The winter season will be without restrictions. Mountain resorts are looking forward to visitors

The winter season will be without restrictions. Mountain resorts are looking forward to visitors

HomeThe winter season will be without restrictions. Mountain resorts are looking forward to visitors
Czech mountain resorts are already preparing for the first winter visitors, for whom they are preparing various novelties so that they could enjoy their stay in the mountains as much as possible. This year, they are going to invest almost three quarters of a billion crowns in energy-saving technologies and modernization of services. Skiers do not have to worry about major limitations on the slopes, ski centres are planning to offer services to the greatest extent possible even in this extraordinary winter. The inevitable increase in ski passes prices will be well below the inflation rate.
The summer season was influenced by the sea and the weather
This year's summer season registered a drop in visitors by an average of 15% compared to last year. This was mainly due to the releasing travels for foreign vacations, for which there was enormous interest after two years of pandemic restrictions. In addition, the bad weather in August and September did not help visiting mountains.

"Visitors are often attracted to mountains by the attractions, where they can entertain themselves and their children. Various bike parks, tree top walks and children's playgrounds are popular. Sky Bridge 721 in Dolní Morava, which opened in spring, received a lot of visitors," says President of the Association of Mountain Resorts (AHS), Kateřina Neumannová.

Mountain resorts are preparing for winter
Ski centres are already preparing for the upcoming winter season. New gastronomic establishments, activities for children and new downhill routes are awaiting skiers. According to the current public opinion survey* for AHS, up to 81% of those who go on mountains in winter are going to the Czech mountains this winter, most often for multi-day stays (76%), with long weekends (41%) being the leader.

Despite the fact that the oncoming winter season will begin on the background of high energy prices, the ski centers are not planning a significant reduction of services. On the contrary, the vast majority of them want to offer visitors skiing in an unchanged range. "It goes without saying that a healthy and sustainable lifestyle of every individual includes movement and sports. People of all age groups should take advantage of every opportunity – from walking, running to cycling or skiing. If we invest time and energy in movement, especially for children, in the long term we will save a lot of money, which we would then have to spend on the healthcare system," says Miroslav Petr, Dean of the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport of the UK and Chairman of the Association of Deans of Physical Education Faculties of the Czech Republic.

Staying in the fresh air, in addition connected with sports, is important not only for increasing physical resistance, but also for mental well-being. "I cannot give out a better recommendation than what Voskovec and Werich gave in Těžká Barbora eighty-five years ago through František Filipovský: 'Those who row, fish, lalala in spring and ice skate in September and ski in December are the best cheerleaders.' A stay in the fresh air is the best thing a person can do for their health and well-being. Today he has much better conditions for that than in the days of V+W and he should use them while they are here. I wish the young generation, in particular, less electronics and more exercise," adds psychiatrist Radkin Honzák.

The survey showed that even in the case of reduced services, only 5% of those planning to go to the mountains would not take a winter vacation. "Other services are connected to the ski centres, such as accommodation, rental offices, restaurants, which are important for the livelihood of local people in mountain resorts, which are mainly in border areas," says Deputy Mayor of Vítkovice in Krkonoše, Milan Rychtr. Up to 45,000 people are employed in the tourist industry in mountain municipalities. In addition, according to the multiplier model, for every crown spent in the ski centre, an additional 7 CZK will be added in subsequent services in the mountain resort.

Interested people can find current information about Czech mountains on the portal, where, in addition to the amount of snow and kilometres of groomed ski slopes, they can also watch web cameras from mountain resorts.

News and continuously updated tips for trips and winter stays are also available on one of the biggest tourist portals, It is run by the CzechTourism agency and you can find out, among other things, which is the longest ski slope in the Czech Republic. Did you guess the ski resort Klínovec? Correct! It has been created there this year by modifying and expanding the detourable routes of the Jáchymovská slope and measures a respectable 3,400 m.

Investments go into modernization and sustainability
This year as well, ski resorts are investing more than CZK 700 million in improving services and technologies, primarily with regard to environmental sustainability. Compounds are buying new snow cats and increasingly using proven SNOWsat technology. With the help of satellite images and GPS, it shows how much snow lies where, which enables much more efficient management of natural and technical snow. More and more ski centres are gradually implementing it.

The largest investments include the construction of water storage tanks, which are an important path to ecologically sustainable solutions. Although they are common abroad, in the Czech Republic there is a negative attitude towards them in some areas, and the approval of their construction is being slowed down or stopped altogether. Although, they help to retain water in nature and also to cool it down. Their benefit is not only to capture natural precipitation for snowmaking, but also as a source of water in the event of firefighting in inaccessible mountain terrain or as a source of utility water in the dry season.

Ski centres are also investing in the digitization of their systems, especially in the area of online sales of ski passes or equipment reservations in rental services. Self-service ticket offices are also expanding, where visitors can purchase ski passes or activate those bought online.

"We are glad that visitors are noticing the news and improvement of services in mountain areas. This was also confirmed by a survey in which 59% of those who are going to the mountains this year perceive an improvement," adds AHS Director Libor Knot.

Cheaper ski passes online
As in the past, ski centres continue the trend of selling ski passes online. Their prices are lower when purchased in advance, and skiers can thus save up to 20%, sometimes even up to 30%. “More Czech ski resorts are starting to  use the so-called floating ski pass prices. Not only does early shopping from home save time and money for visitors, but operators can better regulate the number of skiers on the slopes," says Libor Knot.

"This year, among other things, for the first time in history, an integrated ski pass for Beskydy and Valašsko was created, allowing convenient skiing and getting to know the area simultaneously. It involves seven top compounds. And for example, adults who use it will be able to ski for 2,240 CZK on any four days and nights, which don’t have to be consecutive. In addition, all 100 advantageous services within the Beskydy Valašsko Card await them," says Jan Herget, Director of the Czech Tourism Authority – CzechTourism and adds: "It’s a way to increase the number of visitors of the location and to motivate people to stay in the area longer and want to come back. And it's also a logical, and I believe functional, response to concerns about what will the current socio-economic situation do to this winter's tourist season, especially energy prices."

Due to higher energy prices and other inputs, this year skiers will pay an average of 10-15% more at the 30 largest resorts. "Operators of ski resorts must reflect the higher expenses this atypical situation brings into their prices. However, they realize that they cannot include them in the ski passes in full. After taking into account the additional hundreds of ski areas, the price increase for the entire Czech Republic will be even significantly lower and will thus be well below the inflation level," adds Libor Knot.

Czechs support mountain tourism
According to the current survey, almost 78% of respondents agree that it is important to support Czech regions by spending money on vacations in Czechia. Respondents reacted similarly in a public opinion survey** in 2019. "As the survey showed, the Czechs retain their favour even after difficult winter seasons and believe that the ski centres and related services will do everything to ensure that the season takes place at the level they are used to. We can already promise on behalf of the mountain resorts that we will do everything to meet their expectations," concludes Kateřina Neumannová.