Karpacz Ski Resort is perhaps the main rival to the ski fields that sit in the Tatras between Krakow and Zakopane. It’s located out on the south-west side of the country, closer to Wroclaw than to Krakow. There, it’s draped over a series of low mountains right on the border with the Czech Republic.

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The town of Karpacz itself is known across southern Poland as an historic spa centre. It’s tucked into a valley in Jelenia Góra County, where fresh springs and clear mineral waters have been drawing those in search of R&R for decades. The mountains here are the Karkonosze Range. The highest of them – Śnieżka, at 1,600m – keeps watch over Karpacz itself from the south.  

Like much of the Polish ski offering, Karpacz Ski Resort is small, compact and pretty easy compared to the Alps, for example. You’re not going to be blasting championship slaloms. However, combined with the spa history, good links to Czech ski resorts just over the border, and some beautiful wood-built churches, it’s an attractive and enjoyable place to escape to the Polish mountains. Better yet, it usually has nowhere near the same crowds as Zakopane ski resort alternatives!

This is a part of our full guide to skiing in Poland. Head there for more information on Polish ski resorts and mountains.

The ski season in Karpacz

Karpacz suffers the same problem on bad winters as other Polish ski resorts. However, no snow can wreak havoc here because of the relatively low altitude. That said, there’s decent snowmaking on the main runs, and powder hasn’t been an issue in recent years (said as of 2020). That means the season typically runs from early December to around April, but it will change each year.

Karpacz mountains

Kopa – the best of the ski resorts in Karpacz

The best skiing in Karpacz is at the Kopa arena, which is very much designed in the ilk of Czech ski resorts. That makes its home on the slopes of Śnieżka itself. The base station is around 10 minutes’ drive from the centre of the town. The line up is seven lifts including two pretty good chairs, along with a top station that levels out at 1,340m. Not all, but some, of the routes benefit from good snowmaking.

Riders can choose between two summits. There’s Kopa (the highest), with a black run connecting down to two reds and two blues. And there’s Zlotowka mountain, which has a few drag lifts leading up to 1,282 metres, where some intermediate-friendly red and blue pistes go from. There are a few cross-runs connecting both sides of the resort, but you’ll need to ski to base level when switching from Zlotowka to Kopa.

Winterpol White Jar – the smaller of the ski resorts in Karpacz

The Winterpol White Jar is another ski centre in Karpacz. It’s smaller, with just a trio of runs. They go up to a lower top station where there’s a bar overlooking the Karkonosze. All are linked by a single chairlift that’s quite modern, fast and efficient. The longest run is a cruisy, wide blue through the trees that clocks up 1,100 metres in length. There are also two faster red runs (still not too challenging).

Where to stay for skiing in Karpacz

There are loads of wonderful hotels in Karpacz Ski Resort. This is one of Poland’s premier spa towns, after all! One of the cream of the crop is surely the Hotel Gołębiewski Karpacz. It’s a vast and sprawling spa hotel that showcases the best of Polish mountain hospitality. Hundreds of rooms converge on a central pool area that’s actually more like a fully-fledged waterpark – think slides and hot tubs and more. It’s a mere 15 minutes’ walking to the ski lifts and you can get a colossal buffet breakfast that’s perfect for starting a day in the snow.

For a taste of something a little more authentic, choose the charming Willa Tyrolczyk. It’s set in a painted timber cottage and run by a local family.You’ll have to rent the whole thing, but that makes it a cracking choice for family groups or groups of friends. It can sleep up to eight in total.

The Apartamenty KADO get great reviews. And why not? They offer sweeping views of the mountains and one of the best locations for getting to the ski lifts. Pets are also allowed. Oh, and you get a private garden to boot.