The Czech mountains might not reach quite as high as the peaks of the Alps but they have plenty to offer to skiing enthusiasts. They also make an ideal destination for a family holiday. The mountains offer a wide range of activities from skiing to sledging and ice skating. Adrenalin junkies will enjoy the numerous snow parks or exhilarating snow tubing rides.
450 kilometres of ski slopes and the most modern technology
The Czech mountains create a natural border for the Czech Republic as they surround the country almost all the way round its circumference. They make an ideal place for a variety of sports activities. There are more than 200 ski centres in the country offering 450 kilometres of well-maintained ski slopes. The largest ski centre in the Czech Republic is called Skiareal Spindleruv Mlyn and is located in the highest and probably the most popular mountain range of Krkonose (The Giant Mountains) just two hours´ drive from Prague. Most of the ski centres have recently undergone extensive modernisation to offer the highest standard of facilities and some brand new centres have been built such as Kouty nad Desnou in Jeseniky and Skipark Cervena Voda in the Orlicke Mountains. Joint ski passes are the novelty of the new season enabling visitors to enjoy skiing in more than one ski centre. For example, one of the passes gives the holder a chance to enjoy 36 kilometres of ski slopes in Pec pod Snezkou, Cerna Hora and other selected ski centres in Krkonose.
The whole family can enjoy the Czech Mountains
If you are looking to teach your children to ski there is no better place than the Czech mountains. There are skiing courses available for all levels of skill. Professional ski instructors will be able to explain the technique to your children while speaking to them in their mother tongue to make things really easy. The courses are held on special training slopes where other skiers are not allowed. Your children will love their first skiing attempts especially when using the fun training equipment such as conveyor belts to help them up the slope, skiing merry-go-rounds and other teaching aids. The largest ski park for kids can be found in the Ski Centre at Lipno in the Sumava Mountains. As well as the skiing there is a large snow castle for children every year in Harrachov. There is more fun to be had in Kasperske Hory with fairy-tale characters themed slalom, snow tubing, a skiing merry-go-round and a dedicated kids’ corner for the little ones.
Beat the hurdles at the snow parks
Snowboarders and freestyle skiers will love the variety of hurdles on offer in the Czech snow parks where they can have fun all day long. There is a snow park in almost every ski centre. The largest park is in Spindleruv Mlyn in Krkonose and includes everything from a Boardercross track to two Big-air kickers with World Cup parameters and a 100m long Half-pipe. In Rejdice on the edge of Krkonose there is a popular snow park with a variety of jumps available including a boardercross track. The Krusne Mountains also boast two large snow parks: Klínovec, with the best half-pipe in the Czech Republic, and Neklid which was one of the first Czech snow parks.
Relaxation in the spa
You don´t need to go any further than one of the renowned Czech spa towns for an ideal combination of relaxation andan active winter holiday. There are kilometres of cross-country skiing tracks around Marianske Lazne taking you either around the famous local golf course or through the Kladska Nature Reserve. Ski slopes are also available in the area. Janske Lazne in Krkonose is an ideal place to combine a wellness stay with downhill skiing in the Cerna Hora Ski Centre mentioned above. Jachymov in the Krusne Mountains offers a unique radon water spa. It is also only a short drive from Krkonose to the Babylon Centre in Liberec.
3000 kilometres of cross-country skiing on well sign-posted tracks
Enjoy a cross-country skiing trip across the vast snow-covered mountain plains before settling down for a hot drink in one of the mountain cottages. The Czech Republic boasts an incredible 3000 kilometres of machine-maintained cross-country skiing tracks. Thanks to the excellent system of sign-posting managed by the Czech Tourists´ Club you don´t need to worry that you will get lost. One of the most popular Czech cross-country skiing tracks located in the Jizerske Mountains is called Jizerska Magistrala and measures 170 kilometres. The popular race Jizerska 50 takes place here. The Sumava Mountains also offer perfect cross-country skiing facilities as well as beautiful nature. The central point where many of these tracks start is a small village called Kvilda. The Krusne Mountains on the border with Germany also offer fantastic facilities.
Where to after skiing
Apart from skiing there are plenty of other activities you can try in the Czech mountains such as bobsleigh, sledging or snow tubing. The Lipno Damn is particularly attractive for ice skaters when the frost covers its vast surface with thick ice. The Snow Kingdom is the name of a special event which takes place every year in January at Pustevny in the Beskydy Mountains. You will be able to observe sculptors at work making statues of ice and snow from January 11 – 15, 2013. One of the most difficult dog sleigh races in Europe called Šediváčkův long will take place from January 22 – 26, 2013. If you are up for more adrenalin and excitement do not miss out on the following events: the Burton Spring Session, the Quiksilver Snow Jam or the Redbull Nordix.
What else you should know….
Most of the Czech ski centres publish regular updates on the following website: www.holidayinfo.cz. Apart from the number of ski slopes that are open and the weather forecast you will also find contacts for mountain rescue and other useful information. A guide to the Czech spa towns as well as the most important ski centres can also be found on the CzechTourism website.
For more information:
CzechTourism Scandinavia and Finland
Villagatan 21, 100 41 Stockholm
Tel.: 08 44 04 239
CzechTourism is a state-funded agency of the Ministry for Regional Development. Its main activity is to promote the Czech Republic as an attractive tourist destination. More information is available at http://scandinavia.czechtourism.com.