Although it may seem unbelievable, historians date ski as means of transport to 4000 years ago. There are experts who think first skis and their usage even 8000 years before Christ. As for the region preceding in this field, the historians also are not congruent – some think that first skis come from Scandinavia and northern-western Russia, some are sure that first snow gear was used by Central Asian folk, around Altai mountain.
Thankfully, Polish ski history is not so convoluted. In our country, first ski-ride lovers and enthusiasts were Stanisław Barabasz and famous sailor gen. Mariusz Zaruski. Historical sources say that around the year 1888, Stanisław Barabasz explored Jasło territory on custom-made skis. The first recorded ski trip in polish Tatry was directed toward Black Pond Gąsienicowy in 1891. Stanisław Barabasz himself venture into the same spot in 1894. This date was considered as the official beginning of skiing in Zakopane. At the end of the 19th century, Stanisław Barabasz moved to Zakopane and settled there, working as Vocational School of Wood Industry principal. His pupils crafted their first wooden ski. This prominent ski lover had one rule: he eagerly taught skiing only if each of his apprentices would share this knowledge to at least one person. A few years later, from Stanisław Barabasz, Mariusz Zaruski and Mieczysław Karłowicz's initiative, in April 1907, a ski promotion organization was established, known as Zakopane Tatra Society Ski Department.
In 1908 there was a first ski course in Zakopane for around 60 participants. Also in this year, Mariusz Zaruski and Henryk Bobkowski published Alpine ski guidebook. Ski section was very active, organizing courses and ski tours around Tatry Mountains. Thanks to that, a first polish guide, Zakopane and Tatry ski terrain guidebook by Mariusz Zaruski was printed. This was also the beginning of ski tour rides, so popular nowadays.
Surely, Zakopane is a cradle of polish skiing, reaching 120 years of tradition. The first ski club established here (SNPTT) is the oldest Polish organization of this kind, being active nearly without stopping. During the decades, sportsmen like Mariusz Zaruski, Bronisław Czech, Helena and Stanisław Marusarz, Józef Oppenheim, Aleksander Schiele, Franciszek Bujak, and Stanisław Zubek were among its ranks.
This is where, on December 26, 1919, the Polish Ski Association (PZN) was established, playing a key role in polish ski organizations. In the year 1910 in Goryczkowa Hall, the first international ski competition in Poland was held, assembling 150 participants from many countries. At the same time, the first ski jump competition was held. In next few decades the town welcomed best skiers from the whole world, hosting FIS World Cup three times (1929, 1939, 1962), guesting WinterUniversiade competitors three times (1956, 1993, 2001), and organizing World and Europe Cup in biathlon, Junior Cup in biathlon and speed skating Junior Cup. Also, there were international Norwegian combination, ski runs and slalom competitions held in town. Each year in January there is a FIS World Cup in ski jumping held in Zakopane.
We invite every ski and snowboard enthusiast to draw from winter offer of many ski slopes in town's territory. Classical skiing fans will certainly find something interesting on beautifully prepared winter tracks for cross-country skiing. Everyone who values freedom and adventure is welcome to fuse tourism with ski riding and to test their skills on ski tour routes on Tatry National Park territory.
Thanks to the efforts of the Harenda Ski Resort, Polana Szymoszkowa, Suche and Witów, Zakopane offer its first ever skipass - one card allowing skiers and snowboarders to use many lifts. The Góral Skipass is purchased for a specific length of time and can be used at four ski areas: Harendzie, Polanie Szymoszkowej, Suche, and Witów. The ticket can be purchased online, at a special ticket machine in the city centre, or at one of the designated points. Thanks to this, skiers and snowboarders can ride in several areas in one day, without wasting time queuing up for lift tickets.
The cable car to Kasprowy Wierch is the only alpine cable car in Poland. The trip is full of great views and provides an unforgettable experience. The cable car’s upper station is located at an altitude of 1959 m (only 26 meters below the top of Kasprowy Wierch) and is the second highest building in Poland, after the Kasprowy Wierch Meteorological Observatory. From the top of Kasprowy Wierch, visitors can admire the breathtaking mountain views. Once at the top, numerous hiking options are available: to Hala Gąsienicowa, along the east ridge through the Beskids, through Skrajna and Pośrednia Turnia to Świnica, or west to Czerwone Wierchy. In winter, Kasprowy Wierch offers opportunities for skiing and snowboarding. In addition to the cable car, there are two chairlifts into the Gąsienicowa and Goryczkowa basins. Well-prepared ski runs and the proximity of the mountains attracts crowds of winter sport enthusiasts. In the area around Kasprowy Wierch, Polish Cableways prepares a total of 14 km of ski slopes on natural snow. Runs in the Kasprowy Wierch area are FIS rated for competition.
Polana Szymoszkowa is a ski resort distinguished by its beautiful views of the Tatra Mountains. Two chairlifts are available for skiers and snowboarders. The large six-person lift to the top of Gubałówka is an excellent suggestion for more advanced skiers and snowboarders as well as tourists looking for incredible views. The smaller lift running halfway up the slope is ideal for beginners. At the lower chairlift station is KidsPark Szymoszkowa, including a belt lift for the youngest skiers and snowboarders. Under the expert supervision of an instructor, children can ski for the first time.
The Harenda ski resort is located on the south-eastern slopes of Rafaczówki, an extension of the Gubałówka ridge. Skiers have at their disposal three drag lifts and a 4-seater chair lift. The chair lift can carry up to 2,400 people per hour. The slope is illuminated (open until 9 pm) and has a snowmaking system. There is a one hour break at 3 pm to groom the snow. Runs at Harenda are intended for both beginners (3 green trails) and experienced skiers. For the latter, the black route, which hosts an International Ski Federation competition, is particularly attractive. On the right side of the chairlift along the lower part of the slope there is a snow park with a jump and obstacles to practice freestyle. The facility has a ski school, winter equipment rentals, catering facilities, an ice rink, and a spacious car park. Contact ul. Harenda 21 A 34–500 Zakopane tel. +48 18 20 256 80 email@example.com www.harendazakopane.pl