For the first time in Greece, a ski resort, officially opens its gates to cyclists, who will want to combine their favorite sport with downhill on snow-covered slopes and more.
Operating with extroversion, the management of the Elatochori Ski Center has set a goal to make it a center of alternative activities in nature, all year round and not only during the winter months and with sports that require snow.
Essentially for the first time in Greece, an attempt is made to follow the successful tread of ski resorts abroad, with a leading example of Bansko in neighboring Bulgaria, which operate all year round, with a variety of activities (cycling, hiking, climbing, etc.) except winter sport. This ensures the viability of the ski resorts, as well as the further strengthening of the local communities.
The rise of mountain biking in Greece, and especially the downhill (mountain downhill cycling) allows the orientation of operation of the Ski Centers in this direction as well. Besides, the absence of snow and low temperatures for a long period in our country, does not allow the Ski Centers to be satisfied exclusively with winter sports, extending their operation to the field of alternative activities in nature, all seasons.
In this context, the “opening” of the Elatochori Ski Center is included, for the lovers of mountain biking, but also the operation of the lift and the chalet and on the weekends -in the first phase- during the summer months, as it was officially announced. Really, it will be especially impressive in the summer, for someone to leave the hot beaches of Pieria -cracked- to cycle on the beautiful and cool slopes of Elatochori in less than 45 km.
For the first time in Greece, fans of mountain biking lift bicycles in the elevator.
On the weekend of January 8 and 9, the Ski Center of Elatochori, tries to combine another activity in the “heart” of winter, with the aim of becoming a destination for fans of mountain biking.
Cyclists who want to experience a descent on the snow-covered slopes, can use the lift, at a reduced price, transporting their bike up to 1,700 m. so they could ride the green and blue track and downhill to the chalet.
It is a completely safe and fun experience, provided of course there is experience, the appropriate equipment and the safety measures are respected. “Apart from the good mood, experience is required, a bicycle in excellent condition, tires with nails (snow tires) and of course a helmet and MTB-ENDURO equipment. We must keep in mind the three “S’s”. “Safety,” Safety “,” Safety “and after the fun” points out Mr. Dimitris Milioris, head of Technical Support of the group “Free Cyclists” of Pieria, whose members will welcome at the weekend the cyclists, who will be at the Ski Resort of Elatochori. As he tells us, the use of the Ski Center by local and foreign cyclists, was a constant request in recent years, which is now satisfied in the context of extroversion efforts of the current administration under the presidency of Mr. Glara.
The bicycles will be transported by the two-seater aerial lift “Zeus”, in a way that will be indicated by the members of the group “Free Cyclists” and the employees of the ski center.
For any information and clarification, those who interested can contact Mr. Dimitris Milioris – certified volunteer rescuer, cycling guide, MTB Leader at tel. 6992325747.
What to look out for
Those who are thinking of going up to the Pieria Mountains for a -really- unprecedented experience, should have previously thoroughly checked the condition of your bike. Complete control is required, with special attention to the proper operation of the brakes and gears, while you should choose suitable tires. Tires with relatively wide tread (mtb) or tires with nails are recommended for more extreme conditions with ice. When it comes to tire pressure, keep in mind that low pressure increases the contact area.
Also keep in mind that you should be properly dressed, warm without sweating, in order to protect yourself from the cold, while allowing full freedom of movement to enjoy your favorite sport.
Enjoy the bike in the snow without exaggeration and extreme movements, respecting the skiers, and of course following the rules of operation and the instructions of the employees of the ski resort.
At the Ski Center for extreme situations
At the Ski Center of Elatochori, on the east side of Pieria, you will find yourself through Katerini (37 km / 50 minutes). The road is paved, perfectly passable -despite the turns- and always open. The Pieria mountains, with the highest peak Flampouro (2,193 m.), Extend NW. of Olympus between Pieria, Imathia and Kozani and are absolutely gentle and accessible. It is no coincidence that in this beautiful natural environment, full of harmony, lived the nine mythological muses who sometimes entertained – with divine melodies and hymns – the Olympian gods, on the opposite peaks of the imposing Olympus.
Informatively, the Pieria Mountains are one of the most densely forested mountains in Greece, with beech and black pine predominating. There are also large forests of firs and chestnuts, while plane trees, maples and willows are found, next to streams with running gurgling waters.
Elatochori Ski Center, which operates at an altitude of 1450 m. And in a beautiful location with amazing views of Mount Olympus and the river Aliakmonas, is a favorite destination of winter sports fans, as it has a total of ten slopes, with varying altitudes and different degree of difficulty, perfectly satisfying both experienced and demanding skiers, as well as beginners. At the same time, there are two slopes exclusively for snowboarding and sledding, offering strong emotions to young and old people.
The unique nature, the modern infrastructures and the 12,000 m total length of the organized slopes, and the snow-corridors that connect them, make the ski center of Elatochori especially popular with the lovers of winter sports. Besides, it is not uncommon to descend easy and difficult slopes, on slopes where the Pierides Muses danced and sang carefree, opposite the gods of Olympus.
The two-seater aerial lift “Zeus”, leads to an altitude of 1,700 m. And to the slopes “Klio” and “Polymnia”. From the same point, the sliding lifts “Apollo” and “Hermes” also lead to the slopes “Klio”, “Polymnia”, “Terpsichore”, “Ourania” and “Kalliopi”. All the tracks are named after the Muses of mythology. There are also two Baby Lifts, one at the base of the ski resort and the second in the area “Litharistra” for beginners. The snowboard track is 500 m long.
If you are not an “adrenaline” person go up the elevator to the first slopes, with the view – to Olympus and the Throne of Zeus, the sea and Pieria – that is breathtaking. Enjoy the scenery, admire the passion of young and old skiers to quickly get off the snow-covered slopes and return to the picturesque chalet, at the base of the Ski Center, for a hot drink.
Do not be intimidated by the huge prehistoric mammoth outside the two-story chalet whose name refers to Hawaii. In the warm atmosphere of Aloha Chalet (Tel .: 6971768643), distinguished for its modern aesthetics and its complete harmonization with the environment, guests enjoy their coffee, drink and snacks.
You can combine your visit to Pieria Mountains with accommodation in the picturesque Elatochori (500 sq. Km.), Which is built at an altitude of about 1000 m. And is 15 ‘away from the homonymous Ski Center. The wild beauty of the landscape, but also the view to Olympus, are impressive. The village, which consists of the oldest and newest settlement, has become a top winter resort, starting point for activities in Pieria Mountains, such as hiking and cycling on organized routes, mountaineering on the mountain tops, but also winter sports at the ski resort. There are many hotels and hostels in the village, as well as taverns and barbecues.
• www.facebook.com / eleutheroi.pierias
• Elatochori Ski Center – Tel .: 2351082994
• Free Cyclists of Pieria-Tel .: 6992325747