Not the Usual Czech Winter Sports

 

By Erin Naillon

Most people know that the Czechs perform a mean game of ice hockey. Winter sports, in general, are wildly popular in this country; it is commonplace, in the cold months, to see fellow commuters lugging skis and travel bags of a Friday morning, eager to hit the slopes as soon as possible after work.

The Czech mountains offer a wide array of winter sports. This article deals with those that are not as well known, though very popular – and easier for amateurs to handle.

Dresden Tours from Prague

Skibobbing

Skibobbing looks like a rather new sport, but in reality, it dates back to the 1940s (though in 1892, an American named J. Stevens received a patent for his “Ice Velocipede”). Two Europeans resurrected the idea, popularized it, and watched as it took off. Beatles fans may recall seeing members of the group using skibobs in the movie Help! The sport is popular here; all mountain areas allow skibobbing, and skibobs are available to rent at most ski centers. The Czech Republic, as a matter of fact, has even issued a postage stamp with a skibob on it.

Snowmobiling

This sport, so popular in North America, has yet to really catch on in the Czech Republic. For the most part, snowmobiles are used by those who need them for professional use – rescue, law enforcement, etc. There aren’t many snowmobiling trails in existence. However, snowmobiles are available to rent at the larger ski areas; the best area to take a ride is in the Krkonoše Mountains.

Snow Tubing

The ever-convenient innertube finds a use on snow as well as on water. These bouncy alternatives to sleds provide a thrilling downhill adventure in the mountains. Special tracks are available at the ski resorts of Špindlerův mlýn, LipnoBoží Dar and Novako. Zubří, not far from Nové Město, has a tubing track that is 350 meters long!

Snowshoeing

Rather than using snowshoes to just travel from one point to another when the ground is covered in snow, snowshoeing is now a sport. It provides the advantage of allowing the user to access areas that aren’t open to those on mechanized vehicles, or on skis. For newcomers to the sport, ski poles can be used to help prevent toppling into the snow. The Třemšín track, near Planiny, covers a distance of 8.84 miles (14.14 kilometers).

Bobsledding

Three ski resorts, Harrachov, Špindlerův Mlýn, and HEIpark Tošovice, have an attractive offer – bobsled tracks that are open all year! Relaxpark Pec pod Sněžkou offers a track that, in places, reaches a rather dizzy above-ground height.

Sleigh Rides

Chateau Krasná Lípa offers sleigh rides to its guests; Špindlerův Mlýn is another location where one can find this “sport” available to visitors.

Dogsledding

A dogsledding race known as Šediváčkův Long has taken place in the Orlické Mountains since 1997. It takes place in the last week of January, and provides stiff competition for entrants from all over Europe. There are two trails, one 222 kilometers and the other, 333 kilomaters; the race takes four days to complete. The competition includes a program for children, as well as musical performances.

 

 

 


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