6 - 7
FATMAP difficulty grade
The Sioni Valley – cold and hidden from direct sunlight for most of the winter - is one of those areas where the snow remains longer than in the whole region and its quality is better than anywhere else at a similar altitude.
Until the publication of this guidebook (summer of 2017), the route was rarely visited by freeriders (compared to other routes within Gudauri) due to lack of knowledge about the route, longer access to the beginning of the ascent (35 minutes by car), and the approach to the route (distance – 4 km, ascent – 400 meters, time – 1.5 hrs).
But even with a significant increase in the popularity of this route, you can always find beautiful descent lines on untouched snow in a distinctly varied terrain, from snowy fields and giant couloirs with steepness of no more than 27º to steep walls and long couloirs between big rocks. The route starts from the village and consists of two relative parts – the approach to the beginning of the ascent with a smooth climb and the actual ascent from the Sioni Valley to the Tsiteli ridge or Kabarjina Mountain.
The terrain is diverse.
Here all forms of mountain relief are represented, except glaciers.
Throughout the route there are views of Mount Kazbek and Mount Kabardzhina. The northern exposure of the Sioni Valley and of the slopes along the route is not lit by the sun during the major part of winter.
Traversing the route early in the morning can be colder than expected - bring warm gloves and hot tea with you in this case.