Małopolska holds three records in winter competitions:
- the longest illuminated ski run,
- the longest 4-seat chairlift,
- most ski lifts on one ski pass.
The records are just the icing on the cake. There are many, many more attractions on and off the slopes. For example, Mobilna Ścigacka, czyli zjazd na byle czym (Mobile Racing, i.e. downhill on anything), the biggest event of this type organised on the slope of the Kotelnica Białczańska resort, or an equally crazy game called Przejazd przez knajpę (Crossing the pub), whose participants go through... a restaurant (sic!) and jumping off its balcony to perform freestyle acrobatics.
Modern, comfortable, safe
The slopes of Austria, Italy and Germany often resound with Polish, as the owners of the local ski resorts are eager to welcome Poles. However, there is no need to go abroad to indulge in skiing in perfect conditions. An attractive offer is also available in Poland, in the Małopolska region.
The ski stations in Małopolska have undergone a huge metamorphosis in recent years. Their managers have invested in modern lifts, snow cannons and lighting, as well as in preparing many additional attractions for their guests. They constantly take care of maintaining the ski tracks and ensuring their safety.
Ski stations: the Tatra Mountains and Podhale
The Tatra Mountains are definitely not the Alps, and the Beskids are not the Dolomites, so we will not find breakneck runs here for lovers of extreme sensations or many kilometres of routes longed for by the most advanced skiers. However, the legendary Kasprowy Wierch can also provide plenty of excitement, as it is here that the longest ski run, or two, in Poland begins. One leads through Hala Gąsienicowa to Kuźnice and is 8.5 km long, with an altitude of almost 1,000 metres. Since such a distance results from including the Gąsienicowa piste in the route, and it is necessary to walk with skis on one's back (one can visit the Murowaniec Mountain Hostel on the way), for many, the longest route is the nearly 8 km long Trasa Goryczkowa, which also leads from Kasprowy Wierch through Kocioł Goryczkowy to Kuźnice.
Those whose skills do not allow them to go to Kasprowy Wierch or Nosal have at their disposal many ski lifts in the Gubałówka Mountain Range and Podhale localities. After skiing on the slopes, one can relax in the numerous thermal pools nearby, admiring a panorama of the Tatra Mountains.
Ski stations: the Beskid Sądecki and the Low Beskids
The nearby Wierchomla station was the first in Poland to link two towns - Muszyna and Wierchomla - with a system of lifts, making it the most extensive ski centre in Poland. Today, its activities are limited to routes on the Wierchomla side, where there are several ski lifts and trails of varying levels of difficulty, a snowpark and numerous catering facilities. Here, Poland's longest 4-seat chairlift operates. Its length is 1.6 km, the journey time is about 12 minutes, and you can enjoy picturesque views.
In turn, the Low Beskids is a proposal for lovers of small resorts located in small towns. One of them is Magura SkiPark in Małastow.
Ski stations: Pieniny Mountains and Spisz
The Pieniny Mountains are not only the rocky Trzy Korony and Sokolica but also the range rising above Szczawnica. In this spa town, there is a ski station offering many attractions on Palenica (a the Palenica ski station), and a bit further, at the end of the valley, you can run down the beautiful slope of Jaworki Homole Ski Arena.
Although Spisz is located near the roads leading to Zakopane and Szczawnica, it is still little known and rarely visited. It's a pity, because there are many interesting sights which one can see while using the ski lift in Kacwin, visiting the Polana Sosny ski station in Niedzica or the Jurgów Ski station in Jurgów. It is worth spending some time to visit the castle in Niedzica to see the unique octagonal chapel in the church in Frydman or the Białka Gorge Reserve near Nowa Biała.
Ski stations: the Gorce Mountains and the Island Beskids
In the Gorce Mountains, the ski stations are located mainly on the outskirts of this beautiful mountain group. Located on the northern slopes of the Gorce Mountains, the Ski Lubomierz resort owes its popularity to the proximity of Kraków and the varied pistes it offers.
Many interesting routes are also waiting for skiing enthusiasts on the southern side. Located in a picturesque valley, the Obidowa Ski Station or the Czorsztyn Ski Station and Długa Polana Station, with beautiful views of the Tatra Mountains, are just some of the proposals.
It is also worth visiting Koninki (the Ostoja Koninki ski station) located in the very heart of the Gorce Mountains at the foot of Tobołow and Obidowiec, near towns with such interesting names as Konina and Niedźwiedź.
The Island Beskids, due to its name, is associated by many with steep slopes rising directly from the valleys. There is some truth in this, but even here one can find slopes with many routes for skiers of all ages and abilities. The Kasina Ski&Bike Park is proud to be located in Justyna Kowalczyk's hometown. In turn, the Limanowa Ski Station points out that there is a specific microclimate here, thanks to which there is a lot of snow which often lasts until April, and the Laskowa Ski Station invites you for delicious cuisine, a wonderful atmosphere and tempting views.
