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x0x In the lap of the snow Davraz

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    [See photographs and more at: http://www.turkradio.us/k/davraz/ ] x0x In the lap of the snow: Davraz By AKGUN AKOVA On the slopes of Mt. Davraz in Isparta the
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 22, 2007
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      [See photographs and more at:
      http://www.turkradio.us/k/davraz/ ]

      x0x In the lap of the snow: Davraz

      By AKGUN AKOVA

      On the slopes of Mt. Davraz in Isparta the snow
      looks like a white door to the sky. And when you
      open that door, you are enveloped in crystal...

      The darkness of night opens with a purple curtain.
      Morning on Mt. Davraz then turns pink, orange and
      finally white, as snow crystals glitter in a
      gigantic bowl formed by the surrounding mountains.
      A fox sniffs at the footprints of a rabbit that
      hopped by not long before, and on the wide, snowy
      road an SUV strains uphill with skis tied to its
      roof. A rain of light falls on the mountain, on
      the rocks about to be wiped clean with a white
      eraser, on the snow-laden trees, and against the
      windows of the icicled hotel. You squint and reach
      in your pocket for the sunglasses as the skiiers
      in all their colors head for the lifts. Mt. Davraz
      stands like a calm, white murmur beneath the sun,
      whereas on my first trip here, last year, I had
      been greeted by a snowstorm. And what a storm it
      was! A terrific blizzard had kept everyone
      prisoner in the hotel.

      When it stopped snowing two days later and
      shoveling had cleared the doorway, we all had
      quite a time finding our cars. And getting them
      out from under the snow that had buried them...
      But now the snow is doing its best to look white
      and stainless. Touching the snow-branched trees on
      the slopes, the light makes blue shadows on the
      pristine whiteness. At such moments you want to
      forget about the cold and walk plunging through
      the snow. And then lie face up on it to take in
      the perfectly blue, crystallized sky...

      26 kilometers from the city of Isparta, the Davraz
      Ski Resort welcomes large crowds, especially on
      the weekends. Some come all the way from Ankara to
      ski, others from nearby Burdur to satisfy their
      curiosity. There are those who come from Isparta
      just to have sucuk (Turkish sausage) and bread,
      and those who come from Antalya to snowboard.
      Children scream with excitement as they sled,
      while high up in the Kiryaylasi cafe hot salep
      when youre cold goes down the throat like a balm.

      At the hour when fog and haze disperse I
      stand by the Zirve (Summit) cafe to look
      towards the horizon, and seem to meet the
      gaze of a great blue eye in all that
      blanket of white! This is Lake Egirdir, of
      which I am so fond.

      FROM SLOPE TO SLOPE

      Rising between Lakes Egirdir and Kovada, Davraz is
      one of the mountains surrounding the Isparta
      Plain, and has for company such other major
      mountains as Mt. Gelincik (Mt. Barla), 2,808
      meters, The Dipoyraz Peak of the Dedegöl range,
      3,007 meters, and the Gelincikana Peak of the
      Sultan range, 2,612 meters. The skiing slopes of
      Mt. Davraz boast a view of the lake, and some of
      them are for advanced skiers, but beginners have
      not been forgotten as there are two baby lifts.
      The chair-lift with its double seats starts at
      1,674 meters and carries you to 1,961 meters. With
      a capacity of 268 and a length of 1,211 meters,
      this chair-lift carries 1,000 people per hour. It
      gives such a marvelous view that not only skiiers
      but also mere guests are eager to make the ride.


      Below them skiers skim down the slopes, as
      tenderfeet try to show their stuff for the ski
      instructors. Theres also a 624-meter T-Bar from
      1,961 to 2,100 meters, but as yet no carrying
      system between this upper point and the start of
      the T-Bar. The highest point of Mt. Davraz is the
      Ulparcukuru Hill at 2,635 meters. The mountains
      pistes are suitable for every sort of snow
      activity from the northern and Alpine disciplines
      to cross-country skiing and snowboarding. There is
      only one hotel on the mountain, but the
      construction of new facilities is under way. And
      the hotels in the city of Isparta, like those on
      the shore of Lake Egirdir, are accustomed to
      putting up winter guests.

      THE SNOW FESTIVAL

      In terms of snow quality, Davraz competes with
      Sarikamis, and Palandoken. Actually this is not
      really a competition, as each region has its own
      version of white beauty. On starry nights the snow
      crystals glisten enchantingly in the light from
      the hotel, and in the late afternoon the mountains
      turn into giant masses of pink candy.


      You can watch the snowboarders flipping through the
      air, see the mountains reflected in sunglasses,
      and enjoy the sight of raw beginners skiing with
      their mixture of fear and joy, and screaming as
      they go. And what luck if you happen to be there
      during the Snow Festival, when skiers glide down
      the slopes at night holding torches, university
      students create frozen art as they do fascinating
      sculptures in snow, and there are various ski
      races to take in. If you go with friends you can
      join in the fun by making a snow statue to become
      Snow Sculptors. But if you want it to turn out
      well, be sure to design and draw it ahead of time!

      Those who plan to stay on Mt. Davraz for more than
      just a few days may want to make trips to the city
      of Isparta and the outlying townships. In the city
      you can visit the Isparta Museum, and in Aksu see
      the Zindan Cave, while fish eaten at a restaurant
      on the shore of Lake Egirdir will transport you
      from the atmosphere of the mountains to that of a
      lake.

      With its young mountains, this region of the Lake
      District is not only suitable for cross-country
      skiing, but is also a splendid place for
      mountaineering, spelunking, rock climbing and
      water sports. As for transportation, you can fly
      to Antalya and go from there to Isparta by bus or
      rented car. The Davraz Ski Resort is 154
      kilometers from Antalya, and the Provincial
      Culture and Tourism Directorate of the Isparta
      Governors Office will be glad to provide
      information to anyone wishing to go. For
      information call (0246) 223 27 98.

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