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Visitor reviews for Kartalkaya Ski Resort
February 09, 2015
Alec from Lebanon
If you really aim to go for snowboarding in Turkey and you think Kartalkaya is close and a good choice from Istanbul or Ankara then I would say to you avoid, avoid, avoid!
We were there from 2nd Feb to 6th Feb which was during the school holiday period. One reason everyone there was happy to charge you prices more expensive than the best Alpine resort with below average service.
I mean for such a small resort 50$ for 1 day pass is insane! Not to mention that the slopes are not the most interesting or even not so steep (but you can find a few good tree runs on the left side of the mountain).
And also you don't have much budget friendly hotel choices near the slopes. The cheapest I found was Gol Evi hotel which is 9km from the resort and there is no way to reach the resort other than taxi. This also applies from Bolu to Kartalkaya (50$ to reach per way!)
I'm not so sure why some parts of the slopes were closed on sunny days but then they open it for 2 hours before closure.
All in all, what a rip off!
P.s: I have also been to Sarikamis; much, much better!
Overall: 3.2. Based on 45 votes and 36 reviews. Vote
(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Kartalkaya.
Public Transport: 3.1
(1) There are no buses or taxis to Kartalkaya, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.
(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.
(1) No places to stay in/near Kartalkaya, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.
Cheap Rooms: 2.5
(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.
Luxury Hotels: 4.2
(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Kartalkaya.
Ski in/Ski out: 3.9
(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.
(1) There are no child care facilities at Kartalkaya, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.
(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Kartalkaya is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.
(1) Kartalkaya relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.
Snow Grooming: 3.7
(1) There are no snow groomers at Kartalkaya, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Kartalkaya are groomed daily.
(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Kartalkaya is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.
Nearby options: 2.3
(1) If snow conditions are poor at Kartalkaya, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.
Regional rating: 4.0
(1) Kartalkaya usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.
Lift Staff: 3.6
(1) The staff at Kartalkaya are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Kartalkaya are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.
(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.
Ski Schools: 3.4
(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.
Hire and Repairs: 3.7
(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.
Variety of pistes: 3.2
(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Kartalkaya has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.
(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.
(1) No intermediate terrain at Kartalkaya, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.
(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.
Snow Park: 3.2
(1) Not even a kicker at Kartalkaya, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.
(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.
(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Kartalkaya, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.
(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Kartalkaya has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.
Mountain Dining: 3.3
(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.
(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.
(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.
Other Sports: 3.1
(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.
(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.
Winter Walks: 2.4
(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.
Ski Pass Value: 2.9
(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.
Value (National): 3.4
(1) Overall, Kartalkaya is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.
Value (Global): 3.0
(1) Overall, Kartalkaya is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.
March 03, 2013
Ege from Turkey
Kartalkaya is a better choice compared to the most other ski resorts and mountains in Turkey because of it's comfort, quality hotels, less people and they have more than one track. Grand Kartal Otel and its brother Kartal serve excellent food with many choices. This is far more than what is expected on a mountain, alcoholic drinks are included too. Rooms in these hotels are big and comfy. These hotels have 6 lifts and the tracks are averaged about 1 to 2 kilometers long with medium to high pitch. Tracks are heading to different directions but most of them are joining at down. When skiing in a track it's possible to see a different landscape from the previous one. Grand Kartal's lobby is a big one and while sitting you can drink beverages or eat snacks at 5 pm. Don't go the cafe on the ski track at the top of the mountain, it's not included and expensive.
Dorukkaya hotel is another option to choose at Kartalkaya with its own ski lifts. This hotel is often chosen by the younger skiers and university student groups because of its social environment and night activities. Prices are a little bit cheaper compared to Grand Kartal. Hotel food is good but it is not so good enough to compare with Grand Kartal. It's tracks collected on a side of a hill and most of them are parallel or following one other, 2 tracks are the exceptions. Tracks are longer compared to Grand Kartal and they have bought a new faster chairlift. Many disadvantages of the tracks is pitch is generally low compared to Grand Kartal. Most tracks are not entertaining for experienced skiers.
April 27, 2012
Somebody Who Isn't Me from Turkey
I'm from Ankara; one of the closest big cities to Kartalkaya. It takes 2 hours car driving with the new Dörtdivan route from Ankara to Kartalkaya.
