Ski Niki is a small hostel and likely the oldest in Gudauri. Though they do not cater to backpackers, it is the cheapest option in Gudauri and will give you a true Georgian experience (no English is spoken).
The winter price is $25 per night including breakfast and dinner (likely negotiable), which may seem ridiculous compared to hostels anywhere else in Georgia, but nowhere else in Gudauri offers this price during the peak season. Meals are cooked by the wife of the owner, which in itself is a huge reason to stay here. She’s happy to accommodate any dietary requirements.
The owner is very concerned about guests’ privacy, and said that each group always gets their own room even if that means some beds are left empty. When I asked whether it’s possible for solo travelers to stay in a room with other travelers, he looked a bit surprised but said of course it’s possible if you ask. He really seems to care that guests feel comfortable all of the time. There are communal spaces in the cafeteria and in the lounge. Both are a bit lacking in character but certainly provide ample space for meeting other guests.
The rooms are nothing special but have enough space and an adequate amount of blankets. Shared bathrooms are in the hallway between rooms. This hostel also has its own ski rental which is the cheapest in Gudauri – only 20 lari for skis, boots, and poles. It’s about a ten minute walk to the lowest lift (Pirveli).
As I was walking out the door, the owner added one more important point, “I like to make foreigners feel welcome in Georgia. When I feel they would enjoy it, sometimes 5 liters of wine appears on the table.”