Cheap with a pioneering feel. Kasprowy Wierch easily the standout area
Big open bowls in Kasprowy
Expect nothing laid on
Well maintained but not testing
Lift count : 1 x Cable-cars 6 x Chairlifts 10 x Drag-lifts Other lifts fenicular
Pass (Low/High Season) : 0 Season pass
Kasprowy Wierch / Photo: Steve Dowle
Zakopane is Polands answer to Chamonix, France. Founded in the seventeenth century Zakopane is now a collection of wooden chalets, soviet flats and western branded shops. Like Chamonix it’s a town which services a collection of small resorts; Kasprowy Wierch, Polana Szymoszkowa, Nosal and near by Bialka. Unlike Chamonix most of these resorts are just hill sides covered with snow ploughing Poles, straight lining, out of control at breakneck speed.
The two main downside to Zakopane are accessing the slopes and the lift passes. There is a tourist bus but it’s infrequent and you need a logarithms book to decode the timetable. It’s best to take Taxis to the slopes, make sure the meters on tariff one. Mini bus taxis are cheaper. As for the lift pass’s, each little area has it’s own pass and many sell single rides, half days or full days, some have hand free cards which you put credits on and different lifts deduct different values. It’s absolutely ridiculous and can lead you to needing different coloured passes for different lifts in the same area. At the end of a week your pockets are full of cards, some which have a deposit on, paper passes and a head that wonders what the Russians have done to these people’s minds.
Put all that put to one side, and if you like it old school, don’t mind a walk for your powder, or are a complete beginner, then Poland’s just great. It’s cold as, which keeps its plentiful snow in tip-top condition, it’s cheap with a pint never reaching over the £1 mark, and the women are just fine, just fine.