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Zakopane Ski Resort Guide

Zakopane, Poland

Rated: 3/5 (from 5 ratings)

Ski Area Highlights
Recommended ForIntermediates, Beginners, Snowfall and Apres-Ski!
Highest Lift1,960m
Resort Height931m
 Nearest AirportsKrakow and Katowice
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Originally a seventeenth century forestry settlement, Zakopane has been a centre for Polish intellectuals for the past century. This lovely town ( with a few ugly Communist era blocks and now Burger King and McDonalds ) is also Poland's best known ski centre. There are seven ski areas around Zakopane offering more than 50 lifts between them, but most are short drag lifts, either running parallel or not connecteed to one another. Many are also privately owned lifts requiring separate tickets. The nearest ski area (3km) is Kasprowy Wierch where there is high Alpine skiing in two treeless bowls. Other nearby areas are Gubalowka and Nosal. 14 of the lifts quoted locally are drag lifts dotted around the town.

Zakopane has hosted: three FIS World Ski Championships (1929, 1939,1962), three Winter Universiades (1956, 1993, 2001), Biathlon World Championship, several Ski Jump World Cups, and several Nordic Combined, Nordic and Alpine European Cups.


The Polish ski resort of Zakopane is in the Polish Tatras at an altitude of 931m.

Zakopane has direct access to 16 marked pistes, served by a total of 20 ski lifts.

Snow and Weather

When will it snow in Zakopane?

The next notable snow forecast is 14cm, expected on 30 September, with around 20cm forecast over the next 7 days.

See our long-range Snow Forecast for the latest update, or   Join our Snow Mail Here

Snow this week

Snow Forecast by day for Zakopane

Ski Area Stats

Zakopane Ski Area

Piste and Lift Stats
Black Pistes
Expert Trails
Red Pistes
Intermediate Runs
Blue Pistes
Easy Trails
Cross Country
Total Length
Ski Lifts
Number of Lifts


Zakopane Ski Area Heights

Lift Heights and Resort Altitude
Highest Lift1,960m
Lowest Piste1,030m
Resort Altitude (Zakopane)931m
Max Vertical1,029m

Ratings & Suitability

Ratings for Zakopane
Expert Skiers

Zakopane Overview

The undisputed winter capital of Poland, Zakopane sits at the foot of Poland's highest mountains, the Tatras in Western Malopolska, a region rich in historical and cultural heritage. Kracow, the former capital of the Polish Republic and Poland's second city lies 70 miles/112 km north of Zakopane. Unlike Warsaw the capital which was completely destroyed during WW2, Kracow, escaped the bombs, retaining its medieval air. This most Polish of all Poland's cities, which Pope John Paul II called the synthesis of all that is Polish, the sum of Polish history, was awarded the title European City of Culture in the year 2000. In 1978, Old Kracow was the only urban architectural complex to be placed on the List of World Cultural Heritage Sites along with Poland's biggest tourist attraction, the spectacular underground cathedral-like Salt Mines at Wieliczka. The former Nazi death camp Auschwitz, where 4 million people died has also been declared a World Heritage Site. No region of Poland is so well represented on the prestigious World Cultural Heritage list nor can many regions of the world compare with it.

Towns and heritage buildings are not the only attractions in Western Malopolska - Poland has a total of 23 national parks offering a variety of hiking trails through varied landscapes and the chance to spot rare wildlife. Poland is reputed to have Europe's largest population of storks living amongst its marshlands and its national parks are home to many rare varieties. The Bialowieza National Park, a primeval forest near to the eastern border with Belarus, is the last major refuge of the European bison and also inhabited by lynx, moose and wild forest ponies. Further south, the Bieszczady National Park, part of the Carpathian Mountain range is home to the brown bear and wildcat. Nearest to Zakopane is the Tatra National Park, filled with typically alpine flora and fauna.

