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Poland: Three questions

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hello all -- you've been quite helpful in the past so thought I'd drop another few questions here.

Poland:

1. How busy are the ski areas during the school holidays? It seems the only non-holiday periods are roughly Jan. 2-12 and maybe a few days in early March.

2. There are many tiny ski areas around Zakopane, some of which are just a mile or so from each other, but they do not seem to be connected. Is there a common ski pass that covers these small areas or, if you want to ski several in a day, is it more common to buy a ticket for an hour or two at one place then move on to the next and buy another hour or two ticket?

3. Has anyone rented a 4x4 or AWD from the airport in Krakow? I can see that there are SUVs for rent but cannot determine that they are all wheel drive or simply two wheel drive.

TIA
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@cloud cult, We went to Zakopane a few years during the "Beast from the East" for a long week end. I'm not sure if it was a school holiday period or not but the slopes were all quiet but there were some big lift queues, particularly the kasprowy-wierch telepherique which also serves an extensive winter walking area.

We got a very cheep Ryan Air flight to Krakov on a late Wednesday afternoon and came back very late on the Sunday. The hotel owner offered to pick us up from the airport for 100€, which I thought was good bearing in mind it is normally a 3 hour drive. His son took us back on the Saturday evening after skiing so we spent a day site seeing in Krakov.

Basically we decided where we wanted to ski for the day got a taxi to that hill rented skis there and spent the whole day there then simply phoned for a taxi to take us back. The taxis were not expensive.

The first day we spent at Harenda where there is only really one lift and one piste. As there was no one else there we spent the whole day circulating and working on technique. We did drift off into the trees off piste for one run off piste but it wasn't great. The next couple day we spent at kasprowy-wierch where we really enjoyed the more mountain flavor rather than the ski resort flavor. It was lovely. I think we made our first ever trip to Slovakia on one run.

It was one of the most enjoyable short ski breaks I've ever had. I would reccomend it for a weekend break

OK to answer your questions:

1/ It didn't seem at all busy
2/ we spent the whol day on the hill and didn't move beeen them
3/ All the locals use ordinary front wheel drive cars with winter tyres. I don't think you will need 4 wheel drive
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Hi @cloud cult,

We have family over there so go most years, so the first thing I would say is that Southern Poland is great for a Winter holiday, so long as you're not ski obsessed. The skiing is somewhat limited if you're used to Alpine resorts (the only long runs are on Kasprowy Wierch and the initial cable car queue can be ridiculous, so make sure you pre-book if you want to try that).

It can get very busy during the school holidays (especially if the Polish ones align with UK holidays, which they frequently do), however it is typically the initial lifts that are super busy, with the rest not too bad, the worst wait I've ever had was around an hour, but that was ridiculously busy and only for the main lift in Bialka Tatzranska, other resorts are typically quieter (aside from what I've said about the queue for Kasprowy Wierch).

Tatry Ski is what you're after: https://tatryski.pl/

However note it doesn't cover all the little hills, many have now signed up, but not all, so check the list and make sure the ones you're keen on are included (there is a ski bus between them too, which may help).

As @johnE, said you probably don't need to worry about 4WD, there is often no or little snow at low altitude and even closer to the mountains the base level snow can be minimal (not always), but even when the snowfall is heavy, the roads are generally cleared.

We don't bother with car hire, but I can see why it makes sense if you're moving from hill to hill. As a rough guide a taxi from the airport to Zakopane / Bialka is approx 400 - 500zl and there is also a bus from Krakow if you wanted the scenic route...although I probably would avoid that if possible (and whatever you do, don't assume the train is quicker, its not, it takes 3-4 hours on an old archaic line that is in massive need of updating)!!!

The main joined up area is Bialka Tatzranska: https://bialkatatrzanska.pl/en/, which also has a Thermal Bath complex and hotel on site, right at the bottom of the lift (but it is expensive for Poland).

Everything else is a bit disjointed and is difficult to make a day of (again bar Kasprowy Wierch), I'd back up what @johnE said about it being a weekend break, rather than longer....unless you are less fussed about the skiing and more about seeing somewhere different and doing a bit of skiing. We routinely go for 2 weeks at a time and are fine with it, but I think many on here would get bored pretty quickly with the limited skiing options.

