Cross country skiing

More and more people seek recreation during their winter holidays. They are not looking forward so much to the downhill runs on steep slopes as to the improvement of their health and general physical condition.

The best way to achieve such an objective is to put on the cross-country skis. Poland never lacks snow, and the sports adventures are easy to find on the picturesque crosscounty tracks.

The most renowned alpine skiing centres in Poland, such as Zakopane, Szczyrk, Wisla, Szklarska Poreba, Karpacz and Zieleniec have not only steep pistes to offer to downhill skiers, but also flat plateaus and scenic valleys. These are often very beautiful trails with splendid, panoramic view over the mountain peaks.

Cross-country skiing provides numberless opportunities for closer contact with nature. The areas located at the foot of the Tatras are perfectly suited for cross-country skiers. They can also enjoy runs along the marked hiking trails and flat ridges of the hills. Such terrains can be easily found in the vicinity of Zakopane at Bukowina Tatrzanska and Bialka, or a bit further north in the Gorce range, near the Zakopane – Cracow road.

Also the Beskid Mountains offer a number of opportunities to the enthusiasts of cross-country skiing. The areas near Szczyrk, Bielsko-Biala, Wisla, Ustron and Korbielow can be recommended, and further east – the environs of Nowy Sacz, Krynica and Szczawnica. Gathering participants of all ages, the annual Jaworze Cross-Country Skiing Contest is organized at Jaworze near Bielsko- Biala in February. Part of it is the “romantic” run for couples along the track lit with torches. Very popular is the Ski Run for Peasants held at Rajcza and Zwardon. It has become an international event of repeated character, including a contest entitled “The Beskids without Frontiers” organized partly on the Slovakian side. Jakuszyce near Szklarska Poreba is a real paradise for cross-country skiers. The area is crisscrossed by trails of the total length of 50 kilometres, representing different levels of difficulty. The long distance, annual Piast Race is held on the last Sunday of January. It is the most important event of national character. The Gwarkow Race ranks second in Poland and is organized at Sokolowsko near Walbrzych in the Sowie Mountains during the second weekend of February.

The Bieszczady Mountains with their snowy and beautiful winters could receive many more cross-country skiers. Relatively low ranges and hills with gentle, often treeless slopes dominate the area. Ustrzyki Dolne, Ustrzyki Gorne, Wetlina, Solina and Polanczyk are comfortable starting points for fans of this type of recreation.

The Suwalki region in northern Poland offers similar winter conditions to crosscountry skiers, but the landscape is quite different thanks to the great number of lakes and dense forests. However, the season is equally long and the snow lays thick on the ground for a long time. There are many very scenic trails north of Suwalki. The annual “Wandering in the North” event is organized in February.