By Ayse Yildiz
ANTALYA, Turkiye (AA) – A ski center in Turkey's southern Antalya province, often called the country's "tourism capital, attracts tourists, with 70% of them being foreigners, mostly Russians.
Antalya city, a gateway to Turkiye's southern Mediterranean region with a resort and yacht-filled old harbor, attracts foreign tourists due to its sea, sands, sun, historical and natural charms, cultural structures, ancient landmarks, and luxury accommodation options.
It also has four different skiing tracks for novice, intermediate, and professional skiers and snowboarders, each of which allows them to ski or snowboard for 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) without interruption.
Tourists can enjoy the sun and sea on the beach while skiing at a ski center barely 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the city center, where snow thickness has topped one meter due to recent snowfall.
Osman Ozaydin, in charge of the ski center tracks and a ski coach, told Anadolu Agency that the ski season started earlier this year than previous.
"70% of our guests are foreigners. We have guests mainly from Russia, Germany, the Netherlands and UK. Great investment has been made in our facilities. We have seven ski tracks. We also have 4,500 and 3,200-meter tracks,” he informed.
- Swim and ski on same day
Kristina Malova, a Russian tourist, said she enjoyed her first visit to the ski center.
Noting that Saklikent is unlike any other mountain she has visited, she added: "I struggled with skiing at first, but I got help from the coach. It is very comfortable to spend a vacation in Turkey as we were able to swim and ski."
Another visitor from the Netherlands, Vedat Kosan said they used to ski in Switzerland and Austria every year, but this time they selected Antalya.
Stating that Antalya's climate is very different, Kosan said, "The temperature in Antalya (city center) was 22 degrees. We went to the beach and then came here to ski. We learned that there will be snow until April. So, we will come again in April."
"We enjoy the snow. It is very surprising to go swimming and skiing on the same day,” said Selma Karabelen from Belgium.
*Writing by Seda Sevencan