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On the cover
Ļ7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope

28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidanís three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countryís stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.


Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard Ė and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.


Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.


Ukraine Travel

Getting to Know Ukraineís Ski Resorts

Ukrainians tend to look to their neighbours like Poland or Slovakia for skiing, or, if they can afford to, they gaze as far away as the Alps or the Rockies. Why? Simple: those places have more well-developed resorts (while the Rockies, up there on the high-altitude middle of the American continent, simply have more and drier snow). But in the last few years domestic winter tourism has been on the rise in Ukraine, and resorts in the country have been rushing to meet the demand.

If youíve never visited these lovely venues in the Carpathians, or even if youíve been away awhile, they might be worth checking out. A number of the resorts have added modern equipment and offer access to a full range of winter sports activities, and some of the apres ski options are first rate. You can kick back with mulled wine in the Alps or a fine microbrew in Colorado, but where else can you chow on some Hutsul cuisine in a cosy wooden kolyba, then top off the evening with horylka?

Drahobrat is a decent option, and sitting up at a lofty 1,400 metres itís the highest-altitude resort in all the Carpathians. Its peaks, Stih at 1,704 metres and Wizhnytsia at 1,883 metres, draw those Ukrainians with a mind for serious downhilling. The altitude keeps the place open longer than the others too: you can ski here through April and sometimes even into May. There are eight runs covering a variety of difficulties, ranging from 1,200 metres in length to 2,000. Thereís even a less-used run of 3,000 metres, which you can coast down before being taken back to the top on a snowcat. If youíre just starting out, thereís a short 300-metre hill, with instructors ready to help you get your snow legs and start racing down the big runs. At the bottom of the mountain, Drahobratís facilities include a sauna, a number of pubs, cafes and restaurants, a tubing hill, a billiard room, table football and hockey, a ski school, rental centres and bunch of other amenities. A hotel or cottage is only around 150 hrv per day (around 250 hrv during Christmas) and Drahobrat is also rarely crowded, so itís a great spot if you like to have some space when youíre cruising down the slopes.

Tysovets is a former military base and now itís one of the more popular ski resorts in Ukraine. Itís right around 1,000 metres above sea level and 142 kilometres from Lviv. There are only three main runs (of 800, 600, and 650 metres) and each is served by a single lift: you take it up to the top, then pick the run youíd like and zoom down. The single lift can be a problem. If itís a holiday and the place is busy, you could end up waiting a half hour to get on. Whatís more, the lift in Tysovets is slow compared to other locations, and you break a serious sweat holding on as youíre dragged up the slippery and steep lift lane. But itís no big deal, as you only paid 60-80 hrv for your lift ticket, which isnít so much for a chance to spend the day perfecting your skiing ability. If youíre a beginner, you can also use the 500-metre run off to the side, which leads down to the hotel and cottages. The small run is also lighted, and you use it until 9 p.m. Thereís also reasonable equipment available for rent here, separate trails for racing, a tubing slope and of course a couple of pubs.

The largest and most modern ski resort in Ukraine is Bukovel, located in the heart of the Carpathians not far from the village of Polyanycya in Yaremcha region. At a height of 900 metres, the resort offers views of stunning scenery, a rich cultural heritage and a chance to get acquainted with the highlander culture for which that part of the country is known. The place is working on a bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, so the equipment is of the highest quality. In fact, you could be forgiven for thinking youíre in Europe: thereís tons of runs (some of which are lit at night) of all levels of difficulty, snowmobiles for rent, luxury hotels and chateaux, nightclubs, pubs, restaurants, saunas, fitness centres and even a place to play paintball. Thereís a lift for every run (for a total of 14), and the longest slope is 2,000 metres long. Half the lifts are chairlifts, which is a rare thing at resorts in Ukraine. But since everything is so modern and of such high quality, youíre liable to spend a fortune during your stay. A daily lift ticket will set you back around 200 hrv (more during the Christmas season), and a hotel room or a cottage can cost anywhere from 600 to 2000 hrv a day. In the end, you get Western quality for Western prices.

Slavskeís not far from Tysovets and is only 120 kilometres from Lviv, which means itís pretty popular and often crowded all winter long. The popularityís due also to the variety of runs it offers. The consensus is that Trostyan Mountain is the most popular peak at Slavske, and it has five trails ranging from 1,000 metres to 1,500 metres. The lifts cost about 5 hrv per ride. Nice little pubs are nestled right at the base of the runs, so you can take a quick break and enjoy a pint between trips up and down the mountain, or even while you wait in the lift line. After Trostyan, there are a few other mountains, including Pohar, Menchul, Warsaw and Zhakhar Berkut, the last of which has two runs of around 700-800 metres in length. Politekh Mountain is the best option for newbies to skiing and snowboarding. The place is developing fast: each winter seems to see a new hotel or pub or cottage, plus rental facilities. Itís relatively cheap too, so it might not be a bad place to spend some of your Ukrainian holidays.

Ukraineís ski resorts arenít limited to the Carpathians. Thereís a few in Crimea too, though you may associate only sunshine and beaches with that part of the country. Its snowy peaks have become an increasingly popular destination for the countryís snow-loving types. At Ai-Petri, the set-up is pretty basic, but there are wide varieties of runs and lifts, as well as places to rent equipment and hire out an instructor should you need one. You can get accommodation in so-called Ďsovokí style apartments, which house from three to 12 people. One of the reasons Ai-Petri hasnít completely modernised is its location: itís situated on a national reserve, which makes building kind of dicey. Winter sports are technically not even legal on the territory, but the managers have been pushing hard to get some sort of recognition from the government and expand their facilities. If and when that happens, thereíll probably be a vast improvement in equipment and lodgings.

Slopes in Kyiv
You donít have to hop on a train if you want to get some skiing in. Thereíre a couple of places for winter sports right here in Kyiv. At 23a Protasiv Yar, the city has its own little two-run resort complete with lifts, one of 300 metres and one of 500. Thereís even a halfpipe for the serious tricksters out there, and of course equipment rental and ski instructors. There are also 300-metre ski runs with lifts in Vyshgorod and in Kyivís Holosiivsky Park.

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnít Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Univer≠sal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they donít understand the meaning of these words.

    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street Ė the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades Ė childrenís favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whatís On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.


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