Freeride skiing in Macedonia >> Starting from €990,-! | Cloud9 Travel


Catski tours in Europe's unknown freeride destination

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Why Macedonia?

In Macedonia you will not only discover the untouched nature of the Shar Mountains, but you’ll also experience a unique culture up close. You will venture out with Eskimo, the oldest Cat ski operator in Europe! The elevated grass pastures of Popova Shapka are the ideal base of operations for your freeride adventure. Your lodge is situated at 1687m, and you will explore mountains of up to 2747m! Expect incredibly long descents over the vast sloping landscape. The Macedonian backcountry offers daily new discoveries. The same goes for the Macedonian cuisine, which consists of a mixture of Mediterranean and Eastern influences.

For whom

In essence, Cat skiing is related to heli-skiing. That’s why we offer this surprising location to every freerider looking for a unique experience close to home. Not only do we guarantee the number of vertical meters you came for, but we promise you will be putting down the first, fresh tracks with a small group of likeminded enthusiasts too. During the ascent with the Cat you’ll listen to music while you relax, enjoy some snacks, and chat with your new ski buddies. The mountains in Macedonia are a lot older than the relatively ‘young’ Alps. Because of this, the terrain consists of many open plains and couloirs, but the occasional cliff drop,too! The diverse features of the terrain make the area suitable for both novice off-piste skiers and snowboarders, and advanced freeriders.

Catski met groep mensen in Macedonië
Snowboarder laat spoor achter in diepe sneeuw

Welcome to paradise.

- Menno Boermans

Testimonial van Menno Boermans

Cat-ski trips in Macedonia

Cat skiing in Macedonia is possible from mid-December to early April. Direct flights to Skopje leave from different airport and flights with short transfers are also available from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. It is possible to book a 8-day trip from sunday to sunday, 6-day trip from wednesday to monday or a 5-day trip from sunday to thursday. Either way, the daily planning remains the same: lots of freeriding. Eskimo works with groups of maximum fithteen people, each with its own Snowcat. This ensures that the enormous terrain is all yours…

Backcountry Safari

During a Backcountry Safari, you will spend the night in tents under starlit skies. Or, if the snowfall permits it, in self-made igloos. The safari extends for two days and one night in rough, wild terrain. This creates some unique possibilities. Have you ever considered backcountry night-skiing? The snow reflects in the headlights of the Cat, illuminating the descent in front of you. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience that you can’t afford to miss out on! Depending on the groups size, you will have either one or two private Cats at your disposal. This allows you to make plenty of vertical meters. The backcountry safari is an amazing way to experience wild and untouched Macedonia up close.

Our partner in Macedonia

In the 1980s, a group of Macedonian high school students were forced to build an igloo to spend the night in during a trip in the Sharplanina mountains. It was more than 15 years later when the founders of Eskimo Freeride, inspired by this intense experience, set up the first Snowcat operation in Europe. During their prior travels through Canada, Kamchatka, and New Zealand, the team behind Eskimo concluded that the mountains ‘back home in Macedonia’ were just as beautiful and challenging for off-piste enthusiasts. Since 2007, Eskimo Freeride hosts adventurers from all over the globe to enjoy Macedonian nature, culture, and gastronomy.


Eskimo, reassuringly applies high safety standards. Each descent is planned by the guides, who also do daily checks on weather changes and snow stability. Eskimo policy requires a minimum of two Cats out on the mountain at all times. This ensures that one can aid the other in case of an emergency. In addition to this, all guests receive a set of safety equipment containing a avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe. On the first day, you will receive training in using the material, as well as safety and rescue procedures. Eskimo Freeride has developed a GPS map in collaboration with Garmin, which they use to analyze every descent in detail. As a member of HeliCat Canada, the world’s largest association for freeride operators, Eskimo Freeride lives up to the standards and procedures of HeliCat Canada.

Popova Shapka, Macedonia

Popova Šapka is situated in the ancient Shar Mountain range, approximately 70 kilometers west of the capital Skopje. Its vast landscape and open terrain make Macedonia into a real treat for any adventure-thirsty freerider. Every day you will venture out with the Snowcat in search of descents at remote places in the wilderness. Second to that, the culture, traditions, and gastronomy of Macedonia make for a true voyage of discovery.

Terrain and snow conditions

The Shar Mountains terrain is mostly wide, open plains, but there are also many tree runs and steep couloirs with stunning cliffs, too. The tree line is at about 1700m. Below that you’ll find mountainside grass pastures perfect for freeriding. Eskimo Freerides’ home base is situated at Popova Šapka at an elevation of 1687m. During your stay you will explore the region from Tito to Jelak: an area of 32 km2 that’s only accessible by Snowcat. With an average snowfall of five meters per year, snow conditions are comparable with favorable areas in the Alps.


You will stay at Hotel Arena Teteks, the center of Eskimo and all its activities. It’s a basic lodging in ” Balkan style” with amazingly tasty local cuisine. The Snowcat is parked right next door, waiting patiently for a new adventure the next day. The hotel is located in the village of Popova Šapka, just around the corner from the freeride terrain. There’s a restaurant, a well-stocked bar with affordable drinks, and a lounge to relax in after a day on the mountain. Dinner is normally served in the hotels’ restaurant, but occasionally you will go out to one of the traditional, authentic restaurants of Popova Šapka. After an intensive day on the mountains, you can enjoy a well-deserved sauna and spa.

Travel to Macedonia

A direct flight from different airports takes you to Skopje in just three hours, making Macedonia the fastest and most easily accessible location of Cloud9 Travel. Perfect when you don’t want to travel very far or have limited time available. Schiphol Airport offers flights to Skopje with just a short transfer. The Eskimo Freeride staff will pick you up at the airport and bring you to Popova Šapka in just one and a half hours. You’ll be Catskiing in Macedonia sooner than you would be on the slopes if you were driving to the Alps! On the last evening, you will be taken to Skopje for an epic night on the town in the capital of Macedonia. This ensures a timely arrival at the airport for your return flight the next day.


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