skiied. The view was amazing. The second is a beginners slope just above the lodge. It is served by a brand new rope tow. This tow costs 500 dram. There is a third run, reached by a ski lift just above the lodge which goes from the top of the mountain to the lodge. It looked really long and interesting to ski but it was closed while we were there.
The resort is family friendly and very clean. There is a lot of construction going on around it. A ski shop and cafe will soon be opening at the base of the resort. The cafe in the lodge at the top was clean and service was great.
One caveat: Getting off the lift at the lodge while wearing skis is very tricky. Unlike most ski lifts, the exit is flat and not sloped away from the lift. It is hard to get enough momentum going to clear the lift bench.
- http://www.WinterArmenia.com - information on the lifts, accomodations, packages.