The largest ski resort in the area is Bukovel, located in the centre of the Carpathians at a height of 900 metres and not far from the village of Polyanycya, in the Yaremcha region. Stunning scenery, crystal-clear air, a rich historical heritage and the unique cultural traditions of the native highlanders always attract tourists to this resort. Bukovel is working hard towards a bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, and the facilities are already of a high standard. The resort has everything you would expect in a European win ter holiday destination including numerous runs (some floodlit) catering to all levels, snow-mobiles, luxury hotels and cottages, nightclubs, pubs, restaurants, saunas, fitness centres, and even paintball. There are around 14 runs, the longest of which is 2,000 metres long, and a corresponding 14 lifts. Among the latter are seven chairlifts, generally scarce in the Carpathians. Considering the quality of the facilities, however, you're apt to spend a fortune here. A daily lift ticket costs round 180 hrv (250 during the Christmas season), and staying in a hotel or cottage can vary from 500 to 1,800 hrv per day. Western quality, after all, carries Western prices.
Drahobrat is another good option, and at 1,400 metres above sea level it's the highest-altitude resort in the Carpathians. With peaks such as Stih (1,704 metres) and Wizhnytsia (1,883 metres), it's the top Ukrainian destination for downhill riders, and skiing is possible here right through late April and even early May. There are eight runs of all levels ranging from 1,200 metres to 2,000 metres. There's even the chance to ski down 3,000 metres of untrodden snow and then ride a snow-cat to the top again. If you're just starting out, there's a 300-metre slope for beginners. Spending a day or two there in the care of an experienced instructor will get you on your feet fast. Drahobrat's facilities include a sauna, a number of pubs, cafes and restaurants, tubing slopes, a billiard room, table football and hockey, a ski school, rental centres and much more. A hotel or a cottage will cost you around 130 hrv per day, and 100 hrv more during the Christmas period. Drahobrat rarely gets overcrowded, making it a great location for those who like a bit of space on the slopes.
Tysovets, once a military base, has lately turned into another popular ski resort. Sitting at 1,017 metres above sea level, 142 kilometres from Lviv, it offers three main runs of 800 metres, 650 metres and 600 metres, each served by a chairlift. When you get to the top you choose the run you prefer, then give it a go. You'll schuss down to a long queue near a lift at the bottom of each slope. If it's a holiday period and the ski resort is overcrowded, you might find yourself queuing for 30-40 minutes. The lifts in Tysovets are pretty slow compared to those at Slavsko and Pylypets, and if you're not fit enough to manage to stand on your feet on a steep, uneven and slippery lift run, you probably won't get to the top without breaking a serious sweat. But that's okay - you'll only have paid around 60 hrv for your all-day lift-ticket, which isn't much to spend all day on the slopes, mastering your skills. There's also a 500-metre run located a bit to the side of the chairlift, on the way to a hotel and cottages of the highest standards. This small run is a good one for beginners and hardy riders can use it until 9 p.m. or so, since it's lighted. There is decent equipment rental here, separate trails for racing, a tubing slope and a couple of pubs.
Slavske, located close to Tysovets and about 120 kilometres from Lviv, is another popular ski resort that tends to get overcrowded throughout the winter. The popularity's due to the number and variety of the runs it offers, and to how close it is to the train station. Trostyan Mountain, which seems the most popular of Slavske's peaks, has five trails ranging from 1,000 metres to 1,500 metres in length. Prices for lifts are from 2 to 4 hrv per ride. Nice kolyba tend to be located at the bottoms of the runs, so you can have a nice warm drink while waiting for your next ride up. Apart from Trostyan, there are a few other mountains, among them Pohar, Menchul, Warsaw and Zhakhar Berkut, the last of which has two runs of around 700-800 metres in length. Politekh Mountain is the easiest option for those who have just started skiing or snowboarding. The pace of development at Slavske, by the way, is just amazing. Every winter you'll find lots of new pubs, hotels, cottages, and rental facilities. In general, this is a good place to spend your holidays, considering both the service and price.
Ai-Petri in Crimea
Yes, Crimea offers more than the sea-coast and a relatively warm climate. It's also got spectacular snowy mountains and is becoming more and more popular among skiers and snowboarders in winter. The skiing set-up at Ai-Petri is fairly basic, but there are a number of lifts and runs, and you can rent equipment and hire an instructor. Accommodation is provided in the form of 'sovok' style apartments, which house from three to 12 people. The reason Ai-Petri is not yet up to snuff in terms of development is that it's located in a national reserve. Winter sports are actually technically illegal here, but the managers are pushing hard for recognition from the government, which will undoubtedly mean a drastic improvement in the services offered.
You don't have to head off to those far-flung destinations to give winter sports a try. There are ski and snowboarding facilities right here in the centre of Kyiv. Located at 23a Protasiv Yar, the city's own little resort offers two runs with lifts - one of 300 metres and one of 500 metres. There is a halfpipe for more experienced riders and equipment rental and instruction. There are also ski runs, with lifts, of 300 metres in length in Vyshgorod and in Kyiv's Holosiivsky Park.