Ski Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is not terribly well known internationally for its downhill ski areas, but there are in fact more than 100 of them stretching across the country, the largest of which have at certain times made it in to international tour operators' brochures attracting skiers from across Europe.
It is particularly popular to ski the Czech Republic amongst German skiers who pop over the border to enjoy lower prices and in some cases better ski slopes than they find in Germany. It’s also possible for skiers based anywhere in Europe to fly in to one of the Czech Republic’s airports on a low cost airline and find a small ski hill within a few kilometres.
Particular popular Czech ski resorts for German skiers and boarders include Železná Ruda Špičák, one of the largest ski centres in the Czech Republic and located very close to the German border.
There have been downhill ski slopes in the Czech Republic for more than a century but few have developed beyond a few drag lifts in a village meadow, most of them run by separate local owners, so common lift passes are a rarity.
There are several larger Czech ski resorts which have invested money in new lifts over the past few decades since the stagnation of the ‘communist block’ era has moved further in to the past.
The country’s largest is Špindlerův Mlýn, a scattered community centred around the old village of St. Peters, located in the central Krkonose Mountains, about 140 km (90 miles) from Prague. It has a beautiful Baroque church (1807) and was once popular with Franz Kafka and more recently the tennis legend Martina Navratilova.
One of the highest ski areas in the country and also with the longest slopes over a near 500m vertical and more lifts than most others including several modern chairlifts, there are two local ski areas. The highest ski area is Horni Misecky and snow cover is usually good to late April, with recent investment in snowmaking making up for any natural deficiencies if they ever occur.
Pec pod Sněžkou is another of the Czech Republic's most famous resorts, located by Snezka (Snow) Mountain, the country's highest peak (1602m). Originally an iron mining town, tourism became more popular after the first World War and the first drag lift was installed more than 70 years ago. It has a dozen lifts, most of them drags, and a single challenging black run, the 600m long Hnědý vrch II descent.
Rokytnice nad Jizerou in the Jizera river valley offers skiing on Lysa Hora (the bald mountain), close to Harrachov. It has the most lifts and one of the greatest vertical differences between its highest and lowest lifts but these are spread over four separate ski areas surrounding the small resort. There’s night skiing here to 9pm and some of the longest pistes in the country at up to 3.2km.
Czech Republic: latest snow conditions round-up
Summary of forecast snowfall and ski conditions for resorts in Czech Republic. Fresh snow is forecast at 66resorts. Powder is reported at 0 resorts and 1 are reporting good piste conditions.