Skitour tours for beginners
Here are some suggestions for skitouring trips. Each of them is completely different. Each sets the bar at different heights, shifts the emphasis to different advantages of this activity. But what they all have in common is that they will be a good choice for our first skydiving season.
Skituring is a great winter activity (fot. SKITOURSCHOOL.EN)
The name alone encourages us to go on a winter hike. Sněžník, a prominent Sudeten mountain with an altitude of 1426 m, provides good conditions for skydiving. The approach with the proposed variant is very gentle, the route is easy to navigate. It can be the first step to ‘tame the seals’ or a suggestion for a family trip. The shelter on Śnieżnik, located in front of the peak, gives us the opportunity to rest, warm up or take shelter in case the weather breaks, which can be drastically different there than at the foot of the mountain.
We set up a base camp in Biala Woda, near the Czarna Góra ski resort. We can approach by the side of the trail (if there is little traffic on the slope) or go up by the lift. The third option is to approach the trail marked in red, from Puchaczówka Pass. The first kilometers after the ski resort is a walk along a wide forest road. When we pass a small hill – Žmijowiec, two kilometers of gentle sliding to the trail connector await us. We continue the excursion and after a long while our eyes will be seen shelter. This is a good time to rest, have a snack and prepare to climb to the summit.
It takes novice hikers about an hour to get from the hostel to the summit and back to the same place, taking into account time for taking a souvenir photo and any equipment operations. I dare not write about the views from Snieznik, as my trips ended with walking in fog or a snow blizzard. Well, maybe next time?
We return to the car exactly the same way. Before Czarna Gora we turn right to one of the ski trails and end our trip with a descent. The suggestion presented is just one of many possibilities. For the more experienced, Snowbird offers several other routes – I encourage you to look for them!
A magical place in Beskid Zywiecki that attracts crowds of skiers and hikers every season. All thanks to the specific microclimate, which allows you to enjoy the snow when the grass is already green on the more distant peaks. The lack of a ski lift leading to the summit, the pleasant atmosphere in the nearby chalets and the beautiful panorama of the Tatras and Fatra make a trip to this area always special for me.
The forest just below the closed ski lift on Rysianka (fot. outdoormagazine.pl)
Approach and descent route easy, although in places the narrow trail is not a good idea for beginner skiers. The higher parts near Rysianka and Romanka are open mountain pastures, inviting you to repeat a few approaches and short but very pleasant descents. Rumor has it that there are quite a few secret skittering spots in the area, but let’s start with the most popular option.
We leave the car at the parking lot in Złatna Huta village. Cross the bridge over the Bystra River and find the trail marked in black. We will get there directly to the Rysianka shelter. Here several possibilities open up to us. We can go down a piece to the north and further, after putting on the seals, approach towards Romanka. Open space, nice views and a few pleasant turns.
On the other hand, west of the hostel, heading along the ski lift, we can try our hand at downhill skiing through the beech forest. A not too steep slope, sparsely growing trees and powder snow lasting for several days after precipitation can cause an explosion of joy.
Another option is to walk on the seals towards the Shelter on Hala Lipowska (ah, those pancakes!). From there we can descend straight to the parking lot, although I encourage you to return to Rysianka and leave your tracks in the clearing. Downhill along the black trail – the road of approach. With a bit of luck, it’s possible to go all the way down to the parking lot without taking off your skis.
Ski resort in Zywiec Beskid, which is one of the most interesting places when it comes to the possibility of combining skitouring with downhill skiing. Several groomed trails, right next to terrain abundant with numerous downhill options, and the possibility of supporting yourself with lifts make Pilsko the most popular destination for many. The disadvantages certainly include crowding. On sunny days, rather than peace and tranquility, we will find crowds of skiers of all types here. On Pilsko we will meet athletes training for skydiving competitions, backpacker tourists, as well as brave freeriders riding powerful boards.
One of the many rare forests in the upper parts of Pilsko (fot. outdoormagazine.pl)
From Korbielów we approach on seals by one of several options. We have at our disposal hiking trails marked in yellow or green, we can also ascend by the edge of any of the ski trails, exercising caution. If these are our first steps, it’s worth spending time learning and practicing the bends – in the future they will become our secret weapon on steep approaches. After a longer walk, we reach the Hostel on Hala Miziowa. It is crowded during the ski season, but a moment’s rest and a warm meal can improve morale in the group.
We can ascend the summit dome by several options. A gentler, albeit longer route leads down the right side, past the GOPR’s duty station. We climb up the side of the ski trail. The ascent to the peak itself, located on the Slovakian side, unfortunately does not translate into a more pleasant descent (the snow on the dome is usually blown away). But if the weather is good, it’s worth approaching the altar and cross to enjoy the beautiful views. Since we’re on the weather, it’s worth noting that Pilsko, as a prominent peak, is prone to sudden weather changes, a penetrating wind blows there almost always, and zero visibility can turn a Sunday excursion into a fight for life.
