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The best ski resorts and recommendations for the ski season

Skiing in Romania

Vârtop
With almost 200 ski slopes concentrated in several mountain resorts, with only a few complex ski resorts, Romania is constantly recommended as a destination for a successful ski holiday. On the other hand, Romania is considered one of the most underrated ski destinations in Europe. Among the pluses of the ski areas in the country are the beautiful landscapes that open at the top of the slopes, the possibility of connecting with nature even on more crowded slopes, the reasonable prices compared to other ski destinations (especially France or Austria), or the possibility to combine a day of skiing with one of visiting the surroundings.

Skiing in Romania - past & present

The main reason why Poiana Brașov or the resorts along Prahova Valley - especially Sinaia and Predeal - are permanently listed among the best-developed ski areas in Romania, with the best slopes in the country in terms of infrastructure and services is the tradition of this sport in these ski areas. The same mountain resorts boast the highest tourist intake in the ski season.

The skiing tradition in Romania has developed almost simultaneously with the European one. This sport was brought to Transylvania after its introduction in the Alps, at the end of the 19th century. At the same time, the first ideas for popularizing skiing came from two directions: the Transylvanian Alpine Club (founded in 1873, Brașov), and the Transylvanian Carpathian Society for Tourists (SKV, 1880, Sibiu), respectively.

The development of skiing in an organized setting, separate from these associations of winter sports enthusiasts, led to the establishment of the Brașov Ski Association (1905). Gradually, skiing in Romania was perfected and popularized simultaneously with other European countries, benefiting from the support of members of the Romanian Royal Family, avid skiers. The encouragement of competitional skiing started in Brașov and Râșnov (simultaneously with the growth of Poiana Brașov resort ), on the one hand, and in the mountain resorts on Prahova Valley, Sinaia, and Predeal, on the other. The proximity of the royal winter residence, as well as the geographical location of the resorts, favored this line of progression.

King Michael I skiing
Photo: Arhivele Naționale ale României, CC BY-SA, Flickr

With the popularization of skiing, local councils started investing in creating slopescompetition facilities (trampolines for ski jumping), building ski huts, or organizing competitions. The first ski competitions took place in Predeal, then in Poiana Brașov. The first chalets for skiers were Höhenheim in Poiana Brașov (Ruia Hotel, today), respectively Prejba chalet in Lotrului Mountains, both built by SKV.

Hotel Ruia 3*** - Winter in Poiana Brasov
Video: Hotel Ruia

The most beautiful ski resorts in Romania

Skiing was and remains a relatively expensive sport, so it developed from the beginning in several directions, depending on the practitioners. Recreational skiing was for wealthy families. Competition, alpine and professional skiing was practiced by cabin owners (mandatory), by the military, or by extremely passionate skiers. The latter were also the best skiers in the early twentieth century. Over time, ski lessons and access to the slopes in Romania have become accessible to a wider category of tourists, from several areas of the country.

The country's ski and snowboard infrastructure is not as advanced as in other European countries, but it is generally considered to be growing, safe, with acceptable services and prices. In addition, the areas with ski slopes in Romania are full in season, especially on weekends and during winter school holidays. The ski season regularly lasts four months (December-March), although even in May you can find perfect valleys (Mălăiești, Bâlea Lac ) for freeride skiing or alpine skiing.

The ski slopes in Romania are, for the most part, of an intermediate or beginner level. Generous ski areas must have at least a high difficulty slope, even if not as long as skiers would like.

Taking into account the preferences of Romanians, but also according to the model of Western ski resorts, the resorts with ski facilities tend to be small ski parks, where tourists find absolutely everything they need to spend a whole day on the slope, without going back and forth to their accommodation place. Thus, most of the slopes offer ski lifts (including for beginners), cable car, or even gondola, and all have snow cannons to allow for fun ski vacations in drier seasons. Equipment rental facilities or chalets located close to the slopes are also included.

Details that can make the difference in choosing the ski area would be the possibility of night skiing, the presence of a ski school/courses for beginners at the base of the slope, or an apres-ski. In general, the most touristy slopes are also the most modern and with more facilities.

Another difference is the all-season mountain resorts. Poiana Brașov or Rânca, for example, are extremely crowded during the ski season, and very relaxed the rest of the year. The resorts which are also used as a hiking base - such as those from Prahova Valley, Păltiniș, Borșa or Durău - welcome tourists all year long. On the other hand, the resorts with mineral springs located on the inner side of the Carpathians offer a special category of services in the spring-autumn period, which also include mineral water cures, relaxation cures, or wellness packages.

In order to keep the tourists entertained and in place for as long as possible, many ski holiday packages in Romania have diversified. Both Romanian and foreign tourists often prefer the combination of ski & adventure recommendations, with convenient accommodation facilities, with packages or plans for visiting tourist attractionstraditional meals, and spa services.

Ski touring in Romania? Yes please!

Mountain lovers will not refuse an invitation to see the mountain tops in just about any season. Those who also ski have the advantage of being able to cross the wide and smooth mountain ridges on skis in winter. With the appropriate equipment, almost any mountain range in Romania is an opportunity for ski touring - from Rodnei to Țarcu-Godeanu, passing through Bucovina Mountains, Calimani, Suhard, Cindrel, Lotru, Șurianu, the Bucegi Plateau, Baiului, Ciucaș, Iezer- Papusa, etc. Whether just for one day or for an entire weekend, skiing in the mountains is nothing like winter hiking - say skiers and amateurs of this sport. We can only wish them the perfect snow!
Ski touring in Ciucas Mountains
Video: TheBikePoint Romania
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