The kumoterki races
The sleighing cavalcades or kuligi were always a part of old Polish winter tradition, especially during the carnival period. The races combine fun and entertainment with rivalry. The latter one does not play any important role any more, but…
At the beginning of February the annual Highlanders’ Parade is held in Zakopane and in Bialy Dunajec. It’s a big feast for the local highlanders who can present their nicely embellished sleighs and colourful costumes. One of the top attractions of the parade is the kumoterki race of small sleighs drawn by one horse or the skijoring contest. This parade reminds the people of the old winter cavalcading tradition.
Nowadays such events are quite frequently organized for tourists by the stud farms. A sleighing cavalcade with torches is not only a vivacious show but also an exciting adventure. The programme often includes an outdoor barbecue in the company of a folk band and dancers.
The kuligi organized in the Beskids are an attractive conclusion of a day spent on skiing trails. Very famous are the cavalcades held in the winter scenery of the Bieszczady Mountains. Equally attractive are the kuligi on the lowlands of the Warmia, Masuria and the Podlasie region, especially in the picturesque Suwalki Lakeland and the Bialowieza Forest. The ski touring has recently become very fashionable and can be practiced on the trails of the Tatras, the Beskids and the Sudeten Mountains.
Polish stud farms organize winter rides, very popular with amateurs of that kind of rest and recreation. The Gladyszow stud farm in the Beskid Niski, with its Poland’s largest herd of the huculy, is worth recommendation. Our stud farms near the Baltic Sea coast and those located in Pomerania offer equestrian experience also in the wintertime, arranging rides on horseback as well as in sleighs or buggies. Rides on snow-scooters is a modern version of the old horseback adventure. They are very exciting and certainly much easier, but the atmosphere is not the same. Some winter sports centres have snow-scooters on hire (Krynica, Piwniczna, Szczyrk, Szklarska Poreba).