Most people associate Greece with cool dives into crystal-clear turquoise waters. It’s only when temperatures plummet, and summer package tourists leave, that dancing snowflakes playfully cover the mountains, slowly burying forests under blankets of frost. A snowy landscape, far removed from the stereotypical images most people have of Greece, awakens – or, as one Greek-American director likes to call it, it’s just Frozen Ambrosia!
- Kalavryta, Achaia
The Kalavrita ski resort at Mt. Helmos, 20km in length, is the second-largest in Greece. Nestled among fir trees and a rocky alpine landscape, it hovers between 1,700-2,340 meters. It is one of the most organized ski centers in the country with 12 ski runs (2 difficult, 2 intermediate, 6 easy and 2 very easy), 2 chair lifts and 5 ski lifts as well as special grounds for snowboarding and extreme games. Advanced skiers should try the more challenging Styga runs.
Parnassos Ski Resort, just a 2-hour drive away from Athens, is a popular destination for weekenders. There are 23 ski runs and courses that are almost 25 kms in length making it the largest ski resort in Greece. Beginners can enjoy 13 of the downhill ski runs, and there are three for professionals. There are 13 ski lifts as well as skiing and snowboarding schools.
The Ski Center of Karpenissi is rightfully known as the “Switzerland of Greece” with 11 ski runs or slopes over eight kilometers. Two are advanced, six are intermediate and three are easy. Four chair lifts and six ski lifts are able to handle 5,000 people per hour. F-Zein Active (22370 80150) offers skiing activities in the region but also offers canyoning, canoeing, kayaing, skiing, trekking and paintballing. River guide instructor, gorge guide and other experts are available.
The Kaimaktsalan ski centre, close to the border with FYROM, offers 13 ski runs of different difficulties. Located at an altitude of 2500m, people can enjoy the view of lake Vegoritida and the peak of mountain Olympos.
The picturesque ski resort of Agriolefkes is at an altitude of 1,500 meters. You can ski with a view towards the Mediterranean Sea.
The Politses Ski Center (tel. 26560 41333), is just 4 kms from Metsovo, with three blue and red courses for more advanced skiers. Children and beginners can try the easier courses. There are two lifts and a “baby lift” for children. A 72-meter tubing course is also available. Anilio (call 6932418296) is just six kilometers of Metsovo and is located at an altitude of 1,859 kms. It is a newly-built ski center with three courses and a ski lift. Its high elevation allows it to have a longer season than the other ski centers as well as more snow.
Karkoli Ski Center (call 26560 41205) is a smaller center featuring two easy courses and a skilift. it is the lowest of the three ski centers in the area and the most easily accessible.
Compass Adventures (call 6978845232) organize ski tours around the area. They also organize hikes around the Pindos mountain range and Mt. Olympus.
The Lailias Ski Center (call 23210 62400) runs from December to March. It is managed by the Alpine Club of Serres (tel 23210 53790) and lies high atop Mt. Vrontos at an altitude from 1,600-1,850 meters. Its lift has the capacity to serve 700 people per hour and also has a baby lift serving the learning slopes, ski school and first aid station. It’s longest slope, named after the revolutionary war hero Emmanuel Pappas, at 1,250 meters starts out as difficult (red) and ocntinues to experienced (blue).
The Aetopetra Hotel and Ski Lodge (23213 00933) is just 5km away from the Laila Ski Center.
The Ostrakina Ski Center, at an altitude of 1,600 meters, covers a large part of the Mainalo mountain range. there are eight slopes, some of them challenging. The onsite snowboard park with a jump slope and skiing/snowboarding school is an ideal place for beginners.
The Pertouli Ski Resort (24340 91385) lies on the slopes of the Koziakas mountain with its pristine fir forest. There are three slopes and three cross-country ski routes for skeirs of any ability. Snowboarders will enjoy the slope on the south.
The Skiing Association of Trikala (24310 28943) aids those interested in skiing in the region but also offers clibing, canoe-kayak and other outdoor activities.
With so many ski destinations, you may be wondering why Greece doesn’t produce more skiers:
More ski slopes around Greece
- Karamanoli at Karditsa, call 24410 70946
- Vryssopoules Ski Center, Olympos, call 24930 23467/23821
- Falakro Ski resort in Drama 25220 41811
- Vassilitsa National Ski Center, Grevena, call 24620 84850/76530)
- Vigla Pissoderi Ski Center in Florina, call 23850 45800 (http://www.vigla-ski.gr)
- 3-5 Pigadia, Naoussa, Greece at Mt. Vermio, call 23320 44981 (http://www.3-5pigadia.gr)
- Seli National Ski Center at Vermio, Macedonia, call 23310 49226 or 23310 26237 (http://www.seli-ski.gr)
- Vitsi Ski Center, Kastoria, call 24670 24884 or 82666
- Elatochori Ski Center at Pieria, call 23510 82994 (http://www.elatohori-ski.gr)