New Trip! – Our Montenegro ski touring holiday offers a unique chance to explore this beautiful country and the remote central Balkans on ski. Like stepping back in time, these unspoilt mountain ranges are both rich in wildlife and far less developed than the Alps, making them a great venue for adventure skiing.
Please visit our Covid-19 Ski Information page for Covid FAQs, details of our new participation requirements, travel advice and what to expect on your trip.
This is a hotel based day touring week, exploring two areas of the Balkan mountains in beautiful Montenegro. The week starts at Podgorica Airport with a pickup and transfer to resort with your guide and then we will drop you off in time for flights home the following Friday. During the week we stay at comfortable hotels in the Kolasin and Durmator mountain ranges, exploring silent valleys and remote summits on ski. Short daily drives give access to a wide range of ski tours, with varied descents to suite all tastes.
This trip travels on Friday out/Friday return, to make use of the best flight options.
This is an intermediate level trip. To take part you should be at Fitness Level 3 and Tech Level 3 (see our Fitness/Experience guidelines below). You need previous ski touring experience in order to join this tour – eg a weeks’ day touring is usually enough. The week includes 5-6 hour days with 500-1000m of climb a day, so you can expect to be skinning for 3-4 hours a day. Type of ascent: we use 50% uplift and 50% skinning – approx 4000m of skinning up and 8000m of skiing down during the week, with day packs and at lower altitude.
One IFMGA guide skiing with 6 clients.
Included in price
- 6 days of guiding
- All guides expenses
- 7 nights hotel accommodation including breakfast and evening meal.
- Transport during the course
- Airport transfer
Excluded from price (see factsheet for extra cost estimates)
- Lunches and drinks
- Flights to Podgorica
- Equipment hire
Our first base for the week is the friendly 4* Dream House Hotel and Spa in Kolasin. The hotel staff are very friendly, speak excellent English and the food is great.
Our second hotel for the week is the 4* Hotel Zabljak in Zabljak. The hotel is well appointed and right in the middle of town, close to bars and other facilities.
Hotel rooms are provided on a twin (or occasionally triple) sharing basis, but if you wish to book a single room please let us know and we will confirm availability. Hotel details can be found on our Accommodation page.
You should arrange outward travel to Podgorica on Friday, to arrive in time for the pickup. Meet at the arrivals hall, transfer to Kolasin (75 km, 1.5 hrs). Check in at the Dream House Hotel in Kolasin.
Evening Briefing – your guide will run through kit checks and safety routines, as well as hand out any rental equipment, before going on to discuss the current weather and mountain conditions and how these affect our plans. We’ll have maps of the area to show you, so if you’ve any further questions or last minute requests, then this is the ideal time to bring them up.
Mt Bjelasica Meadows – drive from Kolasin to the local ski resort (9 km – 15 min). AM Warm up skiing around Kolasin 1450 and 1600 resorts – both areas have good tree and side country skiing, so are ideal for a first morning. PM Short skins up to ski couloirs from Bjelasica Ridge. ↑3-500 m ↓2-3000 m – 5-6 hrs.
Return to the Dream House hotel.
Mt Bjelasica – Drive from Kolasin to the ski resort again. Take the lifts up to Mt. Bjelasica, then a short skin leads to a lovely 800m descent down the south side through meadows and forests into Jelovica Valley. From here, we skin back up to the ridge (+400m) in order to ski back down to Kolasin ski centre. ↑600 m ↓1300 m – 5-6 hrs.
Return to the Dream House hotel.
Vrtalo Pass – Jablanov Peak – Morning drive to the Gornje Lipovo valley (16km, 30 min).
Our ascent follows a switchback road up to the Vratlo Pass, before crossing high open karst country to Jablanov Peak (2203m). The descent starts from the very top, following wide open terrain all the way down to the parking spot. ↑900 m ↓900 m – 4-5 hrs.
Return to the Dream House hotel.
Sinjavina Highlands – Another morning drive to the Gornje Lipovo valley (16km, 30 min).
Today we skin up to the Lucka Gora saddle at 1800 m, then follow the ridge up to 2100 m, which gives access to the best couloir for the ski down. ↑900 m ↓900 m – 4-5 hrs.
Return to the Dream House hotel.
AM Morning transfer to Zabljak village on the Durmitor Plateau (90 km – 1.5 hr), via the Tara River Gorge – the second longest river canyon in the world. Check in at Hotel Zabljak.
Ski Tour on Savin Kuk – it’s just a 5 minute drive to the Zabljak ski resort (1,450 m), from where we take the ski lifts up to 2,010 m and make a short ascent and traverse to the summit of Savin Kuk (2,322 m). From the summit, there are a number of descent options back down to the valley. ↑300 m ↓1000 m – 3-4 hrs.
Return to Hotel Zablijak.
Sljeme Ridge – the longest ski descent in Montenegro. Transfer from the hotel (5 min – 1,450 m)
Ascent to Sljeme (2,455 m), one of the highest summits in Durmitor. Our descent down the south slope offers several options, with vertical drops of over 1,000 m. ↑1000 m ↓1000 m – 4-5 hrs.
