Freeriding in Macedonian mountains is fast becoming one of the most popular, adrenaline-packed adventures. Whether you choose organized tours or to join a group of locals, it will feel amazing! Anita Palceska knows all about it…
Macedonia has a long mountain range along its western border and some of its steepest slopes are on the northwest side, where the snow holds for a long time. The crowds and the ski centers are mostly on the east side, so the western slopes are usually untouched and perfect for freeriding. Actually, on most of these mountains (Shar Mountain, Korab Mountain, Jablanica Mountain and the Karadžica range in central Macedonia and Kozuf in the south) 80% of the terrain is not in use by the ski centers, leaving plenty of perfect powder for ski fanatics.
This sport has grown in popularity a great deal in the past few years for the following 3 main reasons:
1) A great choice of ski slopes unspoiled by the ski centers.
2) The ideal temperature and height conditions.
3) The best prices. The prices of organized freeride tours are probably the most reasonable in Europe. People from all over the world come for the freeride experience in Macedonia.
Macedonian freeriders usually form their own groups rather than official clubs, and they climb on foot, carrying their equipment on their backs. This means that in the best-case scenario they will have 3, 4 or maybe 5 down hill rides in one day. But there is a special feeling in that. It feels like a special bond with the mountain, a chance to ride down the slopes where no one has been before.
Of course, there is developed freeride tourism, with a few companies that have organized tours with Ratracs to the most famous ridges or peaks, or some less known but with good access during the season.
You can hire guides and take all the necessary safety measures. This way, you don’t lose energy walking uphill and instead save time with the Ratrac ride; this allows you to take as many as 10 rides during one day. There are also food and accommodation arrangements on offer. For more info about the rates of organized free ide tours you can look up the Eskimo Freeride.
Certainly, there is always a danger of avalanches in this sport, but the local guides and Ratrac drivers are familiar with the dangerous spots and successfully avoid them. Therefore, these accidents are extremely rare. However, in case of any trouble, the Crisis Center is available at number (02) 195. They will know who to engage to help you.
So, if you are looking for a winter adrenaline-packed adventure, Macedonia’s freeride ski tours are definitely worth a try. You will see parts of the mountains that you will probably never see on foot or during regular ski tours. And you will ski or board slopes that are untouched, pristine, and all yours. So go for it!