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Although the global focus off the biggest new infrastructure investments of the past few years has been on Russia and to a lesser extent China and South Korea, Turkey too has been spending on state-of-the-art lifts and associated facilities to develop ‘world class’ ski resorts.
The Erciyes ski area, an extinct volcano rising to almost 4,000m, is one of the locations chosen for major resort development along with dozens of smaller centres the Turkish government hopes will contribute to building economic development and thus social stability in outlying Eastern regions.
Erciyes has a lot going for it. Located close to an airport (you can leave Amsterdam and be on the slopes by noon, according to reports) and a growing university city with a million plus population (Kayseri, 25km away) it is based on an extinct volcano nearly 4,000m high which is permanently snow capped.
Originally there were a couple of drag lifts and fixed gripped chairs and two on mountain lodges at the base, but Doppelmayr have now installed a gondola and five new chairlifts - two detachable and three fixed-grip models. However the company reports that despite all these lifts there remains only 9km of groomed piste.
But that is just the start, the ultimate aim is to create the biggest ski region in Turkey with 160km of piste and 21 lifts able to carry 34,000 skiers up the mountain on an hourly basis. This would put the resort just inside the world top 100 in terms of size.