Return to Hotel Zabljak.
AM, early start to drive back to the Podgorica airport (120 km – 2.5 hrs) for flights back home.
Your course base for the week is Kolasin in the Balkan mountains of Montenegro. The most convenient way to reach Kolasin is to fly to Podgorica airport, from where we are offering an airport transfer with the guide. You should arrange outward travel on Friday, arriving at Podgorica airport by lunchtime. Return travel should be arranged on Friday morning, after your final nights accommodation.
- Fly to Podgorica. The best Uk flights are from Stansted with Ryanair.
- Outward flight, Friday 9th Feb 2024 – dep Stansted 06.20 – arr Podgorica 10.05.
- Return flight, Friday 16th Feb 2024 – dep Podgorica 10.30 – arr Stansted 12.25
For flights and other travel options, including train, coach and driving, visit our Travel Planning page.
To enjoy this trip you should be comfortable operating at Fitness Level 3, and Ski Tech Level 3:
Fitness Level 3
You do 3-4 hours cv training/sport per week. At this level you are happy doing a 5-6 hr hillwalk, 40-50ml cycle or 3-4hr mountain bike ride without being totally exhausted. If you are into challenges – then the thought of doing a road sportive, or training to do a 1/2 (or maybe even a full) marathon, wouldn’t seem too ridiculous. On foot: you should be able to do the full Langdale Horseshoe: Langdale – Pike of Stickle – Angle Tarn – Bow Fell – Crinkle Crags – Pike of Blisco – Langdale in a day without finishing up exhausted. On skis: you can skin uphill at 300-400m/hr for 3-4 hrs a day (ie 8-1200m of ascent each day).
Tech Level 3
Confirmed Off Piste Skier. You can put down a reasonable set of tracks in powder, but difficult snow types – eg heavy wet snow, crusts, poor visibility or 40dg slopes – can all cause problems (though you can cope with them safely, if not elegantly!) *Equivalent to Ski Club of GB Off Piste Level: Purple – Advanced*
Likely to say: ‘I’d like to handle difficult snow/steep slopes more confidently in better style’
Our Advice: Off piste coaching still useful. Intermediate off piste weeks are at your level too. If you want to get into ski touring, try a touring course or intro level ski tour. If you’re an established ski mountaineer, then intermediate level tours are generally suitable.
To view all of our Ski Fitness Levels and Off Piste Technical Levels, please visit our Ski Ability page.
If you need to top up your fitness for this trip, please see our Ski Touring Training Advice page.
Day Touring/BC Ski Course Equipment List
Just remember, every extra kilo on your back knocks 10% off your enjoyment on the descents – so try and keep the weight down!
- Waterproof Jacket – preferably lightweight and breathable
- Overtrousers/ski pants – preferably with side zips
- Fleece mid layer or equivalent
- Spare fleece or lightweight insulated duvet jacket
- Socks – specialist ski socks or a warm loop lined pair of mountain socks
- Wicking thermal top – not cotton please…
- Thermal leggings or ski pants
- Thin inner gloves
- Warm ski gloves or mittens, if you suffer from cold hands
- Warm hat
- Water container – at least 1 litre
- Personal medications and blister kit – regular meds, zinc oxide tape, compeed and painkillers etc
- Ski goggles
- Sun glasses – CE rated 3 or 4 with side protection
- Sun and lip cream – factor 30+
- Wallet, passport and insurance docs
- Rucsac 25/35l – try and avoid ones covered in too many features, just ski and ice axe attachments required
- Freeride boots or ski mountaineering boots – check detailed factsheet kit list for preferred boots
- Skis with touring bindings – check detailed factsheet kit list for preferred skis and bindings
- Ski strap – to keep skis together on your rucksack if we need to carry them
- Ski poles – with good size 5cm+ baskets (telescopic poles are not needed)
- Climbing skins – they come with the skis if you hire your kit
- Harscheisen (ski crampons) – they come with the skis if you hire your kit
- Metal snow shovel – must be a full metal shovel (plastic blades don’t work in real avalanche debris!)
- Avalanche probe
- Avalanche transceiver – must be a modern digital model (older analogue models are now obsolete)
- Harness, with 120cm sling and locking karabiner
- Crampons – bring them if you have them
- Ice Axe – bring if you have one
- Ski helmet – a lightweight helmet is recommended for off piste skiing
Your guide will have all other safety kit, first aid and survival equipment.
Recommendations and Advice
Visit the Knowledge Base section of our website, where we publish an annual review of the years best new skis, boots and touring equipment, plus a range of other interesting tips and recommendations. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please get in touch!
Please visit our Equipment Hire page for recommended hire shops in your resort, and Alpine Guides hire equipment price list.
For this trip you must have specialist travel insurance providing medical, emergency search/rescue and repatriation cover for off piste skiing and ski touring, as outlined in the trip itinerary. We also strongly recommend that you purchase cancellation cover, in case you’re unable to attend your trip due to personal circumstances or injury. Please arrange your insurance as soon as your trip is confirmed to run.
Further details can be found on our insurance info page.