Skiing in Poland? Why?
Ski is a pastime which has brought together all cultures of today. Many different types of ski are popular, especially in colder climates, and many types of competitive ski events are recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Ski Federation (FIS), and other sporting organizations. Skiing is most visible to the public during the Winter Olympic Games where it is a major sport.
How welcome did you feel last time you went on holiday? Were you greeted by the locals with big smiles and open arms? Or did you feel as if they weren't too bothered in your custom? Maybe they were even a bit aggressive?
If you would like a winter break away from the pricey European resorts, then a ski holiday in eastern Europe might well be worth trying.
Known as the winter ski capital of Poland, a trip to the Zakopane resort is gloriously off most western European skiers' radars.
Located in a mid-mountain valley in the southern part of the Podhale region, with views of the 2,500 metre high Tatras peaks, Zakopane is the highest altitude town in Poland.
However, holidaymakers should not expect empty slopes - Zakopane receives two million (not only skiing's) visitors a year, despite only having 30,000 residents. One of the reasons for its popularity is that the resort caters for skiers of all abilities, with technical runs for experts and easier slopes for beginners, and cross-country ski opportunities.
Mount Kasprowy Wierch is one of the most popular runs (skiing), which is served by a cable car from Kuznice and a ski lift, with other runs in relatively easy reach.
Another reason for the town's popularity is its unique ambience thanks to unusual buildings, plenty of places to eat and drink and its status as a centre for Poland's mountain-dwelling culture.
As well as winter sports opportunities, the town's museums offer travellers the chance to get a feel for the region's heritage.
One of the most highly rated of these is the Tatra Museum, located in an attractive and grand building, which has highlander's costumes and historic interiors, a collection of folk art and other artefacts.
There is also a natural history museum, biographical museums of for famous Polish artists such as nationally renowned composers, poets and artists. The area remains the haunt of artists, with other galleries and art schools nearby.
Accommodation options include good value traditional mountain huts and guest-houses as well as hostels and hotels.
Ski techniques are difficult to master, and accordingly there are ski schools that teach everything from the basics of turning and stopping safely to more advanced carving, racing, mogul or "bump" skiing and newer freestyle techniques.
Poland ski informations: