The title of the highest mountain range in the Czech Republic belongs to the Giant Mountains in the north of Bohemia. It is there that you can find no less than the 3 highest peaks of the entire country – Sněžka (1,603 m a.s.l.), Luční hora (1,555 m a.s.l.), and Studniční hora (1,554 m a.s.l.). Thanks to their location and elevation, the Giant Mountains also offer the best conditions for downhill skiing with resorts such as Špindlerův Mlýn, Pec pod Sněžkou, Harrachov and Rokytnice nad Jizerou. And what are the further placings? The second-highest mountain range in the Czech Republic is Hrubý Jeseník, followed by Králický Sněžník, with the imaginary fourth place going to Šumava (Bohemian Forest).
Largest ski area
The largest ski area in the entire Czech Republic, where you can enjoy yourselves as much as you like, is the SkiResort Černá Hora-Pec. It is situated in the Giant Mountains, offering a total of 50 km of downhill trails! It is composed of six interconnected ski areas, which you can reach on skis or by ski bus. Besides skiing you can try out a number of additional activities such as sledging on a sledge route, snowshoe trips or snow tubing as well.
What is the length of the longest ski slope in the Czech Republic? It is 3,500 metres long, and it is a piste in Klínovec ski areal in the Ore Mountains. A modern covered four-seat chair lift will take you to the top. The slope is quite gentle, perfect for beginners and families with children. The second longest piste is 3,381 metres long and you can find it in the Ramzová Ski Area in the Jeseníky Mountains in the north of Moravia. It leads from Šerák Mountain (1,325 m a.s.l.) to Ramzová (767 m a.s.l.). The first section from Šerák is very gentle but the other sections will also satisfy rather demanding skiers. The third-longest piste in the Czech Republic is located in Rokytnice nad Jizerou in the north of Bohemia. The gentle ski slope is 3,185 m long and is situated on the southern side of Lysá hora. It is a wide and clearly arranged trail featuring gentle terrain breaks.
The highest-lying ski resort is Praděd in the Jeseníky Mountains in the north of Moravia. You can find it at an elevation of 1,438 m, and there is usually around 2-3 metres of snow lying there. That is why this ski area is nicknamed “The Moravian Iceberg” although, in fact, there has been no iceberg for a few thousand years there. There are convenient skiing conditions for both beginners and advanced skiers. The resort is located within the Jeseníky Protected Landscape Area and, therefore, activities are significantly limited. It is nature, not people, that rules the roost.
Longest groomed skating track
Every year, the longest skating track is formed on the frozen Lipno reservoir in south Bohemia. The most frequently groomed section is nearly 12 kilometres long and, based on some data, it is even the longest groomed skating track in the world. As soon as the ice reaches a safe thickness of around 20 cm, a skating track is created between the municipalities of Lipno nad Vltavou and Frymburk. And when winter is really glorious, it is possible to link the track with a neighbouring 4-km long track. If winter is as if from a frozen Siberian fairy tale, which happened, for example, in 2012, the track may reach up to a record 38 km.
Longest sledge track
The sledge route from Černá hora (Black Mountain) along Zvonková cesta to Janské Lázně in the Giant Mountains leads through places where sledges were in use as early as 100 years ago. Its name Zvonková cesta (Sledge Bells Route) probably originates from the times when sledges were equipped with small bells whose jingle used to warn other visitors of the approaching sledge! The route is 4,352 metres long with an elevation difference reaching 560 m. Entry into the track is free, the route is readily accessible to the public. You can hire a sledge from the rental facilities at the lower cable car station.
Even though the Czech Republic lies in the temperate climate zone, the mountains and their frosted valleys are capable of conjuring up pretty freezing temperatures. Jezerní slať (Lake Moor) in Šumava, south Bohemia, is considered the coldest place in the Czech Republic. The mean annual temperature there is a mere one degree above zero! In addition, -36.9° Celsius was measured in Jezerní slať in 2005.
Snow until summer
Snow remains on Studniční hora in the Giant Mountains in north Bohemia for the longest time. The local snowfield is referred to familiarly as the Map of the Republic, as the snowfield takes the shape of the former Czechoslovakia and its borders before the Second World War. As the snowfield thaws out, it gradually loses that shape of the republic in the same sequence in which Czechoslovakia broke up – Carpathian Ruthenia thaws out first, followed by Slovakia, with only Central Bohemia remaining in the end. The largest volume of snow fell there more than 20 years ago, in the 1999/2000 winter season, when the depth of the snowfield reached a record 16 metres. Snow can usually be found there until July or August, when the last remnants melt, for new snow to fall in October again.