Who said there’s not so much snow in Europe this winter? That might be true for the Alps so far. But there are many other spots, usually off the beaten tracks, that can be the perfect alternative. That’s the case of the Giant Mountains, Krkonoše, in the border between Czech Republic and Poland. Stephen, from Switzerland, did a 4 day ski touring traverse with Vojtech, a local IFMGA mountain guide. Check the story and pictures, and enjoy the powder!!
Stephen, 63 years old, has been travelling for many years to mountain destinations. He practices ski touring, cross country skiing and telemark ski. He has skied a lot in the Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Iceland…), Scotland, Switzerland and he did la Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt. But the Czech Republic was still in his bucket list.
He first contacted Jan through Explore-Share. But he wasn’t available, so he recommended instead to contact Vojtech, a friend of him, and also IFMGA certified.
Together they decided to do a 4 day hut to hut ski touring traverse in the Giant Mountains. And according to Stephen, the experience couldn't have been better:
"The powder snow conditions were wonderful, the scenery very fine and there is a very good network of comfortable mountain hostels and huts. However, a key element that made my tour a success was the expert help of the organisers and my guide."
Not the top of mind pick for most, this region in Central Europe offers plenty of possibilities both for winter and summer activities. Vojtech is based in Jilemnice, a small city with long skiing history and a ski museum.
This is an excellent place to start ski trips or avalanche trainings, and near the sandstone rock cities of the Bohemian Paradise.
Anyone reading the article and watching the pictures can notice the evident contrast between the abundant snow covering the Giant Mountains, and the lack of it in the most classical destination in the Alps.
Sometimes it’s about getting off the beaten track to find the best conditions.
Stephen flew to Prague, and from there Jan, Roman and Vojtech took care of everything. Every night they slept in a different mountain refuge. And Stephen was very impressed about the infrastructure: “The huts were very well equipped, with excellent services and food. And they serve good beers, which is very important after such intense skiing days!”
The first two days were a bit misty, but during the last two they enjoyed a clear blue sky. This allowed them to take a glimpse of the view on the Polish side.
And one of the highlights of the trip was going up and ski down Mt. Sněžka (1,620 metres), the highest peak in Czech Rep. The route up there is amazing, and the view from the top is a beautiful reward after a demanding ascent.
According to Stephen, going with a local guide was a great added value of the trip.
“The guiding service was excellent. I give him 10 out of 10 for each of technical expertise, knowledge of the area (including ability to explain many interesting features of history and geography) and care of the client. Thanks to these three, this was an excellent outdoor experience I shall not forget and that I can highly recommend to anybody interested in Alpine ski-touring."
He liked the country so much that for his next trips he wants to go back in Czech Rep and explore other regions, including the border with Germany. Other options for him are Slovenia, The Tatras in Slovakia and the Massif Central in France.
We at Explore-Share will be happy to contact him with the best guides, so he can enjoy those destinations with the unique know-how that only a local can provide!
Review all the ski touring trips in Czech Republic.
Czech Republic, a year-round destination
Giant Mountains are the highest mountain range in Czech, and in winter are suitable for ski-resort skiing, cross country skiing, ski touring and ice climbing. A classical ski touring day trip could be to Mt. Sněžka (1602m) with ascent and descent, including lunch in some of typical Czech mountain chalet (hütte).
A multi day trip can be from west to east, and back, with border crossing to Poland. This can be done in between 2 and 4 days.
In summer, the Giant Mountains are ideal for hiking on marked paths. An ideal activity to do with a guide is rock climbing in the Bohemian Paradise. It's sand stone climbing with its specific rules and deep history. Another option is the Hard Sand stone area (Suché skály) above Jizera River.
The views on Giant Mountains from one side and from other on The Bohemia are superb.
Crossing to Poland offers great possibilities for granite face climbing, cracks and towers. Both day and multi-day trips can be organized to destinations such as Krucze skaly and Sokoliki, in between 30 and 60 km away from Jilemnice.
We have great options for your next ski touring trip in Czech Republic.