Winter vacation in Carpathians

 If there was no winter…

Winter recreation in the mountains is appreciated by people who are passionate about skiing and snowboarding. However, the mountains can offer much more kinds of winter entertainment. So what can you do in winter in the Carpathian Mountains? The charming beauty of the winter Carpathian Mountains can be enjoyed by everyone. Here are a few ideas on what to do if you’re not a fan of skiing.

The ropeways

The ropeways are a great way to spend time. From the height of the lift you can enjoy the amazing views of winter Carpathians. Numerous ropeways offer their services wherever there are skiers. In Ukrainian Carpathians there are a lot of them. Some people can go up for almost an hour. So there is more than enough time to look around. You can use a ropeway in Volosyanka, Slavskoye, Izky, Vorokhta, Pylypets and other resorts. Typically, the lifts are double, and at the final station there is a cafe where you can warm up and get ready for going downhill.

Winter bike

Snowbike combines maximum extreme with maximum security. It is a mountain winter bike which has small ski instead of wheels; it was invented to move in the snow. It is suitable for going down from almost any slopes. It is sustainable and easy to drive. The teaching method is based on human reflexes. This allows the bike driver to learn quickly how to drive it. Riding a snowbike is easier than snowboarding or skiing. But this winter gadget is not available everywhere yet, only some of the resorts offer such kind of entertainment with availability of hire. Otherwise, you can buy your own bike or search for it at the rental store before leaving for the mountains, and then you can go on snow-covered slopes.

Toboggan sledges

Sledge train is a classic winter activity, but, like all good things – it is never boring! You can find an offer for a sledge ride not everywhere, but some ski resorts still offer such entertainment. Their design is almost always exciting. Tightly wrapped in warm blankets, holiday-makers drive in comfortable sledges. The atmosphere is complemented with light of the torch in the evening. The tour usually ends with a bonfire and roasting sausages. Slopes for sledding trains are chosen very carefully, they are navigated through beautiful Carpathian valleys. There are firms in the Carpathians specializing on organization of such events; some of them offer to ride even in dog sledges.

Snow tubing

Another form of entertainment for those who don’t like skiing but don’t mind to have a ride. This is a radically different kind of riding. Roughly speaking, the tubing is just riding on the rubber circles (like tires) on a specially designated path. The best tracks are located near major ski centers. The attraction is very popular among people of all ages.  Such kind of action can be offered even to a three-year-old. Depending on snow cover and friction forces, a snow tube can gain quite high speed. In addition, it is completely incontrollable, so you must ride on designated roads and follow safety rules.

Mountain climbing

The charm and beauty of the Carpathians surprises not only Ukrainians, but also foreigners who visit them more often. These mountains perfect for all sorts of mountain tourism. The Carpathians are also popular mountains for climbing. Why? First of all, they are formed in such a way that it is very easy to move around, although you can also find difficult climbing tracks that require good physical shape. The youngest and most inexperienced fans of climbing should cope with obstacles on the gentler slopes, so many clubs that train people in this discipline develop tracks exactly in these mountains. In addition, Carpathian Mountains are relatively low, so achieving the goal won’t take much time. Ukrainian mountains also have a very reasonable pricing policy in comparison with foreign resorts. To do mountaineering, you don’t need to pay extra. The network of tourist facilities and hotels which provide tourists with accommodation and food, is well-developed, which is also an advantage. You don’t need any special permission or membership in the climbing club to explore the Ukrainian mountains. However, in such clubs you can find like-minded people and share your experience with other climbers. The disadvantages of the Carpathians include variable weather and frequent rockfalls. In addition, a peculiar feature of the Carpathians is the herbs growing on the slopes. They are also very unstable and can constitute a danger.

When it comes to mountaineering in the Carpathians, these are, first of all, Dovbush Rocks, Yamelnytsia, Tsapovi rocks in Tserkovnya and Hawkeye (Sokolyne Oko) in Pratyaty rocks near Nimchych mountain pass. In each of these places you will have all the equipment and an opportunity to learn how to climb rocks. Experienced instructors will help you learn the basics of climbing in a couple of hours. Often you can enjoy climbing as a part of different tours. There are combined, one-day tours and even weekend tours. A good option for mountain climbing is also White Stone in Yaremcha district. But getting there is a bit problematic because there are no touristic trails.

