After last year’s successful adventure on the Etna volcano (here), this year another interesting destination got my attention: Parnassos Ski Center in Greece.
The resort is located on the slopes of the Mount Parnassus, around 200km northwest of Athens (car journey from Athens to the resort takes about 2.5 hours – partly with a tolled motorway, costing around 10 euros one way).
The largest nearby town is Arachova (about 25-35 minutes drive from the resort), with lots of hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops, as well as groceries and ski services. On the weekend the town gets pretty crowded, while on weekdays it is fairly calm and sleepy.
The resort itself offers approx. 35 km of ski slopes (blue and red), operated with gondola lifts, 2-, 4-, 6-seater chairs and Poma lifts. It consists of two smaller stations: Fterolaka and Kellaria, located between 1650 and 2250 meters above sea level.
A 1-day pass costs 20 euros, and multi-day passes can only be purchased for weekends (Friday-Sunday). Kellaria resort is slightly larger with much larger car park as well as a rental and service center. The cost of renting a set of skis and poles (I had my own boots) is 10 euros per day, but the equipment is really, RALLY worn out 😉
The Kellaria 1750 station has a bar, restaurant and another rental service.
The slopes have a very nice profile – they are located above the tree line, so they’re are wide and nicely inclined. Only those leading to the bottom stations are slightly narrower. The amount of snow and snowy summits – even for a bad winter this year – surprises and shows the somewhat less known face of Greece.
The Kellaria and Fterolaka stations are connected with a Gondola, which offers a nice view of the Corinthian Gulf.
The station’s interesting atmosphere is also created by its “ancient” taste. Parnassus itself is the mythological home of Apollo. The slopes have names derived from mythology: “Aphrodite”, “Heracles”, “Hera”.
Additionally, the Delphi archeological site is located about 10 minutes drive from Arachova. There you can visit the archaeological museum and the ruins of ancient buildings, including the Temple of Apollo and the well-preserved amphitheater. It was the location of the famous “Delphic oracle”.
Coming back to the ski resort itself, we can also mention the shameful level of customer service 🙂
The Parnassus massif itself is pretty rocky, so during such a winter as now – with very little snowfall – the stones on the slopes may be problem. During the first day I unluckily hit an impressive boulder, which chipped a large bite of the ski and bent the edge. Fortunately, the guys in the rental service did not care too much about it 😉
The problem would be easily solved by snowmaking systems, because from dusk to dawn the temperature regularly drops below freezing, but – like Etna – Parnassus works only due to natural snowfall.
Summing up – probably not many will decide on a ski holiday in Greece, but when visiting Greece in winter with Ryanair and visiting the famous Delphi, it is worth considering spending one day on visiting Greek slopes.
Ski resort website:
It is also worth taking a look at the Facebook fanpage, where the admins are blaming weather forecast guys for scaring off the skiers, and the skiers themselves are blaming the resort for the stones or service quality 😉
And here is top to bottom ride in Kellaria: