Freeride Albania: What Is It? Where Can You Do It?

The best parts of Albania for freeriding with skis or snowboards are in the northern mountains, both in the Accursed Mountains, bordering Kosovo and Montenegro, and in the Sharr Mountains, neighboring North Macedonia.

Though the mountains are very nice and offer a favorable climate with plenty of snow, Freeride in Albania is suited for the brave naturalists who enjoy the wild. Both centers offer basic accommodation in guest houses, but lack infrastructure in terms of lifts. However, the two locations differ in many aspects.

Doberdol and Sublica Valley

This area encompasses two valleys on the border with Kosovo. It is a horseshoe-shaped region where the guesthouse is situated at an altitude of 1500 meters. The peaks surrounding the guest house reach up to 2600 meters, offering a wide variety of pistes. In this valley, a snowcat operator named Freeride Albania is available. You can also book through Balkan Natural Adventure for a ski tour combined with Freeride in Albania: see our tour.

Arriving at this destination can be challenging, as there are no asphalt roads that are cleared and maintained. To get there, you must either arrange with the cat ski operator or can ski tour from the area where snow is present, from either Albania or Kosovo, with your luggage being carried by a moto ski. This difficulty also ensures a secluded spot amid the wilderness. Doberdol is one of the stops for the Peaks of the Balkans tour.

Korab Mountain

Korab is located in the Sharr Mountains and is the highest peak of both Albania and North Macedonia. Here, the accommodated is in the village featuring a quaint mosque in a picturesque setting. The guest houses here are slightly better than in Doberdol, though still basic. Some guest houses offer very charming rooms, adding to the experience. This mountain is part of the summer trail Highs Scardus.

In terms of snow, Korab sometimes faces challenges as the peak is exposed to the wind, which can sweep the snow off the face of the mountain. When there is not enough snow one will have to walk some two hours. There are no cat ski operators, which means you can enjoy freeride skiing without the effort of climbing it.

However, in good snow conditions, Korab offers a stunning view of the rocky peak, a large face for skiing, and some forested parts where one can ski between the trees.

Overall, freeriding in Albania is wild, new, and exciting, with the number of companies offering this service growing and diversifying their offers.

Where to Fly in Order to Freeride in Albania

For those eager to explore the thrilling freeride opportunities in Albania’s northern mountains, selecting the right airport to fly into is crucial for minimizing travel time and maximizing your adventure on the slopes. Both the Accursed Mountains and the Sharr Mountains, the prime locations for freeride skiing and snowboarding, are accessible via the same airports due to their proximity in the northern part of the country.

The most convenient entry point for international travelers is Prishtina Airport in Kosovo. From Prishtina, a drive of approximately two to two and a half hours will take you to either of the freeride locations. Additionally, if you choose to fly into Prishtina, you have the option to drive to the Decan Mountains in less than two hours and then ski tour to Doberdol, offering a unique and adventurous route to your freeride destination.

Another option is the small airport in the Northern Albanian city of Kukës (Kukës Airport). This airport, while not as large and offering fewer flights, provides good connections to Germany and Switzerland. This makes it an attractive option for travelers from Europe. Being the closest airport to both freeride locations, Kukës Airport significantly reduces travel time.

Lastly, Tirana Airport, Albania’s main international gateway, serves as another feasible option for freeriders. Although it is located some three hours away from both locations, Tirana Airport offers a wider range of flight options and better connectivity with international destinations. This makes it a viable alternative for those who cannot find suitable flights to Prishtina or Kukës.

Regardless of your choice, each airport offers its own set of advantages. One should look at, price, proximity to the freeride locations or better flight options. Planning your flight accordingly will ensure a smoother transition from the airport to the untouched snow of Albania’s majestic mountains.

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