This weekend, we went skiing at Skiareal Herlikovice. I was so excited to ski in the Czech Republic as skiing has been a hobby of mine for many years; I was ready to see what the CZ had to offer when it came to skiing.
My roommate heard about this mountain from one of her students and she had always wanted to try skiing, so Thursday she asked us if we all wanted to go. Of course I wanted to go!! I was so happy to have people to go with!
The ski resort has busses that run from various major areas around the country to the resort daily. We woke up early to catch the bus that leaves at 6:30 from the farthest metro stop on one line. It was pitch black and everyone was groggy, but we figured out how to make it to the slopes. There were about 5 busses that went from where we got on. The bus cost 740 czk for the trip there and back, and a day long ski pass.
It took us two hours to get there, and when we arrived we set off for our first mission of finding a hotel to stay in for the night. Our initial plan was shot when we found that one hotel was closed down and the other was full. We decided just to ski for the day and catch the bus back at 4:30 that night.
Next, we had to figure out rentals. There was a huge yellow building that had ski and snowboard rentals. You could rent skis, boots, poles, helmets, and goggles. I rented a whole ski set for 220 czk. Luckily, the man in the rental place spoke English, which made it a little easier for us to tell him our shoe size (in European sizes), our weight (in kilograms), and our ability level.
We were also at a loss for what to do with our back packs, which we probably could have left on the bus if we had known, so thankfully, the man at the rental place let us put them in his back room. It was random, but we were happy to not have to ski with our backpacks on.
Finally, it was time to hit the slopes. The four of us – two beginners, one intermediate, and me – decided we wanted to start on an easy regular slope. The Czech symbols for difficulty levels are different than in the US. They just have colors with no shapes to go along with them, and blue is the easiest, red is more challenging, and black is the hardest. The mountain we went to had mostly red and blue slopes. Each slope was named, but they all also had a number to go along with them, which was great for us, who found it a lot easier to say, “let’s go on number 12,” instead of trying to pronounce and forgetting the Czech name.
We started with “Number 10,” a blue slope, and it was a bit too much for our beginner friends’ first time out. So afterwards, I walked over to the bunny hill with them – a mostly flat area with lots of children and fun wooden cartoon characters on poles stuck into the ground.
The beginners felt much more confident; after a few runs, I was able to go off on my own and get a few runs in. Most of the slopes run from the middle to the bottom, but there are a couple that run from the top to the bottom, one of them being the only full-length black slope on the mountain. I checked that one out to see how the blacks compare. It was no Killington, but maybe it matched up with the difficulty of some black diamonds at Holiday Valley. There was one other great slope that was the classic long-sweeping blue that ran the outer edge of the mountain. It was a huge open ski field with bright orange poles stuck into the ground to tell you where to ski. It was quite a long trail with beautiful scenery.
One thing about the mountain that was difficult for the beginners I was with, was that if you ended up on the left side, you would either have to walk back along the road, or ride the chair lift up and map out a different route to ski down back to the main area. If I had been by myself, I would have ridden back up to find another way back, but the beginners couldn’t do just any slope, so we walked back.
There was plenty of helping after falls and crashes, but no one was hurt save being a little sore the next day. It snowed around us all day and the trees were beautifully coated in white so much that you could hardly see the brown of the tree anymore. Even the walk back to the main area was beautiful. Huge evergreen trees lined the opposite side of the road, while a trickling stream ran next to us.
By the end of the day, we were all exhausted and ready to head back home. We got back around 7:30 and had some dinner and relaxed after our day out on the snowy slopes.