lifestyle

Hit the hill, Jack

07.02.2014 | Leonid Uzvar

Where to go in the snow

Traditionally, Ukrainian tourists go to the Carpathians after the Christmas and New Years holiday break, though there are also places where one can enjoy some rest and relaxation outside of Kyiv and in nearby oblasts. KW recommends its readers where to go without leaving Kyiv for long

Winter respites

When choosing a place where to spend a weekend or your leisure time that is not far from Kyiv, you should know exactly what you want and then make a decision. There are several hundreds of tourist bases, boarding houses and countryside hotels outside of Kyiv. Prices depend on location, term of stay, class of accommodation, the restaurant menu, entertainment and the level of service. For instance, staying in the following places will not be too expensive: Zirka health resort (Vorzel), Dubky (near Irpin), the recreation center UTOG (Pushcha Vodytsya), USSR 5 Stars (Kozyn), Prolisok (Koncha Zaspa) and others. Accommodation there will cost UAH 300-400 per night on average.

Economy class resorts do not have a gym, massage services, a swimming pool and sports fields for adults and childrens playgrounds. Three meals a day (usually a buffet) can be discussed with the management for additional pay. As a rule, these days dietary and vegetarian food can be found even in inexpensive places.

If you are looking for a more comfortable place, check out such modern hotel complexes as Gintama-Briz (Hlebivka, Vyshgorod County), the dacha hotel Hlebivka, Zazymya (village Zazymya, Brovary County) and the sports and recreation complex Fortuna Club (Pukhovka, Brovary County).

The first two are in the category of cottages, with double room price tag at UAH 600-700 a night. The price includes satellite TV, Internet, a childrens playground and sports fields. The price for an additional person in the room is UAH 200 per day. Children aged 6 are not charged without rental of an additional bed.

For an extra charge you can use the sauna for UAH 250 per hour and order a massage for UAH 200. There are also special weekend programs, though the prices of accommodation are slightly higher. You can also rent an entire cottage. For instance, a VIP cottage in Gintama-Briz costs UAH 2,500 per day. At your service are three bedrooms, a room with a fireplace, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, a terrace overlooking the Kyiv Sea, an air conditioner, bathrobes, slippers, a mini bar and a brazier.

The territory and parking is guarded and the restaurants offer an expanded menu. The prices of dishes are cheaper than in Kyiv restaurants the average check for a dinner is around UAH 250 per person.

Organization of family and corporate events, conferences and training sessions is a comparatively new service offered by such venues. This involves the work of creative and entertainment teams that will help you relax during your leisure time and make your stay unforgettable. Naturally, this option is agreed separately from standard accommodation and there is an extra charge for it. Different resorts have different offers for active outdoor recreation during the winter months, but traditionally the list includes horseback riding, driving snowmobiles, motorcycle and quad riding, ice skating, sleighing and skiing, fishing, paintball and shooting from a bow or crossbow on a special range. In the evenings guests can play billiards, tennis and bowling or simply relax in a sauna.

Skiing

Skiing is undoubtedly the most popular winter sport. You dont even need to travel to the Carpathians to ski as there are several places in Kyiv for such a form of winter sport. First, there is Protasiv Yar that Kyiv residents call the Bukovel of the nations capital, after Ukraine´s most popular ski resort. There are two trails on Protasiv Yar 500 m and 300 m. The second one is steeper than the first and is designed for more experienced skiers. It also features a special half-pipe for snowboarders. One trip on the ski lift costs UAH 4.50-6.00 on week days and UAH 12 on weekends. There is also night skiing on Saturdays that costs UAH 170 and after 2:00 am UAH 80. Ski lifts are free of charge during this time and the cafe is open until 5:00 am.

Rental of ski equipment on the weekend costs UAH 115 for two hours and UAH 45 for every following hour. Visitors must make a deposit for the equipment in the form of a drivers license, vehicle registration, money that equals the cost of the gear or a passport.

For those that want to learn to ski or improve their skiing skills, there are several Alpine skiing and snowboarding schools at Protasiv Yar. However, experienced skiers advise that it is best to spend some extra time and go to skiing complex VyshGora in the suburban town of Vyshgorod. The facilities are much better, the resort is larger and the equipment is upgraded.

You can get there by public transport or take on route taxi No. 398 from the Heroyiv Dnipra subway station (to the Apteka stop) or No. 1 (to the final stop at the VyshGora Complex).

Two hours on week days cost UAH 60, on weekends UAH 75. If you want to ski for half a day, it will cost UAH 75 and UAH 90 respectively. For a full day, the fee is UAH 150 and UAH 180. One ski lift trip costs UAH 7-10. At VyshGora you can also go night skiing on weekdays and weekends from 11:00 pm to 4:00 am for UAH 130. The resort also offers equipment rental UAH 60 for the first hour and UAH 50 for every hour after that. What is important to know is that only a drivers license or a vehicle registration certificate is accepted there as a guarantee. In addition to that, you can go snow tubing. There is a cafe that serves hot tea and provides a barbecue on which you can grill your own meat.

As for professional skiing, the Chernihiv Ski Sports Base at the Specialized Sport Olympic Reserve School in the town of Yatsevo is worth mentioning. You are best off driving there in your own car. The resort has well-trimmed ski trails and hills. The length of the ski trails is 5 km and they are well lit for night skiing. There you can rent skis, but if you come with your own skiing is free. The place has a warm locker room, two rooms for relaxation where hot tea is served, several tennis tables and a parking lot.

If you prefer cross country skiing, you can go to Rylskiy Park in the Holosiyivskiy District in Kyiv. It is free and there are long ski trails around the hills and several steep hills for snowboarders

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