Ski touring in the Tatra mountains
The Tatra Mountains are a must-go for any ski or snowboard travel enthusiast. The Western Tatras and the Low Tatras have lower elevations and gentle slopes; instead, the High Tatras (Wysokie Tatry) feature rugged mountains, steep sides, and peaks well over 2000m. On the border between Poland and Slovakia, these reliefs offer challenging tours, often in the wild, often with abundant snow cover already from December, and magnificent descents in powder snow until the end of March on the north-facing slopes.
Despite the low altitudes, it is possible to exceed 1500 m vertical in a day, combining several peaks or making crossings through the cols on the different sides.
The itineraries to choose are almost infinite; based on the wishes of the team, it is possible to favor easy traverses, or longer and more demanding tours with climbing passages; moreover, there are many couloirs embedded in the rocks, almost of dolomitic type, for lovers of the steep.
Both on the Polish and Slovakian side of the High Tatras there are a fair number of ski lifts, indeed never too intrusive; they may be useful in part for approaches in longer itineraries.
Normally we reach the destination with flights to Krakow (Poland) or Kosice (Slovakia), then we continue with rental cars that we also use for local transfers; alternatively, it is also possible to take the long journey by car from the nearby countries.
Overnight stays can be organized in the huts (rather comfortable, especially on the Polish side), in case of a traverse of several days, or, if you prefer daily tours, there is a choice of hotels and guesthouse in the villages (Zakopane in Poland; Strbske Pleso, Stary Smokovec in Slovakia).
*** ON REQUEST: Raid of the High Tatras ***
For experienced and determined skiers and mountaineers we can organize, upon request, the challenging full traverse of the High Tatras, in 5 days, from hut to hut.
Arrival with flights to Krakow (Poland) or Kosice (Slovakia). Pick up of the rental vehicle and transfer to Zakopane.
On the Polish side of the High Tatras there are at least three areas that are definitely worth visiting, all with the possibility of staying overnight in a refuge. The major peaks, between 2000 and 2500 m elevation, are often reached by passing partly on the Slovakian side.
On the west, the Chocolowska valley offers at least a dozen interesting itineraries, the best being the Starobociansky Wierch 2175 m and the Bystra 2248 m.
From Kiry, several valleys allow you to climb into the woods and reach the areas of the Kalatowky and Murowaniec huts, with many possibilities for beautiful peaks (including Krzesanica 2122 m and Swinica 2302 m) and even challenging descents on the north-facing slopes.
Our third favorite area, further east, is that of Piec Jezior (5 Lakes), with access by chairlift, offering a succession of magnificent descents and ascents, some peaks and cols over 2000 m, and possible overnight stay at Morskie Oko refuge. Here we may climb the Rysy peak 2499 m (highest elevation in Poland).
With a short road transfer from Zakopane, we pass on the southern side of the High Tatras, in Slovakia. Here we plan again to stay overnight in the valley, given the lower availability of huts, compared to the Polish side, and the possibility of using ski lifts to gain altitude.
On the first day we suggest to use the chairlift that starts from Tatranska Lamnica, to aim at one or more of the peaks at altitudes of 2300 – 2400m.
Then, among the infinite possible choices, we may suggest: the wide slope above Tatranska Polianka, where the Slavkovsy Stit 2452 m is not to be missed; the Hrebienok amphitheater (approach by cable car) which offers complete tours including the Baranye Rohy 2526 m; and f the couloir of Priecne Sedlo starting from the Robbers refuge (for lovers of steep skiing).
Transfer to Krakow or Kosice, return of the vehicle and boarding for the return flight.
The snow conditions (often very variable on the different sides) and the choice of the hut where to stay overnight, can suggest other and different itineraries, to be defined on site. If one so wishes, it is possible to completely avoid all lifts.
OPTIONS, variants and extensions
-> Program entirely on the northern sector of the High Tatras (Poland) or southern (Slovakia).
-> Raid of the High Tatras (5 days), full traverse from west to east, with overnight stays in the huts (this is a demanding raid; the huts must be booked well in advance).
-> Extension of 1 or more days, also in other areas (Low Tatras – Dumbier, Western Tatras).
-> Thermal baths, visit to the Poprad Aqua Park, sightseeing tour to the city of Krakow.
-> CONSULT US
for a personalized program, or other ski mountaineering trips in Balkan Europe:
Romania, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia.
Trip dates, Duration, Departure
The period of time given in the trip description sheet is indicatively the most recommended for optimun conditions for the planned activities. Different periods are possible, especially during season with special climate situations. Duration is referred to the “standard” programme as per description sheet, however it could change according to the local conditions and/or the team’s requirements. If the trip is included in the Scheduled Trips list (yearly planner), the departure date is the one given in the planner; otherwise it will be decided according to the requests we have received. In any case we suggest to contact us for more precise information. In customized trips, departure date and duration are established according to customer’s request
By means of the scores given in the trip decsription sheet we wish to provide an indicative assessment of the challenges to be expected, divided in the following three categories:
Grade 1: adult performing a minimum sport activity (4-8 hours/week), or teenager in medium fitness conditions
Grade 2: adult performing sport activity (8-16 hours/week) or teenager in good fitness conditions
Grade 3: adult performing regular sport activity (16-20 hours/week) or teenager in very good fitness conditions
Grade 4: adult only, regularly performing sport activity and intense training (more than 20 hours/week)
Grade1: no prior experience in the activity is required, just a natural predisposition
Grade 2: prior experience in the activity as beginner to medium level
Grade 3: prior experience in the activity at medium to high level, with regular practice since min. 3-5 years
Grade 4: excellent technical skills with long experience in the activity (more than 5 years)
Grade 1: no prior experience in adventure travel id required, just a positive attitude to adapt
Grade 2: prior, yet limited, experience in adventure travel, with a strong attitude to adapt and determination
Grade 3: prior experience in adventure travel including remote area and wilderness, or extreme wheather, or uncertainty in route finding
Grade 4: prior experience in adventure travel including remote area and wilderness, or extreme wheather, or uncertainty in route finding, strong determination to overcome unforeseen events
The type of accomodation as planned is indicated in the trip sheet (hotel, lodge, tents, etc..).
The means of local transfers are indicated as planned (flight, bus, 4WD vehicle, ferry, etc.). Some changes are possible in relation to the actual availability on site and/or the terrain and wheather conditions.
Service included and Prices
We do not have a price list. Quotes are sent on request only. Details of services included, excluded, or optionally available, will be specified in the quote and confirmed at the time of booking. Prices depend on number of participants and on the specific requirements of the group. They will be definitely set at the time of booking after definiton of all trip details and confirmation of dates. Special prices can be granted according to number of participants, and/or for pre-established groups, clubs and associations, guides with own clients, active athletes, tour operators and travel agents, journalists, physicians, rescue operators, schools, staff of organization running an humanitarian or research project.