I am Tornike (born in 1996) and a guide from Georgia. I live in the capital, Tbilisi. I learned in German-Georgian school and currently I am a Psychology student in Ilia State University. Despite these facts I wouldn’t consider myself as a “city boy” at all. I have spent a serious time of my life really close to the nature. When I was a child, every year, my family went to our Village House in the west part of Georgia, where we stayed several months. Me, my relatives and our dog spent entire months running in the forests, fields and rivers, exploring new trails and spots.
That must have been the reason why I love being in the nature so much. I have a big brother (2 years older) who was like a guide in developing my interests, we have a lot in common and that’s why we have a few small businesses together. I love extreme sports from the early age and like almost every extremal I can’t settle on one type of sport.
I started Rock Climbing when I was 9, then there was backpacking, downhill mountain biking, enduro motor biking, Mountaineering, skiing and freeride skiing in particular, of course. One of the biggest reasons why I love these sports is that, it somehow connects you with other individuals in a very special way. I am really lucky that I have childhood friends with whom I can enjoy this amazing activities. I would definitely say that a big part of me is connected to my friends. Me and my friends are going out of the city on every occasion and spend the days in the maximum fun mode, possible.
How was your first meeting with Ryce Travel?
Me and Peter have a mutual friend called Taylor. Taylor is from the U.S. and also worked as a ski instructor in Gudauri. So when Peter was looking for a local guide in Georgia who could talk in English and could ski well, luckily Taylor recommended me. First we exchanged a few e-mails, where we made sure that we had same interests. And when Peter came to Georgia for a trip with a group of his friends we met in person to get to know each other. I was really excited about the future plans. Wit the first meeting I would consider the actual beginning of our tours. And from the beginning it was clear to me that the entire operation was going to go smoothly, and so it did.
What did you think about organizing ski trips with Ryce Travel?
When Peter suggested organizing ski trips in Georgia, I didn’t have to think about it at all. I was all aboard right from the beginning. I always had something like this in my mind. I like everything about it. I like road trips, I like skiing, I certainly enjoy powder skiing, I like meeting new people, I like organizing stuff (I even studied at Logistics Faculty, before switching to Psychology). Also few places that were going to be included in our tours are definitely one of my favourites. And also what’s really important for me is that I like the entire vision of Ryce Travel. The fact that we choose non-commercial activities and places. The fact that guests don’t have the exact program and are overwhelmed every minute. Friendly atmosphere and so on…
What kind of work did you do before joining Ryce Travel?
Starting from my early teen age years, I tried to combine my interests to diffent kinds of jobs. For example when I was 16, I worked as a Rock Climbing instructor in the gym. During the University years I wanted to support myself, but I was also pretty sure that an office job was not for me. So three years ago I went to the Gudauri Ski Resort, got an International license and started working as a Ski Instructor. I also do other seasonal free-lance jobs like guiding and cone-picking from 30 meter high pine trees.
Why is Georgia unique to travelers?
Georgia is interesting for tourists because of it’s uniqueness in so many ways. Geographically, culturally, and very diverse climate. Including half-desert, tons of alpine zones and really high mountains Even subtropical areas where lemon trees grow in wild forests. The best way to explain why it is so interesting, is to come here and join the “I love Georgia” fan club yourself
What is the state of tourism in Georgia?
Tourism in Georgia develops pretty rapidly. But that is more in numbers than the quality. In my opinion Georgia is more orientated towards quantity rather than quality. For example, and I think this is a good example, the government wants to build ski lifts in other mountainous regions. Which in my opinion is oriented on quantity. For me it is more important have free spaces where people and animals can walk freely. Without disturbing each other. For example I obt for more ski touring instead of building ski resorts.
How can Ryce Travel contribute to the development of tourism?
A good example that Ryce Travel helps to develop processes is the fact that a family in Goderdzi extends it’s business more confidently knowing that we are here next season too. Also we are always happy to tell certain business owners to improve their service levels. Ryce Travel has also many different ideas about georgia and it will definitely help tourism to make a small step forward.
What is the most memorable moment with Ryce Travel?
This one is easy. There where many remarkable moments during our trips, for instance the first cat skiing day in Goderdzi. I will definitely remember amazing and unlimited snow we have skied. But the most remarkable moment was the last day of our last group this season. The snow was good, the weather was perfect and most importantly, literally everyone was full of happiness. I can still remember the weird and funny sounds of happy people in Goderdzi mountains that only we could hear.
What dream do you have for Georgia?
To be like Switzerland, would probably be the most expected answer from me. But no. Switzerland is great, but I want my Country to develop in it’s unique and individual way. The dream for my country is to be completely independant. United with all of the territories, that were taken from our not-loving northern neighbour. I want all of the new, middle and old generations to have the possibility to express themselves and show their maximum potential.