But if you are located in Istanbul, it is around 3 - 4 hours with car driving.
For last 10 years, during winters, I'm spending most of my weekends in Kartalkaya, so I guess I know much about the mountain. I wish to share my observations and experiences.
Some key points about Kartalkaya:
- Both from Istanbul and Ankara, every day (weekends and weekdays) there are daily buses direct from to cities to Kartalkaya. They depart very early in the morning, they arrive at Kartalkaya around 9:00 AM, so you will not miss the day, you will catch it from the beginning. To return back to cities, they leave Kartalkaya around 17:00 (when the slopes close). To reach those daily shuttle bus companies, you can have their information from the hotel receptions (via phone).
- This gives you an advantage to come for a daily trip, without accommodating. Ankara people are more lucky because it's much closer and daily trip becomes less tiring.
- Kartalkaya is the best option to ski or snowboard in Turkey, when you compared with other resorts. Only competitor would be Palandoken Mountain in Erzurum (and also Sarikamis could be a different option too) but they are located at the most east part of Turkey, so going with plane becomes another cost.
- Kartalkaya is an expensive resort. Unfortunately. Every service in mountain is overcharged! But when you have a hunger to ski or snowboard or when you want to do something different for a weekend, it becomes a nice option, because it's closeness to big cities like Istanbul and Ankara. So you may don't care about the expensiveness.
- When the weather is clear, sunny, without fog, and the snow condition is good, you can have excellent time for a couple of days. More than 3 days would be much, because you would get bored to ride on same slopes everyday.
- If you wish to stay long, weekdays would be cheaper, it would be fair.
- If you are going to organize your only winter holiday which you waited for whole summer, I suggest you to go to Alpes or Bulgaria. (Bulgaria stays extreme cheap when you compared for any season.)
- If you wish to go with your family, when the kids are at semester holiday, (so, I mean the semester period), stay away from the super-overcharged semester prices of Kartalkaya, even Alps would be cheaper option with flights included.
* Daily trip is a good option from Ankara and Istanbul.
* Weekdays are fair.
* Weekends are ok to stay for 2 days.
* Long stays including weekends and semester holidays are meaninglessly overcharged, and you will get bored to ride in short, same slopes.
Kartalkaya is divided into two parts. Kartal Part is the left part and Doruk Part is the right part of the mountain. Unfortunately, you cannot ski on both parts with the same skipass. Here I wrote the pros and cons for each choices.
Common issues for both parts:
- You can finish every slope in one day. So your riding time pass in a loop on same slopes.
- Both part has a snowpark, organized and cared by volunteer snowboarders, there is no halfpipe, but the snowpark conditions are good when you compared with the overall attributes of Kartalkaya.
- The longest nonstop route is about 2,5 km, and there about total 6 or 7 different ski routes.
- Prices for both part are same or close.
Kartal Part Pros and Cons:
- Better off-piste than Doruk. Off-piste has more pines and more steep parts.
- At the afternoon, sun is leaving the area later than Doruk Part.
- The apres-ski and cafe option on piste is worse.
- Old mechanics (teleskis and chair lifts).
Doruk Part Pros and Cons
- Longer individual slopes than Kartal Part.
- The apres-ski and cafe option on piste is better.
- Has a one new chair lift which is fast and comfortable (on the longest slope), the rest of the mechanics are old.
About the hotels for whom want to accommodate:
Kartal Otel and Grand Kartal Otel:
- Gives you the free skipass for Kartal Part as you stay.
- Very polite and well trained staff, with a nice welcome.
- Incredibly delicious meals in both hotels (Kartal is even better than Grand Kartal about meals). They are using the all advantages of rich Bolu Mountain resources, so food they serve is very good.
- Gives you the free skipass for Doruk Part as you stay.
- Rude and uneducated staff, uncared service.
- Meals are catastrophic! Really bad when you compared with other hotels. (Still, foreigners could enjoy the meals, I guess they find it good when they compare with their own cuisine culture)
- The only positive thing I could say about this hotel is: the atmosphere of the lobby and apres-ski is more warm and enjoyable than other hotels.
- The only thing, the hotel owners' care is money they earned, they see the customers at the walking wallets. They don't care about the quality of their services.
