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The last time I skied was in Hemsedal Norway in 1994. Since I can’t remember anything I have NOT done for 20 years, it was time to give it another go. My choice of location to rendezvous with the cold white powdery frozen rain commonly known as snow, was the carpathian mountains. Home to Eastern Europe’s largest ski resort, Bukovel in Western Ukraine is also Europe’s newest. The first ski lift was completed only a decade ago. There are now 16 of them working from 8:00 till 21:00 shuttling you to the top of 61 different slopes.

Since the two women I came here with had only skied once before, we spent our time in the beginner’s slopes. They are great for people struggling to control their speed. The only time we got lost and found ourselves in an intermediate piste, both of them were extremely lucky to escape with all limbs attached.

For skiers with experience, neither the intermediate or advanced slopes can be considered challenging. They’re also quite short. I checked out most of them on my own and concluded the beginner slopes were actually more entertaining. If you feel like enhancing the fun, there are bars with beer and hard liquor on top (and in the middle) of every major slope. Alcohol and sports are a great mix in this part of the world.

I recommend molt wine (US$1) or a double honey jack (US$1.50). You’d think that with people drinking and skiing, nothing but mayhem would ensue. That wasn’t the case as I only saw one accident the whole week; a snowboarder who simply forgot to land on the board. A rescue patrol arrived within 10 minutes to take him down the mountain on a sledge. 

Apart from the carpathian mountains which are an absolute stunning sight to behold, the Voda Day & Night Club is the only other major attraction worth seeing. The club has an outdoors heated pool that merges with an indoor one that encircles a bar. There are also three jacuzzis and tanning (!) beds. This excellent rest day retreat is walking distance from downtown, about 500 metres from Bukovel’s landmark Radisson hotel. You can see the whole club and pool in the YouTube video.

The information I’d gleaned off of foreigners and locals alike who’d been to this mountain resort before, was that it’s overpriced and terribly lacking in options when it comes to accommodation. The first is probably true, although I didn’t find the food or restaurants particularly pricey. My hotel certainly were but it was of good quality. From what I gather there are at least 10 quality hotels around with easily a couple of hundred huts for rent.

 

COST OF SKIING IN UKRAINE (CARPATHIAN MOUNTAINS)

SKI RENTAL

$10 for all day if you get there before 9:00. The equipment was ok for me but ideal for beginners as you don’t go too fast.

LIFT PASS

A full day ski pass cost US$20 when purchased before 9:00. After 9, it jumps to $35. Single rides are $3. On average we utilized the lifts about 8-10 times per day.

HOTEL

$220 per night at Hans Hotel for a two story attached house. It’s 100 metres away from a ski lift. That included breakfast, internet and daily cleaning. An extra bed was a ridiculous $20 per night. DO NOT stay at this hotel.

SWIMMING @ Voda Day Club

Their pricing structure is innovative to say the least. It matters not when you enter but when you leave. Opening hours are from 9:00-24:00. Leave before 13:00:  $10, before 17:00: $16, after 17:00: $22.

I guess the idea is to ensure a manageable crowd at all times. Naturally everyone in there around 16:30 left within the next half hour. As did we.

GETTING THERE

I took the night train from Kiev which cost about $15 per person. It left at 21:00 and arrived 14 hours later in Ivano-Frankivsk. There I got on a bus to Bukovel outside the train-station. Two hours later I was at the hotel.

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  • Brianmark

    How many nights did you stay there? The trains are still cheap. I’ve need to visit western Ukraine. I’ve only been to the east and south.

    • Harald Baldr

      I was there for 6 nights. Four would probably have been enough though. It’s good for a short trip

  • ScandinavianJake

    I have a good question also about Ukraine.I’m there right now in Kiev.

    Is it in your experience possible to gain one night stands in Ukraine? Because I hear very mixed things about this subject.

    • Yes it’s very possible. I used to think it wasn’t but empirical research proved me wrong 😉

      • ScandinavianJake

        Great to hear.
        I’m as said in Ukraine now. Will you be comfortable meeting another international Scandinavian traveller? My disqus is open so you can check me out beforehand.

        I’m in Kiev now, but going to Kharkov tomorrow for a week to check that out, and then back to Kiev for some days.

        Let me know, if you will have time to meet in Kiev. If you will be busy with something else, it will also be OK with me.

        • I would meet you but I’m not in Ukraine this month. I’ll post some videos from where I’m at this week. It’s also a great place to live 😉

          Enjoy Kiev and make sure to let me know what you think about Kharkov. I’ve never been to that place.

          • ScandinavianJake

            Okay.
            I’ll update you for sure in one week about my results about Kharkov. Just arrived this evening, but too early to say much about it 🙂 Ill let you know in one week how it was there (even thought one week might also be too little to give a precise picture of the situation).

          • ScandinavianJake

            Im leaving Kharkov today now.

            Initially my impression of the city was good. It is beautiful and almost modern in the center of Kharkov (but extremely ugly outside the center).
            I had an amazingly high tinder rate also, that I couldn’t keep up with writing all the girls.
            When I went to night clubs I also had many, many smiles from girls. And I’m just an average Danish guy.

            But I found it difficult still. Problem is that only around 15- 20% of the girls speak English on a good enough level to be in a conversation, and it means it is hard to stay motivated to approach when so many of your targets will not understand you anyway.

            My final conclusion of the city is that it is good, but pretty much only if you speak Russian. The talent level of women is a little lower than Kiev, and English level is much worser. When I talked with other foreigners here, they were also disappointed.

            The city also has a huge minority of Nigerian and Arabic students, which can not really be considered a bonus since they are all males.

            Check the city out if you have time, but I highly advice that you speak Russian before coming here.

          • Thanks for this update Jake. A friend of mine decided to learn Russian after a visit to Kharkiv. You just cnfirmed his assertion that speaking the language is a must to live in that city.

          • ScandinavianJake

            Im now back in Kiev, and I can definitely say that there are more beautiful girls here than in Kharkov. Thought Kharkov has good talent, but that is generally true for all of Ukraine.

            I hear the only city that can compete with Kiev is Moscow, so I’m checking that out next time, possibility this summer.

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