Skitouring in Macedonia – discover the mighty Shar Mountains and hidden backcountry treasures
Skitouring in Macedonia – untouched backcountry delight!
Located in the heart of the Balkans, Macedonia is a small country with huge opportunities for skitouring and freeriding. When it comes to skitouring, splitboarding, mountaineering, snowshoeing or simply planning your next skiholiday adventure in the Balkans then Macedonia for sure needs to be on your aim list.
Although skiing and winter tourism has a long tradition in former Yugoslavia and now Macedonia, with some resorts being built in the 1950s, the tradition is seeing a resurgence of interest only in recent years, which makes Macedonia an ideal destination for the exploration hungry ski & winter sports enthusiast – Especially if you want to go off piste and venture out into the wilderness, you can expect authentic cultural experiences paired with stable snowconditions and amazing ascents.
The mighty Shar Mountain
The famous Shar mountain is a mountain range with a total lenght of approximately 80km long. It borders on Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania and goes from Ljuboten mountain (between Kosovo and Macedonia) all the way to Korab mountain (between Albania and Macedonia). It is very popular for catskiing & extreme freeride skiing because the natural shape of the mountain gives good opportunities for the snowcat maschine to climb up, but in the same time it gives true backcountry skiing experience. Another factor is the large quantities of snow it receives in winter, due to its geographical location acting as a natural and high barrier between the plains and valleys of Kosovo and Macedonia.
The skiresort of Popova Shapka is located only one hour drive from Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. There you can find the team of Sharoutdoors which is a collective of certified guides that are providing guided tours in Macedonia and Balkans. From daily skitouring guiding to skitouring holidays and catskiing, they are here to show you the secrets of the mountains. The highest peak of Shar mountain is Tito’s Peak 2748m and its located in the heart of the mountain.
Peaks of the Shar Mountain
Other interesting peaks for freeride skiing and snowboarding are the peaks of Bakrdan, Small Turk, Kobilica and Ljuboten mountain, all higher than 2500m. The north sides of the mountain give great opportunity for powder freeride, especially in the lower zones. Korab mountain is the hidden gem when it comes to ski freeride in Macedonia. Located between the Shar mountain, Deshat and Bistra mountain within Mavrovo National Park. It is the mountain with the highest peak both in Albania and Macedonia. The ruralness of the area makes ski touring / splitboarding in Macedonia special and gives you the feeling of absolute harmony with the nature.
The experience of making customized tours which the ski guides of Sharoutdoors have, together with cooperation with the border Police of Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia allows them to make cross border ski freeride tours where you can skin up from one side of the mountain and ski down the other one which is in different country. The idea is to connect the adventure in the Balkans, experience different cultures, see different terrain and express love to the nature and outdoors as a whole.
Skitouring in the south of Macedonia
In the southern part of Macedonia, the mountains of Baba mountain with its Pelister national park and Kozuf mountain with the Kozuf ski resort offer good opportunities for off piste and freeride skiing and snowboarding. Galicica mountain with its Galicica national park is perfect mountain to visit if you want your ski holiday to be spiced amazing views and with learning and tasting the Macedonian culture and cuisine. Touring up and skiing down the peak of Magaro gives you amazing view over Ohrid and Prespa lake which are both natural lakes and visiting the City of Ohrid is a must since it is the cradle of the Orthodox church and Macedonian culture and tradition.
When it comes to accommodation, the best solution are the hotels, and private accommodations in the local villages and ski resorts. There are also a few mountain huts but for their working times and more information is best to ask the local mountain guides. SharOutdoors can provide you with different packages and consultation to make your trip worth wile.
The best way to reach Macedonia is to fly to the international Skopje Airport and rent a car from there. Several Airlines, especially Wizzair, fly from all major European destinations on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. You can always contact the team of SharOutdoors who are offering full service packages including transport from and to the airport.