Warsaw gets the cold weather fitting its location in the centre of Europe, which means snow in the winter. But it’s also in the middle of a flat plain, so when it does snow there are no big hillsides to go skiing, snowboarding or sledging down.
However, this is Warsaw and nothing is impossible. After the near destruction of the city in World War Two, bricks and rubble from the ruins were heaped into a corner of Ochota that became Park Szezęśliwice. This pile of debris – now Warsaws tallest “hill” at 138m high – was covered with earth in the 1970s and houses a year-round ski slope.
During the summer a synthetic surface mimics the effects of a snow covered piste, while in the winter real snow cover the hillside. No snow? No problem! They have three huge snow cannons that can cover the slope with snow faster than you can say “sub zero”. Skis, boots and snowboards can be hired on-site for some fun on the hillside, and there is a ski lift and chair lift to whisk you up to the peak.
At 700 metres long and with a ‘blue’ classification the slope will not be challenging any Alpine ski resorts, and is more suited to families and beginners. However, it is the best place this side of the Tatra Mountains to have a go at some real winter sports and you don’t have to leave the comfort of Warsaw or buy expensive equipment.
If skiing is not your thing, you can try navigating the awesome bobsleigh track. The Alpine Coaster lets you pilot a sled down the fast winding curves of the hill – this could be your first step to the Olympics!
Still not convinced? You can take shelter in the observation deck of the restaurant and watch everyone else ski down a piece of history.
The slope is open from 11:00am to 9:00pm from Monday to Friday, and from 10:00am to 8:00pm at the weekends.
Official Website [in Polish] – www.aktywnawarszawa.waw.pl
Have you skied Szezęśliwice Hill? Let us know about your experience using the comments below.