Where Empires Meet: Turkish Treats on Mount Erciyes

THE building comes into view just as we pull into the parking lot, its minarets and blue domes appearing especially dramatic alongside neighboring ultramodern condo buildings and high-speed quads. Everything is quiet; my watch reads 5 a.m., but in a few hours the lifts will start spinning and the mosque will ring with visitors taking their pre-powder morning prayers.

Snow whips our faces as we gear up, preparing for our first day of skiing in Turkey. We’d landed in Kayseri only a few hours before; now the city and its one million citizens are completely obscured by the storm. So is our objective, the 12,851-foot summit of Mount Erciyes, nearly 6,900 feet above us. Still, we’ve flown halfway across Europe to be here, so we put on our skins and start climbing.

This is an unexpected trip, to an unlikely location. March conditions in the French Alps had been meager, and with nothing but high pressure forecasted for Europe, Tof Henry, Chad Sayers and myself began looking for a last-minute snow escape. Quick research showed a storm front headed across Turkey, and 12 hours later we were at the Geneva airport, boarding our flight to Kayseri…

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