Famous Polish ski resorts. - Niepospolita
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Famous Polish ski resorts.

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Prior to the outbreak of World War II, polish skiers keenly flocked to skiing resorts all over the country.  This was no coincidence since the choice to remain in Poland for the holidays was seen as a patriotic gesture in support of the growing economy of the liberated country. In 1937 it was the destinations of Zakopane and Krynica Zdroj which were chosen over costly hotels in Germany or Austria.  So, read on and see which resorts were attracting the attention of the lovers of winter sports and which of them were chosen by contemporary celebrities.

Zakopane – the winter capital of Poland

Zakopane was considered to be the winter capital even before the Great War.  In 1937 the settlement was already quite large and wealthy. Its inhabitants made a living off of tourism offering a wide variety of sports and nature activities.

Those who loved the traditional skiing were attracted by the accessible slopes of Kasprowy Wierch, whilst those who preferred to ski in Scandinavian style enjoyed running and walking across the pastures of Hala Gasienicowa. The newly built cable car to Kasprowy Wierch (1936) proved to be a huge success. It was well received by tourists which helped when it came to finding benefactors ready to invest in a similar car in Gubalowka, which was completed in 1938. Those who preferred to spend their time ice-skating were able to use an ice track located in the vicinity of the Tatra Museum.

In those days a new winter discipline was gaining in popularity – ski jumping. In 1925 one of the largest facilities in Europe dedicated to this discipline, called Wielka Krokiew [The Great Rafter], was located in Zakopane.

The accommodation opportunities in Zakopane were extremely diverse. You could stay in luxurious hotels and lodges such as Palace and Renaissance on Chalubinskiego Street; or Radowid on Sienkiewicza Street; or Europejski [European] on Kosciuszko Street; or yet again Tuberoza or Harnas on Pilsudskiego Street. If the size of your wallet was more modest then you could go for economy rooms let out by the locals, which were affordable even for students.

Krynica Zdroj – the spirit of Galicia

Since Zakopane was popular among tourists coming from Warsaw it was considered to be rather on the posh side. On the contrary, Krynica Zdroj, mostly visited by tourists from Lviv, Rzeszow and Przemysl, was seen to be filled with the nonchalant, cheeky spirit of Galicia.

Amongst the best-loved attractions of Krynica was the cable car taking tourists to the top of Parkowa Gora with a sledding track wound round its gentle slope. Krynica was also known for its two ski-jumping facilities – one on Krzyzowa Gora and the other one located off Lesna Street.

The prices for accommodation were considerably lower than in Zakopane, although there was a fair number of luxurious lodging options such as Czerwony Dwor [Red Manor], Eldorado, Mimoza [Mimosa], Stella, Carlton, and Nasz Dom [Our House]. Lwigrod [Lion Stronghold], built in 1928, is an example of a very popular spa resort.

Worochta

Small tourist destinations located in East Carpatia were serious competition for large resorts. Worochta in Pokucie (today Ukraine’s Ivano-Frankvist region – prior to the War known as the Stanislawowskie Voivodeship) was considered to be the capital of Huculszczyzna. The health-resort was situated where the Gorganow and the Czarnohora met. It was famous for its excellent snow conditions in winter time.

Worochta was easily accessible from Lviv with prices of accommodation much more inviting than those in Zakopane or Krynica. Another ski-jumping facility was built here in 1922.  It even hosted a Polish Ski Jumping Championship.  A hockey ring and ice-skating track were also available to the tourists and were just as welcoming as the picturesque ski trails.  Those with a little more experience could take a more demanding, but enchanting and rewarding trail in Czarnohora from the peak of Howerla to Pop Ivan.

Jaremcze

As a health-resort, Jaremcze was as equally popular as Worochta and similarly located in Eastern inter-war Poland (currently in the Ivano-Frankvist region of Ukraine).  There was an abundance of lodging possibilities on route between the two famous spa towns. Jaremcze was well known for the fact that it was frequently visited by the last Tsar and King of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Truskavets

The town of Truskavets was a popular resort amongst Polish celebrities. It was famous as a summer destination located in the Lviv Voivodeship (currently Lviv region in Ukraine). Among the wealthy and famous who visited Truskavets were: Jozef Pilsudski, Ignacy Daszynski, Wincenty Witos, Janusz Kusocinski, Eugeniusz Bodo, Zofia Nalkowska, Adolf Dymsza, Julian Tuwim, and Marian Hemar.  Its superb location made it worth visiting all year round. The terrain was perfect for professionals doing winter sports as well as for those who wanted to learn under the keen eyes of an experienced instructor.