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Visitor reviews for Harghita Mădăraş Ski Resort
December 20, 2010
Laci from Romania
It's the most snow-sure resort in Transylvania, except the Balea region, due to its specific microclimate. The season usually lasts from early December to mid-April, best in February and March.
The resort (Harghita Mădăraş) is located in Harghita county some 15km near Odorheiu-Secuiesc (Szekelyudvarhely) town, in the heart of the Hungarian - inhabited Szekelyfold. The local people know this mountain as the Szekely's Holy Mountain (1800m).
There are 4 main slopes: Nagy Mihaly (black), Kis Mihaly (red), Sugo (blue upper and red bottom section) and the blue crest way. They are equipped with T-bar lifts. There are several chalets here all very close to the pistes, the most modern being the Sugo Pension.
The upside: breathtaking scenery, beautiful and consistent snowpack, moderately crowded with mostly good skiers and mountaineers. Yes, it's very suitable for off-piste skiing and ski-touring, offering anything from easy crest circuits to very demanding off-piste downhill in open terrain or woods. It's a perfect weekend resort for non-skiers also with easy and still breathtaking trekking routes. It's relative remoteness, especially due to the 10-km forest way up rom the nearest village acts as a filter, leaves "bad elements" at home or other resorts. It's a thing one nature and mountain-loving man really appreciates. You can leave your gear at the upper end of the piste while you eat/take a rest as no one will touch it, quite a thing in Romania. Don't forget your photo camera as you rarely experience such a genuine wild scenery with interesting snow formations, all very accessible for non-trained tourists also. The accomodation and food is good for Romanian standards with medium prices. The people are honest and very helpful.
The downside: the 10-km way up is recommended for 4x4 or experienced small car drivers only! The road has no asphalt and is very rugged when not snow-covered, many broke their oil tanks there. Use of snow chains is a must, but when snowy at least the road is quite even. For those who don't want to risk the drive up, there are tractors who regularly clean the road and simultaneously carry visitors with all equippment for 10 lei. The ski pistes could be better maintained, lots of icy/rocky sections which happen to be the steepest also. Together with the often 1-m snow bumps this calls for extra fitness and technique and may damage your skis. Uncertain programme outside weekends and holidays, but available anytime for big (30+) groups (you have to speak with the operators).
All-in-all, this place is perfect for mountain lovers seeking a challenging weekend ride in a rare beauty and tranquility, who don't bother the difficult access, but rather see it as an advantage vs. Poiana Brasov, the biggest resort is Romania but also the most crowded and far not as snow-sure. The 10-km road down is suitable for skiing and adds to the charm. The 1-hr trek to the mountain top is a must! This resort (Harghita Mădăraş) is well known and appreciated in Hungary also.
Harghita Mădăraş Ratings
Overall: 3.3. Based on 7 votes and 1 review. Vote
(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Harghita Mădăraş.
Public Transport: 1.5
(1) There are no buses or taxis to Harghita Mădăraş, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.
(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.
(1) No places to stay in/near Harghita Mădăraş, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.
Cheap Rooms: 4.7
(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.
Luxury Hotels: 2.6
(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Harghita Mădăraş.
Ski in/Ski out: 4.7
(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.
(1) There are no child care facilities at Harghita Mădăraş, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.
(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Harghita Mădăraş is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.
(1) Harghita Mădăraş relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.
Snow Grooming: 3.3
(1) There are no snow groomers at Harghita Mădăraş, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Harghita Mădăraş are groomed daily.
(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Harghita Mădăraş is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.
Nearby options: 2.2
(1) If snow conditions are poor at Harghita Mădăraş, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.
Regional rating: 4.7
(1) Harghita Mădăraş usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.
Lift Staff: 4.0
(1) The staff at Harghita Mădăraş are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Harghita Mădăraş are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.
(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.
Ski Schools: 3.0
(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.
Hire and Repairs: 3.4
(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.
Variety of pistes: 2.8
(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Harghita Mădăraş has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.
(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.
(1) No intermediate terrain at Harghita Mădăraş, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.
(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.
Snow Park: 2.7
(1) Not even a kicker at Harghita Mădăraş, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.
(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.
(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Harghita Mădăraş, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.
(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Harghita Mădăraş has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.
Mountain Dining: 4.0
(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.
(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.
(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.
Other Sports: 2.0
(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.
(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.
Winter Walks: 4.2
(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.
Ski Pass Value: 3.0
(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.
Value (National): 4.0
(1) Overall, Harghita Mădăraş is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.
Value (Global): 3.3
(1) Overall, Harghita Mădăraş is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.