Travel time from Tbilisi to upper Svaneti is long, about 9 hours by road, but it is easy to reach by public transportation or hitchhiking. A night train leaves Tbilisi in the evening, bypasses Kutaisi in the middle of the night, and arrives in Zugdidi at 6am, from where a marshrutka connects to Mestia, the region’s capital.
There are also direct marshrutkas from Tbilisi, Kutaisi, and Batumi which are a slightly cheaper but much less comfortable option. Hitchhiking to Mestia is relatively easy in any season, but hitchhiking further down the road to Ushguli requires a lot more luck in winter.
If long drives are not for you, there is an airport in Mestia with regular flights from Tbilisi and Kutaisi, though they are often cancelled due to weather. Flights are relatively cheap, running about 65 GEL, but the luggage limit is 15 kg which may not be enough for ski equipment.
Guesthouses are easy to find in this region, many of which offer meals included in the price. In Mestia, hostels can be found for as little as 10 GEL per night (Manoni’s Guesthouse), and in other villages accommodation is slightly more expensive but still quite reasonable. Ski touring is generally possible everywhere in Svaneti until mid-March, and above 2000m the season lasts into April or May.