Feel free to ask away if you want to know anything else!
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my wife is Polish and not far from Zakopane.
I've spent loads of time around there summer and winter.
Most of Jan and Feb are school holidays, different regions have differnt weeks much like in France, a lot of folks visit Zakopane in winter but not to ski. Ive never really experienced it busy other than the main cable car to KW. You can ski the small areas by the hour. Its not great for lift served piste skiing but plenty of well tracked touring routes and huts and local guides are reasonably priced.
Winter tyres are law you deffo don't need a 4x4, we always rent at Krakow airport.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Poland may be a good shout...
http://www.polskieradio.pl/395/7989/Artykul/2626185,Ski-slopes-in-Poland-allowed-to-open-despite-epidemic

Also I’m told there was an announcement this week from the Polish PM to help combat the virus spread, and in effect circuit break, whereby all school kids in the country will have the same two week winter break holiday instead of staggering the breaks by region. By this I don’t mean Christmas I mean in February - supposedly they were told they won’t be allowed to travel for skiing during this period. I can’t find an English article on this but if this is the case it would definitely be a two week period you would want to avoid.

***Update the two week break is to follow directly on from Christmas and last until January 17th***


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Wed 25-11-20 11:34; edited 1 time in total
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Great info

Thanks
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Just to add some more info in:

Quote:

In Poland, the government decided to reopen the ski slopes but only for locals especially in the southern region which is famous for the sport.

"There is indeed talk here about the possibility of opening the ski slopes, but I'd say these ski slopes are rather for people living nearby than for people who would like to go on vacation," Health Ministry spokesman Wojciech Andrusiewicz said.


Quote:
Hotels and restaurants will probably have to remain closed during the winter holiday scheduled for January 4-17, the spokesperson of the Polish health ministry said on Tuesday.

Restaurants at the moment can only offer takeaway and delivery service under restrictions while hotels are closed though they are permitted to allow business guests. The closures, set to last till December 27, will now, it seems, be extended.

"During the winter holiday, restaurants and hotels will remain closed," Wojciech Andrusiewicz said.

Commenting on a tweet by Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Development, Labour and Technology Jaroslaw Gowin that ski slopes would be open this winter, Andrusiewicz said they would only be open for local residents rather than for winter holidaymakers.

"We're spending the winter holiday at home this year," he said.

Schools will also keep their doors shut until the Christmas break, which effectively lasts until January 3. The break will be immediately followed by two-week winter holidays for all regions of Poland, which will in effect keep students away from schools until January 17.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Mike Pow, I dont know you Mike but I've seen what you're about on the various ski social media networks. Zakopane would be of interest to you for the ski touring/mountaineering possibilities. Theyre delicate about where you are and aren't allowed to go to preserve the natural habitat of the wild life etc. But is deffo worth a trip for the Polish culture. Zakopane is a lovely town ski jumping week is a great buzz as well
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Mother hucker wrote:
@Mike Pow, I dont know you Mike but I've seen what you're about on the various ski social media networks. Zakopane would be of interest to you for the ski touring/mountaineering possibilities. Theyre delicate about where you are and aren't allowed to go to preserve the natural habitat of the wild life etc. But is deffo worth a trip for the Polish culture. Zakopane is a lovely town ski jumping week is a great buzz as well


Thanks.

Been on my list for a very long time. Soon.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Thank you very useful info, hadn't thought of a short hop to Poland.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I just looked at the Ryan Air flights to Krakow and they look so good I may go again this year.

Depart on Wednesday at 19:05 after work £23 + lots of extra charges in the small print
Return Sunday leaving at 20:30 after 3 1/2 days skiing £23 + lots of extra charges in the small print.

The flight is 2:40 so a little longer than flying to Geneva at about the same price

Get a taxi to and from Zakopane. There is an excellent indoor water park and lots of good bars in Zakopane (though due to the -20 degree temperatures we never went to any bars the last time we were there). I think we may spend the Sunday in the salt mines of Krakow.

As a note you are not permitted to ski off piste in the high Tatra national park or leave the hiking trails though you will probably still need ice axes and crampons
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
johnE wrote:
@cloud cult, We went to Zakopane a few years during the "Beast from the East" for a long week end. I'm not sure if it was a school holiday period or not but the slopes were all quiet but there were some big lift queues, particularly the kasprowy-wierch telepherique which also serves an extensive winter walking area.


