Czech ski resorts bet on artificial snow after several warm winters

Photo: Lite, CC BY-SA 3.0

With the first snow having already fallen in the country, Czech mountain resorts are getting ready for the upcoming winter season. At a conference at the office of Czech Tourism on Tuesday representatives of the Czech Mountain Resorts Association unveiled their plans for this winter, which they hope will see more snow than in previous years. I spoke with the association’s spokesman Petr Souček and I first asked him how successful the summer season had been:

Photo: Lite,  CC BY-SA 3.0
“I must say that the summer season was quite successful. Even though the weather was not as beautiful as last year and the season was about ten days shorter, the number of visitors rose by about ten percent. The places with the highest growth of visitors was Dolní Morava and Rokytnice nad Jizerou. All of the resorts made significant investments into tourist attractions, including bike trails and bike hiring, to entertain visitors.”

Who were the most frequent visitors?

“We don’t have exact numbers for this season but looking at the past seasons, most of the visitors come from the Czech Republic, followed by tourists from the neighbouring countries: Poland, Germany and Slovakia.”

Last year’s winter season was one of the worst in history due to poor snow conditions. Are you prepared for this possibility?

“We have faced this problem over the last three winters, which were all quite warm, but the ski resorts invested quite a lot into artificial snowing and the trend has continued this summer in preparation for the upcoming season.

“The investments made in Czech mountains this year amounted to about 500 million crowns and most of them went into artificial snow, so the conditions for the visitors and skiers will be OK, although we of course hope that this winter will be better than the last three.”

So what would you say are the biggest highlights of the upcoming winter season?

“All of the resorts have come up with a number of highlights. As I said, they mostly invest into artificial snow, but they also improve the infrastructure, facilities for children, ski schools and so on.

“Ski Areál Monínec will have a special snow cannon that can produce artificial snow even in temperatures above zero. And in Malá Úpa they are opening a new local brewery, so the tourist centres also try to attract people by local gastronomy.”

One of the projects you are going to focus on this year is the Czech Ski pass. Can you tell me more about it?

“It is a unique ski pass which enables its holders to ski at 23 ski resorts around the country and if you buy it you can ski on 190 kilometres of ski slopes, and you can use 43 funiculars and 141 ski tows, so it is a great opportunity to explore mountains all around the Czech Republic.”