Ski resorts along Czech-Polish border competing for clients

Photo: Kristýna Maková

Ski resorts in the Orlické hory mountain range have small reason to cheer. In addition to the lack of snow they are now facing fresh competition from the Polish side of the border where entrepreneurs are investing millions of zloty into state of the art facilities intended to attract an international clientele.

Photo: Kristýna Maková
In the past ski resorts in the Orlické hory mountain range, in the north eastern part of the country, had no shortage of clients and small reason to fear rival facilities on the Polish side of the border. In fact Polish clients made up a third of its clientele. They claimed skiing conditions were better and winter holidays cheaper on the Czech side of the border. However in the last few years Nature has not proved kind to people in the business. Ski resort owners have had to invest the bulk of their funds into facilities for making artificial snow which very often work around the clock to provide even basic skiing conditions at a time when natural snowfall is scarce and day temperatures often stray far above zero.

The owner of the ski resort in Deštná says they invest on average five million crowns into new facilities every year and although technical snow has been a priority holiday makers can now look forward to a four seat ski lift along its most frequented slope. Skiers are still coming, but it gets harder to ignore the building activity on the Polish side of the border where dozens of new slopes and modern ski hotels have appeared.

In the past two years investors on the Polish side have spent the equivalent of 200 million Czech crowns turning the place into a skiers’ heaven. The Zieleniec ski resort alone offers several dozen well-tended ski slopes and 28 lifts accessible on a single ski pass. Most recently the resort opened three new slopes and a six-seat lift. Czech skiers have easy access to the Zieleniec resort –they can take a lift from the Masaryk mountain chalet for free. And an increasing number of them have been making an appearance to see what’s on offer. Many are suitably impressed right at the outset to find that parking is for free.

Further east, in the Krkonoše Mountains, the ski resort Pec pod Sněžkou, which is located even closer to the Polish border has less reason for concern. It is one of the most popular skiing resorts in the country and 40 percent of it visitors still come over from neighbouring Poland.