Yes -- I read your trip report! Thanks.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
vjmehra wrote:
Hi @cloud cult,

Tatry Ski is what you're after: https://tatryski.pl/

As @johnE, said you probably don't need to worry about 4WD, there is often no or little snow at low altitude and even closer to the mountains the base level snow can be minimal (not always), but even when the snowfall is heavy, the roads are generally cleared.



That link was what I was hoping for -- perfect. Thanks. And good to know about the lack of need for 4WD.

The hours-long line for the cable car is confusing -- is it just a bunch of pedestrians who are showing up mid morning? Is it the sort of line that could be avoided if you were there for first chair?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
johnE wrote:


I think we may spend the Sunday in the salt mines of Krakow.

Theyre brilliant

As a note you are not permitted to ski off piste in the high Tatra national park or leave the hiking trails though you will probably still need ice axes and crampons
Thats not so true. There are designated off piste areas, Kondratowa Valley one of them and its an easy tour from Kuznica with a small hut. Slovakia doesn't have the same rules and is easily accessible touring from Poland
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@johnE, can I come ? NehNeh
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Zakopane is a weekend resort for intermediates.

Ton of old lifts.


http://youtube.com/v/pXdg8gIlfpA&feature=emb_title
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

That link was what I was hoping for -- perfect. Thanks. And good to know about the lack of need for 4WD.

The hours-long line for the cable car is confusing -- is it just a bunch of pedestrians who are showing up mid morning? Is it the sort of line that could be avoided if you were there for first chair?


So the long line for Kasprowy Wierch is largely due to walk up tourists (many go for the view, rather than skiing, its quite a popular tourist site), however that is easily avoided by pre-booking (not sure how busy it is first thing, so personally I'd pre-book rather than gamble here), then you get a boarding time and can just rock up and get on the cable car (the chair lifts are separate, but the queues shouldn't be anything like as ridiculous as the initial touristy bit, thats just a normal lift pass).

Link: https://www.pkl.pl/kasprowy-wierch/kasprowy.html

The other lengthily queue was the first lift at Bialka Tatzranska (lift IV- Kotelnica Express: https://bialkatatrzanska.pl/en/plan-of-the-resort), that can get ridiculously crowded during the morning rush (but yes if you get there for first chair you'll avoid the rush, I've been pretty much the first up before and no-one was there, it was great ) and just after lunch during school holidays. I have had to wait an hour before...but thats not normal, it isn't generally that bad and also once you're up, if you stay away from that main run back to base the other lift queues are generally minimal.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:
The first thing I would say is that Southern Poland is great for a winter holiday, so long as you're not ski obsessed. The skiing is somewhat limited if you're used to Alpine resorts (the only long runs are on Kasprowy Wierch and the initial cable car queue can be ridiculous, so make sure you pre-book if you want to try that).
Mrs MA and I are indeed ski-obsessed Very Happy - we enjoy trying small ski areas in obscure ski countries just as much as skiing world-famous mega resorts. As a result, we loved the couple of days we spent skiing at three of Zakopane's tiny ski areas - we did two areas on one day. We couldn't get tickets for the Kasprowy Wierch cable car - it was sold out in advance - but we still had a great time on great snow. Very cheap lift tickets and some nice rustic huts to warm up with a hot chocolate in front of the fire.

Zakopane is a pleasant enough town - think rustic little restaurants and bars with tin roofs and live folk music. Dirt cheap for nice accommodation and for food and drink too. And the only place where we've been served a complimentary appetiser of what the waitress described as "pig fat" Shocked

We bussed there from Krakow - a few quid return on a nice-standard National Express-type coach. I seem to recall that buses were very frequent and it was easy enough to arrange on the spot.

Definitely recommended for somewhere completely different, especially in conjunction with a cultural visit to Krakow.
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Quote:

Zakopane is a pleasant enough town - think rustic little restaurants and bars with tin roofs and live folk music. Dirt cheap for nice accommodation and for food and drink too. And the only place where we've been served a complimentary appetiser of what the waitress described as "pig fat"


Ha yeah, that's quite common...but it is good pig fat wink
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@mountainaddict, you need to try the "lardo" next time you're skiing in Italy... (not suggesting it's better than the Polish version, just noting that it's not all that unusual!)
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Quote:
you need to try the "lardo" next time you're skiing in Italy...
Spent a fair bit of time on Italian snow (including a Dolomites week last January) but have - 'unfortunately' Laughing - not come across that one...

Always nice to have something to look forward to though! wink
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