Pronounced "oo-la-dar", the biggest resort in Turkey is close to the sea and historic sites and is surrounded by a 600-year-old national forest. High-value skiing with the option of heli-skiing on the Zivre Peak (2543 M ).
Uludag's ski slopes fan out in a horseshoe around the resort, with most of the hotels either slopeside or very close to the slopes and most owning their own lifts. Whilst this is convenient initially for an individual hotel's guest, who'll generally find use of that hotel's lift is included in their holiday price; it rapidly becomes less so once they try to move around and find they have to stop and buy a ticket with their millions of Turkish lira at virtually every lift. Collective lift tickets have existed in the past apparently, and may do again - a new computerised system ticketing system for the whole resort had reportedly been purchased at the time of writing, but agreement had not been reached on its installation and use. Most of the lifts are T bars, the remainder elderly single or double chairs. If you're prepared to put up with the lifts (Most of which close for lunch at 1pm sharp, in the case of the T Bars regardless of whether people are riding up at the time, reportedly) and the ticket system then you are in for a good skiing experience, probably! Although largely promoted as a place for beginners and intermediates, more advanced skiers have raved about the 'huge safe bowls' of powder snow off piste between the runs which can be enjoyed 'in peace' during the quiet midweek period. The off piste terrain, especially good in the Kusaklikaya sector, is little used by the natives but relatively safe from avalanches, there being no Alpine style steeps or overhangs above the slopes. Apart from the lift served runs there's the chance to take a budget priced helicopter to the summit of Mount Olympus/Zivre (2543m/about 8400 feet) to ski one of the most challenging runs; or a bus to the Volfram mine from which you can ski back to the resort. It's possible to take a long hike to the summit of Zivre if the helicopter service is unavailable. The highest point of the lifts is reached by a single chair at 2235m. From here on a good day there are views over the rolling hills down to the sea of Murmara. For intermediate skiers the Ulukardesler, Ergun and Fatin lifts give access to some of the main wide sunny blue and reds slopes leading back down to the villase. The Fatin run often sports a mogul/bumps field. Beginners will find wide nursery slopes carved through the trees above the resort, and above every hotel. To the right of the main snowbowl the Fahri, Beceren and Kervansary lifts all access the best of the nursery terrain. Some of the lifts have music playing add to the party atmsphere. The ski school is particularly good midweek when clients are few and teachers especially keen and there are numerous mountain huts and restaurants. Night skiing is also available and in any case the lifts tend to stay open until around 8pm from February on. Snow cover is generally good with largely north facing, if sunny, slopes. There are half a dozen cross country trails around the resort but there is apparently a serious danger of bear or wolf attack to those who venture too far away into the untouched national forest!
Uludag is not particularly well geared up for families with young children, with daycare or ski school generally needing to be arranged privately, although this is more affordable than at many of the world's other leading resorts. The ski terrain is family friendly but one of the few negative points for families with children is that the predominance of T Bars and the single chairs which do not provide user friendly family uplift, although there are some double chairs. With its friendly, dedicated staff, children's play area, pool and ice rink, the Grand is a good base for families. The Beceren and Buyuk hotels also have children's play room, the latter employs Turkish nannies at its guest's request.
Turkish food is, naturally enough, the main type of meal on offer at the 20 or so hotel restaurants. Unlike most ski areas there's no desire to offer pizzas or burgers here. The 'Isklender' kebab is the local speciality (named after Alexander The Great). If you really get a taste for the lamb then head for the restaurant at Sarilan, near Uludag's mosque and five minutes drive from the resort centre. Here, on selected evenings, a whole lamb is roast on a spit for you and you can join in Turkish songs and dances. Lunchtime barbecues are offered at a number of spots -lamb remaining the staple of the various meat dishes (or you can rent your own BBQ and take it with you for a woodland picnic). Garlic sausage is another local favourite to cook on your barbie. Breakfast generally consists of fresh bread, local jam made with honey, olives, cheese, tomatos and tea. Coffee and eggs are available but may be pricey.
Aprés-ski is where Turkey, and Uludag in particular, excel. The limited winter population have a choice of dozens or bars and seven night clubs, albeit hotel based. The latter tend to 'come to life' around midnight and stay busy until 4 or 5 am. The Beceren café at the base of the slopes is a favourite haunt for party animals, who although too concerned with saving their energies for the evening activities to venture on to the slopes, may still expend some effort in changing outfits several times a day. There is also a casino for those tempted to gamble. Mulled wine ("Sharap" in Turkish) is popular, as is 'Efes' beer, or you might want to embrace the national Turkish spirit, it is aniseed based and called Raki.
Boarding is not a major sport at Uludag. The extensive areas of off-piste powder and the good selection of chairs are an asset, against the fact that the surface lifts are all drags. Low cost heli-boarding and abundant night life are also plus points.