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Write: Melih Uslu - Photo: Barış Hasan Bedir
Forest Of White :Kartalkaya
Forest Of White :Kartalkaya
Rising star of winter tourism for its luxury hotels and ski pistes at international standards, Kartalkaya’s proximity to Ankara and İstanbul make it an attractive choice even for a weekend.
A hundred and ninety kilometers from Ankara and 260 from Istanbul on the border of Bolu province, Kartalkaya Ski Center is a fun-filled winter tourism resort that combines comfort with natural beauty. The center is perched on the gentle slopes of a 2,378-meter peak in the Köroğlu Mountains, the western Black Sea’s highest range. The stuff of legends, the mountain is beautiful in spring and summer as well with highlands exhibiting rich plant diversity. The region takes its name, Kartalkaya (Eagle Rock), from the fact that the mountaintop was until recently a remote place of eagles’ eyries with no trace of a road. Built as an alternative to the Uludağ Ski Center, which was hard put to meet demand by the end of the 1970’s, it was named Kartalkaya and roads were laid to the top where previously even mules could not tread. Tens of thousands of pine trees were planted, transforming the mountaintop into a forest of white. Kartalkaya today is one of Turkey’s leading winter sports centers with modern hotels, fully equipped pistes and mechanical lifts, all at international standards.
Off to the mountains!
Kartalkaya is a pleasant hour’s journey from Bolu city center. It’s not unusual to encounter serious crowds, especially on weekends. With pistes totaling 35 kilometers in length, the ski center is distinguished from its counterparts by its unspoiled nature, snow quality and climatic conditions ideal for winter sports. Untouched by the harsh north winds thanks to its sheltered pine-covered slopes, the center boasts the kind of long-lasting dry snow suitable for winter sports. In yet another boon, most of the total 13 pistes enjoy direct exposure to sunshine. There is a piste to match every skier’s level, the longest up to 1,500 meters. Snow cover at Kartalkaya reaches two meters in January and February and the altitude of the pistes, all at international standards, varies between 1,800 and 2,200 meters. The mechanical lifts going up to the pistes can carry a total of 4,750 persons per hour. The longest lift is the 1,200-meter Köroğlu Teleski, intended for more experienced skiers.
The 900-meter Great Teleski for skiers at every level of skill is especially popular for its impressive panoramas. There is a wide choice of hotels at Kartalkaya, all offering first class comfort. Services range from a well-heated indoor swimming pool and movie theater to hearthside dining on a choice selection of international cuisine and rooms boasting a Jacuzzi with a mountain view. What’s more, guests at the center’s hotels enjoy certain advantages when using the ski runs. For more modest accommodation, you may choose the facilities at Sarıalan Highland just 8 kilometers away. Measures have also been taken against the occasional thick fog that can pose a risk for skiers. In addition to a professional search and rescue team, medical experts are on duty all day. Bathed in the sun’s rays reflected off the dazzling white snow cover in the daytime, Kartalkaya at dusk takes on a romantic atmosphere. At the end of a long and exhilarating day, you can join the lively entertainment. Or not. It’s up to you.
How to go?
The most practical way of getting to Kartalkaya is to fly to Ankara and then travel overland to Bolu. The 45-kilometer Bolu-Kartalkaya road is kept open in even the most severe winter weather.
Outdoor ice skating
Another special feature of Kartalkaya is outdoor ice skating. If you don’t have skates, that’s no problem either because you can rent them for TL 50 at the rink. If you want, you can even get instruction. Rates start at TL 60 an hour.