Villagers demand actions against heliskiing activities
Locals in a village in the Yukarı Kavun highland in the Black Sea province of Rize have appealed to officials to take measures against dangers from the heliskiing sport in their area, claiming that helicopters were triggering avalanches.
There are some 400 houses scattered around the highland and most of them were either totally or partially damaged in the past couple of years due to avalanches.
Every winter, residents there fear it may happen again. According to the locals, in the past, avalanches hit the area every other 20 years but recently those disasters started to occur more frequently — around two or three years apart.
The highland has become very popular among the skiers, said Tayfun Bekar, head of the Kavrun Highland Culture and Tourism and Conservation Association.
“There is a particular location here which would be hit by an avalanche every other 15 to 20 years. However, it is happening almost every year because of the helicopters and skiers,” he said.
Stating that some houses and workplaces have been destroyed due to multiple avalanches in the last few years, Bekar noted that they are not against tourism activities, but they are afraid and worried.
However, Ahmet Haşimoğlu, the head of the Ayder Heliski Aviation and Tourism Company, stated that there is no flight or skiing in areas with avalanche risks, and that activities continue in designated safe areas.
Haşimoğlu emphasized that the most important point for them is security.