Zakopane is a year-round holiday destination; in summer there are water and mountain resorts each with their own climate and wildlife while in winter the skiing conditions are the best in Poland. Zakopane has hosted the FIS World Ski Championships three times; in 1929, 1939 and 1962. After the creation of the Internationale Ski Federation (FIS) in Chamonix in 1924 it was proposed (but not acted upon) that skiing should be included in the Winter Olympics and that an annual ski race meeting should be held called rendez-vous races. At the 1929 Zakopane meeting these races were termed FIS races for the first time.


Zakopane has several small skiing areas. Kasprowy Wierch, 3km from the town centre, has high alpine skiing in two treeless bowls. Skiers are transported to the top by cable car running in two sections, the first section goes up to 1350m in about 7 minutes while the second part takes skiers to the top in 10 minutes. Each of the two long slopes is served by its own one-seater chairlift. This is a National Forest Area so there is no artificial snowmaking.

The best quality and amount of (artificial) snow are to be found at Nosal with its single chairlift to the top and T-bars giving access to two-thirds of the slopes. It is FIS certified slope to hold Special Slalom and Giant Slalom. Can get crowded during weekends and it is quite difficult. Some slopes are lit for night skiing.

Gubalowka has snow cannons which are doing a great job of keeping the snow cover but the conditions hold up only at the top portion of the slope (it has a mountain tram going up the summit, with a capacity of 120 people) there are two T-bars at the top of the slope.

Another ski-area is Bukowina Tatrzanska, it is situated about 5 km east of Zakopane and it is at much higher altitude. Snow conditions are sometimes much better. Rumours says that there have been serious investments done by the local operators of the ski lifts to establish artificial snow making and bring in new ski lifts.

The city of Zakopane has FIS standard ski jumps as well as cross-country tracks.

The best snow conditions are between January and late April though sometimes Kasprowy Wierch is open for skiing into early May.

Zakopane offers good sking, particularly, for Beginner skiers.


Gubalowka has a halfpipe and plays host to national competitions.

Location and Map

Where is Zakopane?

This ski resort is in the Polish Tatras.


Tap Show Map in Full Screen for Full-Screen, or see J2Ski's Resort map, showing Hotels and Ski Shops.

How to get there

 By Air

The nearest airport to Zakopane is Krakow, 95 minutes drive away.

Katowice and Kosice airports are all within three hours drive.


Ski Lift Capacity

The 20 ski lifts are able to uplift 10,000 skiers and snowboarders every hour.

Snow Making

Snow-making is available, on 12km of ski runs,.

Season Dates

When is Zakopane open?

We don't currently have confirmed season dates, but hope to soon.

Usual opening is late December, and usual closing is Early April.

NOTE:- Ski area, lift and piste opening is subject to Current Snow Conditions.

COVID-19 / Coronavirus

We don't yet have specific details of the COVID-19 precautions being taken in Zakopane, but they are likely to include most of the following :-

  • Face masks required on lifts, and in shops.
  • Social distancing in public areas.
  • Reduced lift capacity.
  • Extensive disinfection / sanitization.

French Ski Resort COVID-19 Measures describes further measures that may also be applied.

Visit the Zakopane Tourist Office for the latest.

Talking about Zakopane

Mentions in recent J2Ski News Items and Snow Reports from our users...

Aprés Ski

All the usual apres ski activities such as sledging, floodlit skiing, skating, cross-country skiing and saunas along with a variety of lively bars. For a low-key and cosy bar, try Anemon. They have a choice of beers on tap including Irish Kilkenny, Guinness, Cashel’s cider and Budweiser (the Czech brew, not the watered-down US version). The only British-style pub in town is Paparazzi with a posh interior and refreshing drinks menu. When the weather holds, enjoy the outdoor seating next to a mountain stream. For an exceptional atmosphere visit the Piano Bar which, strangely enough, has swings at the bar! Other bars to try are Café Sanacjae and Ballada where the bartenders are said to be willing to negotiate the prices of beer.

If you have the energy for dancing, try Rockus, where the DJ plays mainly hits from the 60's, 70's and 80's, or Morskie Oko, a real Zakopance hotspot with live DJ, big dance floor, flashing lights and thumping bass.