Snowmobiles

Snow scooters are another option of exciting experience for fans of adrenaline. Expeditions usually begin with training, explanation of ride principles and a lesson of snowmobile ride. Resorts offering snowmobile rides usually give visitors professional clothing – overalls, boots, helmet, gloves and other things needed to make each participant feel comfortable and cozy. During each tour the group is accompanied by an experienced instructor who orientates himself in the snowy Carpathian tracks. His task is to help the participants in the fight against snow drifts and conduct everyone safely from the starting place to the returning one.

Cycling

Most cyclists, frankly speaking, plan their trips in winter less ambitiously than in the warm season, planning rides across the plains, or even leaving the bike in the garage to gather dust. It absolutely shouldn’t be like that. Competent logistics are half the battle during a winter drive along the Carpathians. During the period when there is a meter or more of snow in the mountains, it is worth to focus on the tracks that are so popular among hikers, skiers scooter lovers that there is compacted pavement instead of fluffy snow. As a rule, the movement of winter tourism is focused in the neighborhood of ski resorts, and in addition, the owners should take the equipment to them; therefore, you can expect for a road cleaned off from the snow. Not the last role is played also by the actual weather — temperature below zero is more favourable to cycling than zero: it is much easier to ride on a solid frozen track than on a soft snow mass, and it is easier to protect yourselves from the cold than from humidity. Winter cycling in the mountains is a fantastic joy.

Walking on snowshoes

Everyone can walk on snow-rackets. This process requires little learning. Due to the fact that when you use snow shoes the body weight is distributed over the entire surface of the rocket, you can walk even in the deepest snow, without fear to plunge into it with your head. While planning your first expeditions on the rockets, you should make use of an instructor’s assistance who will advise you which tracks are the best to choose and guide you through the most interesting places. Rockets, as well as other accessories for the winter vacation, always can be rented.

Recreation in thermal pools

Thermal pools that were famous, popular and often visited in ancient Rome, have returned their former glory to themselves. And although their primary function has changed, modern thermal baths are becoming increasingly popular. This is not surprising – bathing in hot spring water is a balm for the soul and body. The Carpathians are also famous for thermal waters. Most of them are concentrated in Transcarpathian region, where you can visit unique saunas in addition to the geothermal pools. The healing qualities of thermal springs are undeniable. Bathing in such warm pool has a relaxing effect and also causes vasodilation and improves blood supply of the internals. After such kind of treatment, the person feels relaxed and fresh. Apart from that, most of the Transcarpathian resorts additionally offer all kinds of water treatments, e.g. water massage, pearl baths, water aerobics or underwater massage. Their task is to enhance the effectiveness of treatment. So you should ask what pool are you going to deal with before your departure. For example, a ferrous-carbonate one helps in the treatment of digestive, respiratory systems and metabolic disturbances. In turn, a spring rich in sulphur and magnesium improves blood circulation. For people with rheumatism and injuries, bathing in water rich in iron and calcium is especially recommended. The majority of thermal spas are well-developed and can offer a separate program for the children.

Bath-tub

It is possible to «boil» In these cast-iron cauldron throughout the year. Of course, the water in the Carpathian Jacuzzi is not boiling hot, but heated to 40-45 degrees. However, the fire under the cauldron is real, and river stones are put at the bottom in order not to get burned. Water can be different: mineral for general strengthening of the body; hydrogen sulfide for prevention of rheumatism and diseases of the joints, or with a decoction of medicinal herbs for relaxation and calming the nervous system. The cauldrons can be just for two or can contain a cheerful company consisting of up to 12 people. You can warm yourself in a tub in Lumshory, Slavske, Osmoloda, Sheshory, Volovets and other ski resorts.

Hiking

Many people close their tourist season in Carpathians with the arrival of first snow. This is because the mountains are more dangerous in winter than in summer. However, if you are observing certain security measures, it can significantly reduce risk so you’ll enjoy a walk through the snowy Carpathians. First of all, monitor the weather before your journey. The threat of avalanches, fog or precipitation are a reason to postpone the walk for another day. Proper clothing, first aid kit, a working phone – the fundamental truths of any outing. It would be best to plan your travel route in the places where you have been in the summer. And, equally important, the duration of your journey should be reduced enough to get back to the safe warm place before nightfall.

The key to successful holidays in winter Carpathians should be common sense and your preferences. Don’t follow trends or let yourself be tempted by experienced marketers. If you are afraid of heights, you won’t be entertained with a ropeway ride, and you won’t enjoy the thermal pool if you are a supporter of a cold shower. Choose the type of recreation that will bring you pleasure. Then you’ll have a desire to return to this wonderful region again