Skiing in the Czech Republic
Dec 06, 2017 06:11PM
● By Melanie Heisinger
A new adventure sparks memories of home
By Lisa Ballard
Last March, when the opportunity arose to ski in the Czech Republic, my first reaction was, “Of course! It’s Europe.” A couple of fast-skiing friends I race with on the masters circuit came from the Czech Republic. Sarka Zahrobska, the 2007 World Slalom Champion, did too, so the country must have some decent skiing, I reasoned. It might not boast famous international destinations like St. Anton and Cortina, but chalk that up to marketing. No ski area in a former Eastern Bloc country was at the top of most Americans’ minds, but they sure sounded like interesting places to make some turns. If you’re going, follow the tips below.
TRAVEL PLANNERGetting There: Prague is the gateway city for skiing in the Czech Republic and a must-see destination itself. After touring Prague, rent a car at the airport then drive to Pec pod Snezkou (2 hours). Be sure to get the “winter package” for the car, including chains. Note: Most rental cars are standard shift. Read the insurance carefully, as most rental car companies either do not include or charge extra for tire damage.
Lodging/Meals: Book a hotel room at the Hotel Horizont directly with the hotel (www.hotelhorizont.cz) or through www.bookings.com. Five-nights start around $550, including breakfast. Most guests also eat dinner, a la carte, in one of the hotels three dining rooms. Eat lunch on the mountain at one of the ski-up restaurants or inns. The water is potable.
Skiing: Lift tickets are a bargain, about $35 per day (www.skiresort.cz)
Ski Gear: Plan to bring your own, especially your ski boots. The quality of the rental gear is below American standards, and it’s well-used.
Communications: Mobile phone and internet service is readily available. In addition to Czech, most people speak German or Russian. English is less common.
Currency: The Czech Republic is part of the EU, but uses its own currency, the Czech Koruna (Crown). The exchange rate is approximately CZK 21.50 to US $1.00.
Weather: The weather and ski conditions are similar to Vermont, with periods of snow and rain possible during the winter. The main slopes are covered with machine-made snow. During the coldest month, January, temperatures drop frequently into the teens or colder. By March, the average daytime temperature is around 32 degrees (F), resulting in classic spring skiing conditions.