In the upper parts there are several possibilities to descend the steep slopes. If you don’t feel confident, you can use several ski trails on the way down. But for adventurers, I suggest heading towards the Onion Hall and the Dancing Hall, and then descending northwest towards the Onion Creek. If the snow conditions are good, riding this variant will improve everyone’s mood. However, beware, trips to Pilsko often have an element of…getting lost in the program. Sometimes adrenaline during the descent causes us to go to the wrong valley, reach a steep slope by a stream, or simply get lost in the forest. So let’s be careful, otherwise we can prolong the hike and, completely unknowingly – find ourselves on the Slovak side.
When we run out of strength or time, we return to Hala Miziowa. Quite a long descent to Korbielów awaits us. There are two main options to choose from: through Buczynka or Hala Szczawiny. In my personal ranking, Pilsko wins the “Versatility” category – there is something for everyone here.
Grześ – Rakoń
For many, the first Tatra skitoura. Step to soaring peaks and steep gullies, a trip into seemingly easy terrain, far from the dark walls of the High Tatras. And, although looking through the prism of skiing technique, it belongs to those not too difficult, there are some dangers here that we have not faced in the lower mountains. We put avalanche equipment in our backpack, and if we want to extend the trip to Volovets – we consider taking crampons and an axe-checker. Equipment alone is not enough. If we lack the skills, it is necessary to precede this route with a portion of knowledge acquired at avalanche courses and other trainings.
The approach to Grześ, as well as the further route, are not technically difficult, Western Tatras (fot. Adam Tulec)
The first kilometers are a long ascent through the Chocholowska Valley. If the road to the hostel is not strewn with white powder, it’s a good idea to bring lightweight boots for this section. In the shelter it is worth taking a break for a warm meal. The best direction of the loop is the ascent of Grześ. Leaving the hostel, we head left on the trail marked in yellow. At the beginning, we go up the forest path, and after some time we come out on the exposed terrain. The approach to Grześ, as well as the further route, are not technically difficult. We seal to the south. Heading through Długi Upłaz in the direction of Rakoń. Short descents can be tackled on seals, or you can practice fast crossings and change the configuration of your equipment from approach to descent. In case of bad weather and strong wind, it is worth considering a change of plans right away, because staying on the exposed ridge, we are exposed to rapid hypothermia.
The winter variant before the ascent of Rakoń itself suggests descending to the valley. It is a gently sloping, wide slope. If conditions allow, you can, of course, find another convenient place. For more experienced skiers, I recommend ascending Volowiec and descending from the summit to the northwest. Heading down the valley looking out for poles, marking the trail. We enter the forest and after a few minutes we are not far from the hostel.
Kuźnice – Hala Gąsienicowa – Kasprowy Wierch
Kasprowy Wierch is in recent years even besieged by skydivers. It is where much of the skiing traffic is concentrated. In addition to the most popular variants around Goryczkowa Valley, however, it is worth exploring less crowded paths. One of them is the former ski slope leading from Kuźnice to Hala Gąsienicowa. Not a difficult one, although the altitude of more than 1000 meters will allow you to verify your preparation for the season.
Jakub Brzosko (skitourowezakopane.(pl) during one of the ski tours near Kasprowy Wierch
From Kuznice head towards Nosalowa Prze喚cz, taking the green trail immediately to the left, onto the parallel ski slope. At the pass, turn right and continue up the easy-to-navigate trail. We cross the Siklavic Gulch to turn right after a while. After a while of the approach we come to a connector with a hiking trail, from where it’s not far to Hala Gąsienicowa. We can rest in the shelter, have a bite to eat. To get to Kasprowy Wierch, after leaving the shelter we set off to the right. The trail marked in yellow leads under the cable car station. Cross the slope (exercising great caution) and walk toward the summit, having the chairs on the right side.
The best downhill option goes through Goryczkowa Valley to Kuźnice. After the effort, a beautiful and long descent down a well-maintained ski trail awaits us. The tour ends in Kuznice, certainly leaving you unsatisfied and encouraging further exploration of the Tatras.
First steps behind us. Slowly the winter mountain world, spiced with a pinch of skiing adventure, opens up before us. Let’s savor it slowly, without haste. Let our tours be an evolution, but not a revolution. After all, for safe and responsible movement in the mountains it is necessary to have the right background – knowledge, skills and experience. Let’s conquer them at our own pace, let’s not try to jump over the precipice, but rather slowly and persistently push ourselves towards higher peaks. Mountain familiarity, skiing technique, experience, willingness and ability to help and make mature decisions in the field – all of these make for a good skitourer.
We are currently witnessing a certain breakthrough. Times when ski tourism is moving from the status of a fad of a handful of lunatics to a mass movement. So let’s take the time to prepare ourselves in a multifaceted way to go into the field. Respect other people, because in the mountains we are on neutral territory. Let’s learn and respect the rules to preserve the mountains at least as we got them.