x0x In the lap of the snow Davraz
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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
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.