Ski Stations: the Little Beskids and the Maków Beskids
The Maków Beskids includes many ski stations spread from Zawoja to Myślenice. Diversified routes and beautiful views from the upper stations are their greatest assets. Skiers will also find many inns and cosy hotels directly on the slopes and in their vicinity.
Ski centres with attractive offers also operate in the Little Beskids. Situated south of Andrychów and Wadowice, the Kocierz slope and Czarny Groń Ski Station (owned by the Penguin Group) are not only slopes and the entire infrastructure associated with them but also hotels and spas with a varied gastronomic offer and plenty of attractions for children and adults. Due to their location in picturesque scenery, they are an ideal place of rest for those seeking respite away from large centres.
Ski stations: around Kraków
It turns out that ski resorts do not have to be located in the mountains. For beginners or those wishing to improve their skills, the routes around Kraków will be perfect (e.g. the ski station in Podstolice or Siepraw), or even the seemingly almost flat area north of the city. It is here, a few kilometres from Miechów, that the Sławicki Raj ski station operates, which invites one to a wide and gentle slope. Special attention should also be paid to the Sport Arena Myślenice ski station - a station on the Chełm Mountain, which has, among other things, two slopes of 850 and 1,100 metres each, reswpectively. It is located just 32 kilometres from Kraków.
In fact, years ago, skiers could ski on two slopes in Kraków itself. The first, with a lift of the rope tow type, operated on Sikornik (until the mid-1970s; there were even two ski jumps there before that!), and the second on Wesoła Polana near Kasztanowa Street (closed in the 1980s).
Many routes - one ski pass
Skiing one slope every day can get boring. Hence the desire to ski somewhere else, to explore different slopes. For years, it was a problem to buy a separate ski pass for each lift. In the Małopolska region, we can boast of an increasing number of ski stations that have joined forces and offer a single ski pass for their lifts. There are 18 stations operating under the Tatra Mountains Super Ski banner, 15 of them close to each other in Podhale, Spisz, Gorce and Pieniny, with 95 runs. It is the largest ski project of this kind in Poland.
The Penguin Group invites you to three of its resorts in Małopolska: Czarny Groń near Andrychów, Kasina Ski&Bike Park in the Island Beskids and Słotwiny Arena in Krynica.
Małopolska is primarily a paradise for beginners and intermediate skiing enthusiasts. The gentle slopes are ideal for the youngest to acquire skills and improve them. Many ski resorts have several ski slopes of varying difficulty, which makes them ideal for families. There are numerous ski equipment rental shops and ski schools next to the ski lifts. Experienced instructors with commitment and a smile help you take your first steps or improve your skills. Classes are conducted in groups or individually, there are no obstacles to buy lessons for the whole family and discover the charm of skiing together.
A great idea for relieving stress connected with learning is carefree downhill skiing on rubber rafts (snowtubing).
All ski stations pay great attention to proper maintenance and marking of routes, securing dangerous places. However, nothing can replace prudence and proper assessment of one's skills and observance of the rules of moving around the slope without posing a threat to other users.
Mountain rescuers constantly remind everyone about this in their educational campaigns, e.g. under the slogan "The most important thing is to go back", which is carried out by the Małopolska Tourist Organization and the Tatra Mountains Volunteer Mountain Rescue Service. The tips and advice provided in the series of films will be useful for all those resting in the mountains, both those hiking on the trails and those skiing on the slopes. Details of the action: #NajważniejszeWrocić.
Not only ski lifts
Even the most ardent skiing enthusiast must take a break at some point. The possibilities are immense. There are numerous catering facilities by the ski lifts, with menus to suit all tastes and budgets. One can have a quick bite to eat between one ski run and the next or sit for a longer time to fully enjoy oneself.
After an intensive day on the slopes, the regional inns on the Małopolska Gourmet Trail invite guests to taste dishes and drinks, as well as feasts combined with performances by folk bands and storytelling. In the spas and spa centres, there are excellent conditions to give one’s body and senses a rest during various treatments. Only in Małopolska will one find thermal pools with a view of the Tatra Mountains!
On days when the weather makes it difficult or even impossible to relax outdoors, it is worth visiting the region's numerous museums, making use of the offer of local cultural centres or taking part in various events.
There are so many proposals that one may not have enough time or energy to explore all aspects of Małopolska. It is not worth rushing, as it is better to try everything gradually and simply return to our region from time to time. And do so for many months, as winter lasts the longest in Małopolska.
Welcome to Małopolska!