Cross-country skiing is a sport which originated many years ago. Over time it has developed in many countries across the globe, especially those where skis were necessary to provide mobility and allow transportation in winter. Formerly, skis were frequently used during hunting trips. Nowadays, however, cross-country skis are being put to a slightly different use. First of all, they are supposed to serve recreation purposes as a form of entertainment, to give satisfaction, improve motor skills and physical condition, and inspire people to discover the natural beauty of winter. In a sense, touring, as this discipline is often called, can be considered an alternative to alpine skiing. This is a sport for anyone and everyone, regardless of professional skills and expensive equipment. All you need are good skis and, above all, a compelling desire to slide across the endless snow blankets over pairs of parallel tracks. Even more importantly, most trails offer the snow craze absolutely free of charge, which allows all enthusiasts of this sport to enjoy it without any limitations.
In search of perfect destinations, all those who fancy cross-country skiing often explore remote locations to single out the best pistes. The Carpathians, too, have something to offer in this respect. However, “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence,” as the proverb goes. Indeed, it is worthwhile taking a closer look at the treasure trove to be found, basically, on your doorstep, and to reach out for the marvels of the winter landscape, of which we are far too often unaware.
Along the Carpathian trail
You can start your skiing adventure in the Carpathians virtually anywhere. The decision is only dependent on the snow conditions – you will always find some trail to have a go at cross-country skiing wherever there is enough snow. If you are interested in specific routes you should know that the Carpathians provide an immense multitude of them, so it is not possible to describe all of them in detail. So, let us focus on several hand-picked trails, which have for various reasons proven particularly tempting and inviting.
A must-go on the cross-country skiing map is Nowy Targ, and its trail encircling the “Bór na Czerwonem” reserve. When visiting the Podhale region, it would be a sin not to leave a ski-mark in the Kościeliska and the Chochołowska Valleys, which are home to some of the most breathtaking paths for this discipline, or Zakopane, the beloved city for all winter-craze enthusiasts. A fabulous winter experience also awaits you in the Island Beskids and its Mogielnica peak in the Słopnice Commune, as well as in Koninki in Poręba Wielka. From here, you will be only a stone's throwfrom Krynica-Zdrój and Tylicz, which share a long and extremely picturesque road you can ski along. But let us not forget about those who have found themselves settled slightly more far off from the mountains than the lucky few who were born at the mountain foot. I mean, of course, all the holidaymakers, or cepers (the plains folks) as the locals call them, hungry for winter trips. An alternative for these folks can be the cross-country ski trail in Puszcza Niepołomicka (a primeval forest), located 20km from Kraków. On the other hand, all those who consider skiing as the mainstay of their lifestyle, must visit the highest peak in the Gorce Mountains, Turbacz, and the nearby Kluszkowice, nestled on the magnetic Mount Wdżar.