Snowboarding: Janské Lázně

The lesser known gem of the Krkonoše mountains

When you mention snowboarding or skiing in the Czech Republic, most people's thoughts wander north, to the Polish/German border, or to the country's largest mountain range, the Krkonoše.

Resorts like Špindlerův Mlýn, Pec pod Sněžkou and Harrachov spring to mind. Even smaller resorts like Rokytnice nad Jizerou and the newly created Herlíkovice are competing for the local and ever growing foreign market.

Another relatively new resort - one that's not had a lot of publicity - is Janské Lázně-Černá hora. Nestled four kilometers behind Pec pod Sněžkou on the other side of the Černá hora mountain, Janské Lázně is a pleasant surprise for anyone who's experienced the other resorts. In fact, Janské Lázně boasts the longest run in the Czech Republic and the country's only eight-person cable car.

Relative to the surrounding area, the quality of the slopes is impressive. The mountain is quite wide and offers several different options. The runs are also more interesting than the basic up-and-down typical of the region. In terms of difficulty, the whole mountain is essentially a hill for intermediates.

There's only one real "black run" option, for advanced riders, passing directly under the cable car. Technically, this run is forbidden but the rule is never enforced.

There are also challenging off-piste options, but these carry stiff 50,000-CZK fines if you're caught, so ride quick and get back on the path even quicker.

Janské Lázně doesn't have many options for beginners, though there are some small blue slopes, on the backside of the hill, behind the lookout point (rozhledna). The red slopes are also quite manageable and beginners tend to ride down to the smaller Protěž slope, which has some gentler sides to it. Protěž also boasts the largest nighttime skiing area in the Czech Republic which is great if you arrive late the first day - or just can't get enough.

When the snow is soft and powdery, this place is cool to ride. The slopes are nice and wide, giving you lots of room to play with on the sides. The woods looked fun too, giving you options to dip in between trees and back on to the parallel slopes. (There wasn't enough powder when we were there though.)

Taking run 1 down, around to the 2, back on to the 1, and down to the cable car (see map) is probably the most enjoyable on-piste run. It's also quite long and makes for a decent ride. There are a series of three jumps down the bottom, to tempt all you leapers out there.

On the backside there are some cool off-piste options, but, as I mentioned, this isn't Austria and it's illegal to ride in the trees, so beware. It's also possible to ride the four kilometers over to Pec pod Sněžkou, and then catch a bus back around.

All in all, the mountain offers enough options to make for a very decent day of riding. The mountain also boasts an epically long sled trail, though it's not advisable to ride this on a snowboard. (You might get hit by a German sled.)

The town itself is quiet, making it a nice place for committed riders but perhaps a tad boring for those seeking some "action." There are also few restaurants to choose from and almost no shopping opportunities. If you're expecting a typical Alpine skiing trip, you're better off going to Špindl or Pec.

One thing the town does offer though is healing spas - lázně is the Czech word for spa - so if you're seeking a week of riding and relaxation, Janské Lázně is fantastic.

Official Website | Accommodation Links

Prague TV's Janské Lázně Image Gallery

Resort Name Janské Lázně-Cerná hora
Location Krkonoše mountains, East Bohemia
Slope Orientation South/South East
Price for Day Pass 550 CZK
Distance from Prague 160 kilometers
Transportation from Prague Bus from Černý Most
Travel Time 3 Hours, 15 Minutes (Approx.)
Bus Fare 158 CZK

The lift ticket here also gives you access to the ski area at Pec pod Sněžkou, which is connected by a 45 min skibus trip. --thekniceguy

Great article. Really good to hear about skiing in The Czech republic as this isn't somewhere most people think of as a place to ski.
September 3rd, 2008

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