Snowparks and Freestyle Skiing in Zakopane
Zakopane has always been perfectly suited to freestyle skiiers. There are so many easily accessible little hills which you can drive right up to, park up and start hiking the jumps and rails immediately without having to mission all the way up a mountain to get to the park. Even in the best resorts in the world like Whistler Blackcomb you have to take at least 30 minutes worth of chair or bubble lifts before you can get to the parks and let’s face it, sometimes you just want to be able to spend an hour playing around, practice, take some photos and video and then hit the hot tub! In Zakopane you can do just that with minimum in between time. There’s even an awesome terrain park on Gubalowka with brand new rails and boxes which you can get to at the bottom of the main street, Krupowki!
Photos: Above left, The 2009 Fiat Freestyle Big Air Competition which took place on Zakopane’s famouns Ski jump was an awesome event! Above right: One of our Pro Team takes to the skies of Zakopane in his usual style.
Freestyle skiing can be safe if the right rules and respect are applied when learning and practicing the discipline. Major points are:
- Always wear body armour AND a helmet
- Always warm up and stretch well before practicing
- Always start SMALL and easy and gradually build up to more challenging and bigger tricks, jumps and rails.
- Whenever trying something for the first time ensure that you get professional coaching and go through the correct teaching progression to ensure that you build up the necessary coordination BEFORE trying the full trick.
- Learn and respect “Park Etiquette” and the skiiers code (below)
For more information about Freestyle skiing we recommend visiting Wikipedia’s page on the topic. at: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freestyle_skiing
Photo Right: Zakopane and the surrounding hills have many small freestyle parks with rails, jumps funboxes and even wall rides. Body Armour is highly recommended if you’d like a long career in freestyle!
The FIS (International Ski Federation) has established ten rules for the conduct of skiers and snowboarders. They are to ensure safety on the slopes and are governed by law.
In short, they are:
Do not endanger others.
Adapt the manner and speed of your skiing to your ability and to the general conditions on the mountain.
Choice of route
The skier/snowboarder in front (furthest DOWNHILL) has priority – leave enough space.
Leave plenty of space when overtaking a slower skier/snowboarder.
Entering and starting
Look up and down the mountain each time before starting or entering a marked run.
Only stop at the edge of the slopes or where you can easily be seen.
When climbing up or down, always keep to the side of the slopes.
Obey all signs and markings – they are there for your safety.
In case of accidents provide help and alert the rescue service.
All those involved in an accident, including witnesses, should exchange names and addresses.
All the above rules are binding by law and apply to both skiers and snowboarders.
Important guidelines for skiers and snowboarders
- You ski/board at your own risk.
- Pay attention to all signs and markers.
- Please ski/board on marked runs – these are protected from unexpected alpine dangers.
- The areas outside the marked runs are called ‘off slopes’ and they are not patrolled or groomed.
- Watch out for slope preparation machines.
- Respect nature – take care not to ski in areas where young trees or wildlife will be disturbed and don’t drop litter.
- Consider taking lessons on a dry slope, and fitness sessions before going on holiday.
The above guidelines apply to all users of the marked slopes
Outside the marked slopes and itineraries are areas which are NOT protected from alpine dangers –
- Signs around the ski area will warn you when avalanche danger is present.
- Even when there is no warning of avalanches there could be local snow slides.
- Unless you know an area well, only ski/board on slopes with a guide.
IF IN DOUBT NEVER SKI AWAY FROM THE MARKED SKI RUNS.