By Yunus Hocaoglu
ERZURUM, Turkey (AA) – The ski season in Palandoken, one of Turkey's favorite winter wonderlands in the eastern province of Erzurum, has been extended with snowfall continuing in the spring.
New reservations made by the winter sports lovers to the ski resort for alpine skiing and snowboarding on Mount Palandoken have excited tourism professionals.
With an artificial snowmaking system, Palandoken kicked off the winter season in December and continues hosting tourists.
The winter wonderland hosts thousands of local and foreign tourists every year.
The resort offers a safe vacation to ski lovers amid the coronavirus pandemic with natural beauties and kilometers of ski tracks.
Despite the spring season, the snow quality did not deteriorate even in March, while the snow thickness reachd about 1 meter (39.3 inches) with the recent snowfall.
– 'Season continues with new reservations'
Omer Akca, a general manager of a hotel in Palandoken, told Anadolu Agency that the ski season was prolonged due to snowfall in March.
Emphasizing that the snow level is at a sufficient level, Akca said: "The season continues with new reservations. As tourism professionals in Palandoken, we are very pleased for this."
Akca said following the snowfall in the first week of March, the season was extended thanks to good weather and it has led to an increase in reservations and an incredible opportunity for people to enjoy skiing in sunny weather in March.
"Right now it seems the season will continue until April 15 in Palandoken," he said.
He also underlined that due to COVID-19 restrictions, the resort could not host many foreign tourists, while visitors came mainly from Istanbul, Ankara and the Aegean province of Izmir.
Ali Guney, the head of another hotel in the resort center, said Palandoken has the longest ski tracks in the country.
He said since it has "crystal snow" structures, the snow does not melt fast.
Erzurum has an important tourism potential with its historical artifacts, sports facilities and natural beauties. The city is covered with ice in the winter and turns green during the summer.
It is located on the slopes of Mt. Palandoken, approximately 1,800 meters (5,905 feet) above sea level.
*Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara