Ski in the Giant Mountains – Krkonoše – Czech Republic

At the turn of the year 2016/17 our thirst of adventure drives us to the Czech Giant Mountains for skiing. Due to a visit of friends in Dresden at Christmastime it was logical to pack our ski, drive through Saxon Switzerland, the Giant Mountains, Czech Republic and to spent some days in nature.

 

Krkonoše – The Giant Mountains

The street meanders majestically through the Elbe Sandstone Highlands of Saxony Switzerland on our way to the Giant Mountains in Czech Republic.

The Giant Mountains are low rage mountains between Czech Republic and Poland, which are known as snow secure even in early winter. They are home of the source of the river Elbe and the so-called “Snow Mountain” with an altitude of 1603m.

Vrchlabi is the goal of our trip on roads, which are becoming narrower and narrower with each bend in the beginning Giant Moutains – Krkonoše in Czech. This is our basis for the next few days hoping for enough snow for cross-country ski and ski touring.

 

Vrchlabi – The gate to the Giant Mountains

Vrchlabi is a historical city at the bottom of the Giant Mountains and is ideal as a start point for all kinds of winter sports. A small scenic town with beautiful old buildings, a lot of small shops and awesome restaurants.

We stay in a guesthouse called Pension B&B in a beautiful house with very hearty hosts. The guesthouse is equipped with all necessary maps for winter sports and hiking. Every morning our hosts asked for our plans and we received valuable tips for our tours. The offered breakfast was typically Czech: very delicious and very rich. Ideal for strenuous tours in winter.

vrchlabi night snow

The marketplace of Vrchlabi

 

Ski in the Giant Mountains

With Vrchlabi as starting point the different ski areas are easy accessible by car.

For our first day of cross-country skiing we drive to the town “Pec pod Snezkou”. We are going to the actual ski area by ski lift, where we find the most of the cross-country ski tracks.

skiing cross country giant mountains czechCross country skiing track near Pec pod Snezkou

 

Even while the valley is covered in deep fog we can enjoy the skiing tracks in the warm sunshine. The different skiing tracks are combined in a slightly confusing way and we got a little bit lost in the forest. We are sure that the next track is not far away and we unbuckle our skis and are trying to hike through the snowy Giant Mountains. This wild section triggers our lust of adventure and we decide to get to the source of the Elbe (Pranem Labe in czech) on the next day by skitouring. The day ends with an superb dinner in the restaurant “Fusion” and fireworks on the marketplace at New Year’s Eve.

After an extensive breakfast on New Year’s Day we start our skitour in the town Špindlerův Mlýn to the source of the Elbe (my fist skitour – please note). In a mixture of hiking paths and smaller trails we ascend up to the town Medvedin. Due to the time (it is late in the day) we decide to ski down in the area of Medvedin and to continue our trip on the next day.

hills czech giant mountains winter skiingView from the Giant Mountains into the valley

A ski tour with a pinch of an expedition

In our first two-day we were blessed with the best weather and pure sunshine, but on the third day it began to snow and the sight were getting worse in Medvedin. But this doesn’t keep us away and we put our ski goggles on and start our tour. As we arrive on the plateau of the source of Elbe we seek shelter in a simple wooden tipi for a snack. It feels good to escape the wind and the driving snow and to heat up with some tea.

wood tipi czech giant mountains

Wooden Tipi

Now it is not any more far to our goal. We are fighting the wind on the remaining 3,5km on the plateau. Fully aware that there is no nice ski downhill after arriving at the source of Elbe, just the same way on the plateau back.

At the Source of Elbe the sight become worse and we ski from mark to mark. The planned snack at the hut “Labská Bouda” is reduced to a cereal bar and a few nuts, because the wet backpack and the last sandwich are frozen. We arrive at the “Vrbatova Bouda” we removed the ski skins and ski down to our car on a hiking path.

frozen expedition origin labeExpedition to the source of the river Elbe

 

Accomodations and Restaurants in Vrchlabi

Our guesthouse (Pension B&B) was really awesome and I highly recommend it. Friendly service, great breakfast and perfect knowledge of the area helped us a lot. It didn’t matter in which restaurant we had dinner, it was always good. The dishes mostly contain a lot of meat and garlic. You should definitely try Topinka (dark bread with butter and garlic) and Becherovka (a local herb spirit). Not to forget the awesome czech beer, which tastes twice as well at the very cheap prices (ca. 1€/o,5l). I highly recommend the restaurant Fusion, which, as its name is telling, provides a mixture of dishes from different styles. One of the best restaurants I have ever been to.

 

food fusion

wonderful dishes at the restaurant “Fusion”

Conclusion

The Giant Mountains are a perfect spot for cross-country and ski touring with a high snow secure in early winter. Even while skiing I was dreaming of a tour to the “Snow Mountain” (Snezka in czech) next year. The landscape looks like a fairytale and begs pitifully for any kind of outdoor sport. Very good restaurants and friendly people are a wonderful basis for visits to the Giant Mountains at every time of the year.

 


Resources

booking.com  for accommodation, we highly recommend Pension B&B

www.giant-mountains.info the official page of the Giant Mountains

It is very difficult to find a good travel guide for the Giant Mountains. If you are interested in visiting other czech destinations, especially Prague, I would recommend Lonely Planet – Prague and Czech Republic.

 

 

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