- I guess, the only reason why people would chose Dorukkaya to stay is for to ski in Doruk Part.
Tips for daily visitors:
- Both Doruk Part and Kartal Part is competitive about slopes, they both have different advantages and disadvantages. Try and experience both of them in different days. But don't even think about purchasing both skipasses for the same day, it would be a meaningless expense, just choose one.
Have a nice trip ;)
March 04, 2012
akin kurtoglu from Turkey
This excellent location is under utilized due to the stupidity of both hotels establishing the facilities on the top. The longest of the pistes is only 2 kilometers... and you can only use the lifts and pistes of the hotel that you checked in. The same applies for one day skiers.
There are two main hotel groups up there, with Dorukkaya being slightly better in terms of rooms, one-dayer changing room, food quality, pistes, number of lifts, seasonal investment done and bigger lobby etc.
Kartal hôtels pistes and lifts are always more packed although it is plainly inferior than the Dorukkaya pistes. the reason is that they can arrange better deals with tourism agencies so most of them bring one dayers to Kartal hotel.
Another funny fact is that Kartal hotel has many lifts, however, 4 of them take you to the same location! So if you seek a variety of skiing slopes then you might be disappointed.
Dorukkaya hotel installed a new 4 person chair lift system this season. It has wind protection and is extremely faster than the previous one.
February 22, 2012
Tom S from Turkey
Stayed at Golden Keys Hotel for a couple of nights this week. The staff at the hotel are some of the best I've met in far and wide travels through Turkey - I usually don't tip much in hotels but several people deserved it in this case. I guess the hotel is a bit more pricey than the standard hotels at the resort but I'd be happy to pay again for the exclusivity (will do a review on trip advisor soon...)
Having dumped the ute into the free undercover valet parking there was a a shuttle minibus to the slopes, though they are only about 200m away - we never had to wait more than a couple of minutes for the bus when we called it. Reception gives you a choice of lift passes to either the Kartalkaya slopes or the Dorukaya ones. Having only one day to board in the end I hit the Kartalkaya side.
Good snow cover and a foot or more powder on some of the sheltered off-piste areas with only a limited number of other people going off-piste. Terrain is fairly easy going with few steep slopes of any extent. Lift-lines on a Monday were almost non-existent and I managed around 11 runs for about 2400m of descent over around 3hrs.
In the afternoon I was on babysitting while the other-half and our 5yr-old went for a private lesson (their first time on skis). The baby slopes are very limited, maybe about 40m long with some rope-tows and one magic-carpet that is off-bounds unless you are with official instructors from Kartalkaya or Dorykaya. Beware of instructors giving you a per-hour price and then saying their lessons are only 50 minutes - rather disappointed by this after a 220TL charge for a combined lesson for 1 adult and 1 kid.
Ski rental (adult and kids) was easy but beware off fitting the equipment the afternoon before - I think we were charged for 2 days use when we only had the kit out of the rental shop for a single day.
January 24, 2011
Philip Upson from Turkey
We stayed in Dorukaya Hotel (at Kartalkaya) over Christmas last year (2010). Nice Hotel: relatively small rooms but adequate (unless like us you have three young kids - and a bit more space would be handy). Food was good and plentiful. Some nice waiters but the hotel reception suffers from the often found grumpy unfriendly Turkish hotel staff. Note: many of these probably do not ski and just come up from the coastal hotels so don't expect the Austrian/Swiss welcome here.
The absurdity of the two hotel chains having separate lift tickets will be a bug bare to most foreigners who have skied more developed resorts, and could easily finish all the on-piste routes of both areas in one day. But saying that you can off course on one day go and buy the other pass. There really are no appropriate slopes for absolute beginners, and safety is an issue (on both the so called baby slopes as well as most others).
Like others we found the hotel full and the slopes empty. weird. Patchy snow in places (i.e. grass) but runs still open. Anyway we attempted it and once over the windblown pasture we got to a nice black run. I saw in another post that the off-piste was untracked during powder and we found that too but, unfortunately, the powder was gone and a sort of spring snow was found so we still managed much off-piste on the untracked sides of the pistes. The trees off the side of the only chair look good if you have powder.
Price looks expensive to start with but as meals and lift passes and drinks are included, as well as kiddies club, and pool etc, it was not too bad. Some children accommodated for free too.
