The snow of Palandöken has a will of its own. Gathering up a handful, I pressed and turned it to form a ball, but it was hopeless. Powder snow was certainly not the stuff for making snowballs, but as I was to discover is the perfect surface for skiing. The mountain air here is low in humidity and the snow is dry. Skis skim over the powder snow, and even through it when fresh. Although there are other reasons to come to Palandöken, skiing and more skiing is what it is really all about. Erzurum Airport is a five-minute drive from the city and 15 minutes from the ski resort. So you can be out on the snow three hours after leaving Istanbul if you are too impatient to unpack. Palandöken rises to an altitude of 3176 metres at the summit, and its ski runs are among the longest in the world. Seven of the twenty runs are beginner grade, eight intermediate, and two advanced. The remaining four are natural. One of the most agreeable things is that skiers of all levels go to the top together, set out in different directions, and meet again at the bottom.