Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry
Need to Know
Throughout the Vardenyats Mountain Pass, all the networks operating in Armenia are always available. In case of an emergency, call 911, a service available throughout Armenia.
To take this ski trail, you need to get to the Vardenyats Mountain Pass (2,410m., 7,907ft.), in the Gegharkunik province. It is most convenient to travel by taxi. Taxi services are quite affordable throughout Armenia. We recommend taking a cab with a functional meter.
One can reach Orbelian’s Caravanserai (2,040m., 6,693ft.) by car, then descending down the bend, one will reach the start of the ski trail because skiing up would take much longer. From this trail, one can see the ravishingly beautiful winter scenes of Armenia’s highlands. The highest point of the Mountain Pass is 2,410m (7,907ft.).
Enjoy the high-quality snow while descending down along the marked trail. While skiing, you'll be able to see the white peaks of Armenian mountains and the image of Mount Ararat in the distance.
Skiers should hike west to highway u-10 as the taxi service is always available all over Armenia, but we suggest taking a guide during the tour who can arrange transportation.
The Vardenyats Mountain Pass (previously known as the Selim Mountain Pass, or Hayots Dzor Pass) is located in the Gegharkunik province, west of the Vardenis mountain range. 5km away is Mount Armaghan, with a height of 2,829m (9,281ft.). The Vardenyats Mountain Pass serves as a link between the Argichi Valley, the Sevan Basin, and Vayk. The Martuni – Yeghegnadzor highway passes through the Vardenyats Mountain Pass. Orbelian's Caravanserai (aka the Selim Caravanserai) was built along the Vardenyats Mountain Pass in the 13th century.
The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes connecting China with regions in Asia and Europe. It operated between the 2nd millennium BC up to the 16th century AD. The Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative Chinese silk trade. Initially silk was the main good being transferred. The Road was more than seven thousand km long, with a subsequent marine path being built much later. These old and new worlds bartered in intermediary countries as well.
The Armenian Highland was a bridge between Europe and West Asia. These international trade routes linked Armenia with the Black and Mediterranean sea-ports, crossing the Highlands of Armenia. Commercial transactions were carried out in Iran, Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and China through these routes. Plutarch testifies that Artashat (the capital of Armenia) had a wide range of important trade and economic relations during the 1st century BC. Strabon and other historians of Ancient History write about Armenia’s crucial intermediary role in Roman-Parthian trade relations.
Vardenyats is the best preserved mountain passageway of medieval Armenian passes. Orbelian’s Caravanserai (14th century) in the Vardenyats Mountain Pass served as an inn for traders passing by way of the Silk Road, in the territory of Armenia.
The best time to ski is from January to March. Yerevan is 153km from Orbelian’s Caravanserai and it takes around 2hr 16min and costs 15,300-15,500 AMD (by taxi).
History & Background
There are bears, wild boars, wolves, red foxes, wild rabbits, rodents, and more found in the forests.