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The Best Places for Skiing in Ukraine (Chapter 1)


The New Year’s excitement for a vacation in the Carpathians has passed. Those who do not want to face huge queues for ski lifts and “traffic jams” of skiers and snowboarders on the slopes, can plan a trip to the mountains in the post-holiday period.


Ukraine’s Carpathian mountains – with their mesmerising foggy peaks, stunning summit views and traditional cuisine – remain a widely unexplored area for international travellers. During winter, skiers from all over the country flock to the numerous resorts to hit the pistes and enjoy the après-ski atmosphere.

There are plenty of options to choose from and the prices are extremely affordable, although the quality varies. From top-notch mega resorts to cosy villages with only a few tracks, here are the best options for skiing in the Carpathians this winter.


Bukovel

Bukovel is the favourite place of Ukrainians, thus not the cheapest one. Every year it greets more and more foreign tourists and surprises them with its neat wooden cottages and multitude of trails and lifts. The resort is located on three mountains – Bukovel, Dovga and Chorna Kleva. Most of the trails are illuminated so that inveterate riders can ski in the evening. The season in Bukovel starts in November and ends in mid-April. The infrastructure of the place numbers dozens of cafés and restaurants, chalets and hotels to stay in, and such winter attractions as an artificial lake for ice-skating lovers.

  • Slopes: averaging 900 m to 1370 m height
  • Number of lifts: 16, almost all are chair lifts
  • Total length: 63 km
  • Service quality: high
  • Accessibility: easy
  • Snow: available November to April, slopes are usually groomed and there are snow-making machines

All categories of difficulty are available for great skiing and snowboarding. Beginners can try themselves out on a gradual slope, and kids will love short tows.  For more experienced skiers there are several black diamonds. Night skiing is available from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m on two upper intermediate slopes.

Getting there: take a train to Ivano-Frankivsk. Outside of the train station, there will be buses running in the direction of Bukovel. Expect two hours by bus (95 km).

Staying there: there are plenty of hotels and B&B available around the resort. Make sure you book well in advance, as Ukrainians tend to flock there during high holiday season (December 29th – January 12th).  Most of the hotels in Bukovel do not offer one day package, and you have to buy a few days accommodation.


Drahobrat

This ski resort is the highest in Ukraine (up to 1800 m). It also has doubtlessly the most beautiful views. There are not enough snow-making machines, but nature fills up the need: snow appears usually around November, and remainstill May. Sometimes the snow cover is up to 5 m high! This place is not meant for beginners. The slopes are rather tough, but there is enough entertainment available down the slopes.  The ski resort is not easily accessible, as there is not yet a proper road up to it.  If you decide to try out Dragobrat, be ready for a fun ride in a local pick-up truck along the bumpy mountainous road! Great experience for those, looking for something off-the-beaten track.

  • Slopes: averaging 1400 m to 1800 m height
  • Total length: 10 km
  • Number of lifts: 10
  • Service quality: medium
  • Accessibility: poor
  • Snow: available November to May, there are not enough snow-making machines, so check the weather forecast in advance

Getting there:  Take a train from Lviv to Ivano-Frankivsk. Then get a bus to Yasinya. From the village of Yasinya, one will have to take local public transportation (the famous pick-up trucks) in order to get up to Dragobrat. If you are driving your own car, keep in mind that the road from Yasinya to Dragobrat is a total off-road, so don’t even attempt to drive it, unless you have a jeep. It’s safer to park your car in Yasinya and use the pick-up trucks (One ride will cost you around 2 euros).

Accommodation: very reasonable prices (starting from 8-10 euros per night), mainly locally owned guesthouses, as well as good hotels with a complete service package


Slavske

This resort is most popular with students, youth and anyone who lives in or around Lviv. It’s located merely 135 km from Lviv, and is easily accessible by public transportation.  Four mountains – Trostian, Pohar and Polytechnic – give plenty of options for skiers.  Pohar and Polytechnic are the favorites of beginners. Mountain Zvorets hosts ‘Zahar Berkut’ ski resort and is great for more advanced skiers. Trostian is the highest among them and has good snow most of the time.

  • Slopes: averaging 600 m to 1232 m height
  • Number of lifts: 20, only two are chair lifts
  • Total length: 12 km
  • Service quality: medium
  • Accessibility: high
  • Snow: available December to March, there are not enough snow-making machines, so check the weather forecast in advance

Getting there: train №807 Lviv – Mukachevo departs from Lviv at 07:42 and arrives to Slavske at 09:55.

Staying there: look out for small B&B and rural guesthouses. Some will offer to pick up truck transportation all the way to the slopes. Book way in advance, if you want to get the best price and service. Slavske is known for its good food! Lots of options, reasonable prices and fast service. If you don’t want to wait 40 min to get your cup of tea, Slavske is your place!


Pylypets and Podobovets

These places are not yet ski resorts in its full sense, however, they are developing rapidly and surprise skiers with good prices.  Three mountains (Podobovets, Pylypets, and Mahura) are the base, with most services provided by the private sector (locals). There’s a good selection of ski slopes, however, the place does not have all the necessary machinery to maintain it yet. Check the weather forecast to make sure there is enough snow. Most of the slopes are not suitable for beginners. Some have a 45 degrees angle!

Also, entertainment infrastructure (loud bars and discos) is not developed at all. So, if you are into the local authentic culture, these two villages should be your first choice! Local villagers still keep old traditions of rural Ukraine and are always eager to prepare home-made borshch, teach you how to weave carpets and show you the famous village hospitality.

  • Slopes: averaging 700 m to 1500 m height
  • Number of lifts: 10
  • Total length: 25 km
  • Service quality: medium
  • Accessibility: medium
  • Snow: available December to March, there are not enough snow-making machines, so check the weather forecast in advance

Getting there: train №807 Lviv-Mukachevo departs Lviv at 07:42 and arrives to the village of Volovets at 10:50. From there you can take local buses or a taxi to Podobovets/Pylypets (12 km).

Accommodation: very reasonable prices (starting from 6-8 euros per night), mainly locally owned guesthouses.

To be contined…