Christmas...of course they had not yet heard of it...so not a decoration in sight...but that did not matter.
All in all, for a few days a good break from the cities. But not the Alps by a long shot.
January 16, 2011
Deniz Ilhan from Turkey
I was at the Kartal/Grand Kartal hotel piste side of Kartalkaya yesterday for a one-day trip provided by RadikalTur. I counted on the weather forecast of snow-forecast.com. The forecast was that it was going to be partly cloudy and clear during the day accompanied by relatively warm weather and weak winds. I could tell that this forecast has been mostly verified. However, it was dominantly partly cloudy during the day and as it drew close to 16.00, fog began rolling in from the upper slopes.
As far as I can evaluate, the snow quality is 6.5 out of 10. There is sufficient snow for everyone to enjoy, both for the piste skiers/boarders and off-piste skiers/boarders. However, it is hoped that the snow quality would rise by further snow.
I should mention that I never had the chance to fully benefit from the new "Snow Park" that had been completed some seasons ago. Before, the Park was never sufficiently ploughed for the visitors, with ramps hidden by uneven snow, and this time it was 'being' ploughed hence not available for utilization.
Also, I can't emphasize enough the inadequacy of Kartal/Grand Kartal Hotel's lodge (4 changing cabinets and jammed organization of lockers) for one-day visitors when, say, four buses of visitors swarm the lodge. Dorukkaya's lodge for one-day visitors is 'way' better.
However, I do not know anywhere more adequate for snow-aficionados around Marmara region to enjoy for now. I have never been an Uludag or Kartepe frequenter.
Hope to inform you with more recent news!
January 04, 2011
Kubilay from Turkey
Kartalkaya is more advanced compared to Uludag in terms of signs, pistes and the crowd. As it is hard to reach, locals or novices do not bother you there.
The hotels are expensive, especially during weekends, so try pensions nearby but don't expect anything.
Skipass is expensive but if you take the card of one of the pensions they would give you a discount.
Generally it is the best place who do not have time to travel more distant resorts.
March 09, 2010
Joe Richardson from New Zealand
Fantastic tour to Kartalkaya and some awesome boarding. We were lucky to get magic clear powder days and loads of photos.
Everything was easy with the hotel and the service, meals and amenities were great.
One let down was the absolute crap service and hack job done on on my board by TIMO snowboard "butcher " shop inside the hotel.
I had arranged and paid for my board to have some P-Tex repairs, edges sharpened, hot wax and full tidy up.
They did nothing except melt 5 blocks of wax all over my board and leave it at that. When I questioned the issue I was told it was all done and done properly. I was then told that I was from New Zealand therefore I didn't know anything about snowboards and how they should be prepped. Also the fact I understand & speak Turkish didn't help with the remarks made towards me in a foreign language which I understood.
Following this I found a store called SPX next door. These guys fixed my board in minutes and did it well. I will go back to them without hesitation next time. Thanks SPX !!!
All in all, great mountain, runs, off-piste riding, hotel, food, bar, girls..........
Be back soon
February 02, 2010
Moreno Polverini from Italy
This is our second year living in Istanbul and we decided to spend a weekend skiing.
Last year we tried Kartepe, this year Kartalkaya.
Thanks to another review, we decided to contact the Yayla hotel, and since we called for reservation, we had a positive approach.
We arrived at the hotel at 11 pm and they served us a delicious dinner. They were extra friendly and they did not mind serving us until we wanted to go to our room.
They do not handle alcohol but if you bring your wine, raki or beer with you, they are more than happy to serve you that as well.
The best breakfast that I have ever had! Fabulous chef! Almost all products are home-made and organic. They have chickens, cows, and ladies cook bread in house. I felt like I was visiting a farm house with a great sense of hospitality.
Negative things about Kartalkaya that I was surprised about; roads to the mountain are not cleaned and salted by municipality. How come road to an international ski resort is not drive friendly? We had to put chains in the middle of the road and take it off on the way back to the hotel.
Long line on the lifts makes you waste time with a 15 minutes waiting period for one line.
Overall, our trip was very good, and I especially recommend Yayla Hotel (5 km after the turning to Kartalkaya way). It was also very good deal in tems of room rates.