Czech ski resorts report turnaround in fortunes

Czech mountain resorts have been reporting record-breaking number of visitors. Although the winter season is still in full swing, it is already clear that it is going to be one of the most successful over the past decade, the daily e15 reported on Wednesday.

Photo: Jiří FremuthPhoto: Jiří Fremuth Heavy snowfall at the beginning of January followed by sunny but freezing weather has attracted unusually large numbers of skiers into Czech ski centres. Another factor behind the successful start of the season are investments from previous years.

“This is the best season we have seen since we opened the resort five years ago,” Radko Hartman, owner of a skiing centre in Orlické hory in the northeast of the country told the daily e15. At the moment, his slopes are covered with over one metre of snow and unless a major warm spell arrives, it is likely to stay in place until the end of April.

Vladimír Karlík, a co-owner of a ski centre in the Šumava mountains in the south of the country has also reported a record-breaking season. Figures for January make it one of the best seasons in the centre’s history, he told the daily.

One of the country’s largest skiing centres, Černá Hora –Pec in the Giant Mountains, recorded an increase of visitors by one third compared to the previous year. At the moment, there is around 170 centimetres of snow.

Investments in ski-schools and children’s parks are also among the reasons behind the increase of visitors, the centre’s spokeswoman, Zina Plchová, told the daily e15.

A record number of skiers have also hit the slopes in central Bohemian Monínec. The ski resort last year invested more than 50 million in a special snow cannon that can produce snow even in temperatures above zero. The owners are hoping that this year’s winter season will recoup their investments.

While in 2015, Czech ski resort invested over one billion crowns in modernization, this year’s investments were considerably lower due to several weak winters.

According to a survey carried out by the GfK agency for the Czech Tourism agency, around 2.5 million Czechs plan to visit the mountains in the winter season, which is around one fourth of the country’s population.

People between the ages of 18 and 25 from bigger cities with secondary or university education are among the most frequent visitors to Czech mountains.