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Heli-ski trip to Mestia, Georgia

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
BobinCH wrote:


What was the terrain like at PNH? That was the Alaskan one that looked by far the best value out there?


I came to the conclusion it was the best value too, and I liked that there is nobody else operating in most of their terrain (I think the very far North of their zone overlaps with the Valdez operators, but PN don't seem to use that area very often).

I had two quite different experiences on my two trips. First time it was mostly mellow open stuff with a handful of short, steeper pitches. Then on the last day they took us down a massive steep couloir and a couple of other more adventurous descents which opened my eyes to the possibilities - I wonder if they do this on purpose to tempt people back?!

Second trip I went out with 3 friends of similar ability and communicated beforehand that we were coming out to ski steep stuff. They really delivered and our guide was super professional but also really keen to take us on the steep/scary stuff rather than advocating the easy option (which I find happens frustratingly often with guides!). I think several things really came together for us that time - safe, stable conditions and weather, a strong group of similar ability, and that we quickly gained the confidence of our guide.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Any pics or TR please musehead?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Good post.

Looks a bit flat.
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@Mike Pow, I did a TR for my first PNH trip:

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=2526584

I didn't do one on my better return trip the following year (perhaps I should although it was 4 years ago now!).
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
musehead wrote:
@Mike Pow, I did a TR for my first PNH trip:

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=2526584

I didn't do one on my better return trip the following year (perhaps I should although it was 4 years ago now!).


Nice TR. Sounds like the 2nd one would have been worth the wait! I get your comment about stamina. 10 * 1000m vertical runs with a 5 min heli break between each one certainly tests out the legs!
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musehead wrote:
@Mike Pow, I did a TR for my first PNH trip:

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=2526584

I didn't do one on my better return trip the following year (perhaps I should although it was 4 years ago now!).


Cheers.

Forgotten I'd read (and commented) on that thread.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Great photos. You're a lucky snowhead!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Great photos. You're a lucky snowhead!
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Hi @BobinCH I've been looking at the Flory Kern website and am very tempted by the Mestia heliski trips they organise. Looks like you had a fantastic time. When did you go ? Due to work I can only go either mid February or otherwise early April. I'm thinking that early April is likely to provide more reliable weather and fewer down days but February could be better snow. Looks like you went quite late in the season ? Did you get a sense of conditions earlier on in the season from the guides ?
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@chamster, we went the last week of the season in April. It had snowed a couple of days before we arrived so snow conditions were great up high but started to get crusty on the lower part of the runs. On a couple of days we moved to South facing slopes in the pm and skied perfect corn which was also fun. Conditions are a complete lottery but as you say you’re more likely to get better quality powder in Feb with risk of down days versus more sunshine and flying in April. It is a great trip though and Flory Kern runs an excellent operation.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Quick update on this trip as I have just returned from Mestia (same trip as above) and I know that the trip comes up from time to time on the forum.

8 - 15 Feb tour dates.

Unfortunately we had a number of weather issues:
- on Saturday our flight to Batumi from Istanbul was cancelled. Our 4 grouped together with a 4 from Switzerland plus 2 guides coming in to start the season. After a fair bit of faff we transferred to the old airport at Istanbul and flew to Tbilisi where we overnighted. That meant a 9 hour drive (as opposed to the usual 6 hours transfer) arriving late Sunday night ie missing day 1
- we then had 2 days of heli in good powder (temps at minus 15/20 or so) but very high avalanche risk. Around 1 mètre had fallen in the days before our arrival.
- unfortunately that was all the heliskiing we got. Day 4 we ski toured; days 5 and 6 we sat and waited for snow clouds to lift and ended up skiing Hatsveli, the nearby ski hill
- our flight back to Istanbul flew in time but the UK storms meant that one of us had a cancellation with Turkish Air and 2 of us were delayed 2 hours+.

I have done 100+ days heli and have used this company before (Kebnekaise and Valtellina) but I do have some issues with this particular trip primarily around travel time, risk of down days and heli flight time (specifically, the refund calculation only kicks in if less than 9 hours are flown - we exceeded 9 hours after just 2 days of skiing once abandoned no fly days were included). I can give more information to anyone considering the trip but I consider it to be a trip with a high risk of general travel or no fly issues.

Hope that’s reasonably balanced and useful to anyone considering booking it.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@chrisJersey, sounds like you were pretty unlucky. It’s a remote area so I guess you’re right in terms of limited alternatives if the flights in aren’t running. No consolation for you but looks like they are getting amongst it this week.
https://www.instagram.com/p/B8osuP3DdPF/?igshid=1v4lrmvc1l1k0
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