Skiing with Kids can be very tricky if you don’t know where to go and what to expect. Last winter I took my boys to the Jizera mountains up North and to Bedrichov ski resort. We stayed at pension UKO for a week and the whole experience was fantastic. A family hotel with swimming pool, sauna, kids bowling alley, play area and baby equipment was perfect. There were kids skiing slopes everywhere, as well as other winter activities.
Seriously, I will not do this ever again, EVER. To go alone for the whole week with 2 boys skiing. Just to service them, dress them, pack up the skis and boots, not to mention the precious moments when you finally zip your kids to skis, fully geared up – they need to go to the toilet…! I never make this same mistake twice…. I make it 5x or 6x… just to make sure….:-)
I found the hotel based on on-line recommendations. The wellness and bowling was a great plus, reasonably priced too. Pension UKO has 3 buildings. The main one where the reception and restaurant are is the most comfortable one because you don’t have to put a jacket on when going to the restaurant. The second best building would be the one with the swimming pool and sauna. We went swimming everyday and it would be ultra comfy just to walk up to the first floor with wet hair.
Not knowing anything about the perks of other buildings, we (of course) stayed in the 3rd building. We had to walk, all dressed up to the restaurant as well as to the swimming pool. I mean – it isn’t that bad – but considering I was alone with 2 kids I could have used the saved energy for dressing and undressing the whole crew….
Every building has a common room for all the guests with kitchen, fridge and TV. Perfect for families with babies – to warm up and prepare baby food. Most of the parents were so tired they ended up downstairs just to watch news or spend some time on the Internet. All 3 buildings are covered with Wi-fi. Rooms are nice and clean and baby cribs available.
Within the price of the stay you get 2 hours in the Spa every day (nobody checks how long you stay anyhow) Bowling you pay extra. Don’t know how, but my demolition squad managed to Ski every day, go swimming and when I was about to collapse – they insisted on going bowling… it is smart to pre-book the bowling a day ahead or at breakfast.
Above the swimming pool there is a gym room. Not fitness, but room for yoga and other classes. They have an information board at the reception where you get the schedule of classes and can pre-book them. Stupid me I booked myself into power-yoga on the first day, not knowing that by Wednesday I would be so knackered I could hardly walk up the stairs….
Food is good and I recommend to get Half board as we did. There is a play area in the restaurant – a separate room where majority of kids disappeared after dinner. Because it is a family hotel, there are only families with kids. The ones who don’t want to be bothered by running kids book their holidays elsewhere.
You will be asked to pre-book your meals. They have a weekly MENU and on your first visit to the restaurant you should choose all your meals till the end of your stay. Now – I am not sure if they have the MENU also in English. I guess you will have to work it out with them somehow. Otherwise you should be OK there with English or German. Apart from this you can always choose a la carte.
When you arrive you will be given a chip for the main door to your building and a key for the ski-room. The temperature was below 0C so I put the skiing boots and skis inside every evening and packed them up again in the morning. Not only its is almost impossible to put on a par of frozen ski boots on your kid, but also its safer that way. I wish I had some extra pair of hands for that I am telling you.
None of the slopes are really walking distance when you carry skis. Everyday I had to pack up the ski box, and move 2km up to the main centre for skiing. It was tough for parking but we always found a spot. The main slope in Berdichov is called Malinovka. It has a decent variety of different slopes and ski-lifts. Perfect for kids. I am an experienced skier and it was a bit boring for me. Too short. But considering I was there for boys – it was perfect. Yet, after a few days we ended up on the longest slope in the area, 12 km away from Bedrichov called Spicak. Here they also have a black slope and chairlift.
There is a discount card for all guests for Ski passes. All you have to do is fill in the form at the reception of your hotel for every each of you and get the discount card. This you will present at the ski lift cashiers. At the bottom of Malinovka slope there is ski rental. So even if you don’t have any gear you can just show up. There are many other ski rentals within the area.
A small catch – all the skiing passes should be active in the whole area of Jizera Mountains, yet, we bought our passes on Malinovka slope and when we came to Spicak slope – with chairlift we had to pay extra because the fare is more expensive there. Be aware of this. The last 3 days of our stay we spent on Spicak slope stopping for waffles every now and then. I can freely say my kids run on Waffles and Milka chocolate.
In general Bedrichov is a great place to go to. It is very close to Liberec (10km) – with IQ Park, Dino park, Aquapark, ZOO and hospital :-) and it is not far away form Prague. It is full of neat hotels and sport activities. If you visit a local info office, you will learn all abou it.
And there are many other possibilities for skiing. Some years ago I covered Severak slope at: Hotel Peklo in Josefuv Dul entry. That is just 7 km away from Bedrichov. If you want a change from Malinovka resort, you can drive up few km to Severak Slope – another skiing centre close to Bedrichov with Kids slope and Kids ski lift. It is quite common to travel within the area to different ski centres. Your ski-passes will be active everywhere.
My boys saw a flier for snow tubing at the hotel. It took them 3 days to convince me… just 3 days. OMG I am weak. There is a snow tubing lane like 5 km down the road from the pension UKO. What is snow tubing??? A special lift takes you up the hill sitting on an inflated ring and down you go. They have 2 lanes. For beginners and small kids and the fast one for Kamikaze kids. Such as my Marcus.
I tried myself and…. it was really fast… but fun :-) It is not recommended for smaller Kids that cannot touch the ground with their feet as they cannot steer the wheel. My younger son Nicolas got pretty frustrated when he kept on hitting the sides of the tubing lane and would stop now and then. You can attach 2-3 rings together and take control for your kids. I did that few times but it takes a lots of energy to eventually slow the rings down at the end of the lane. When trying to break with my feet I ended up looking like a snowman, not able to see anything. I was smarter the next day we went and used all the gear I had including the ski goggles.
Everywhere in the area there is enough of outdoor and indoor refreshments on the slopes. Ski Instructors and Kids skiing courses can be booked through the hotel. I recommend to request this at the time of your reservation.
God this is a long entry. I am not sure everybody will make it to the end :-) I just wanted to give you full info about my Skiing experience with the kids in the Czech mountains.
ADDRESS: Penzion UKO, Bedřichov 300, Bedřichov u Jablonce nad Nisou
MAIN SLOAPS IN THE AREA: Malinovka, Pastviny, Severak, Spicak
Alpine rescue service - is based directly opposite the (lower) car park. Non-stop telephone number is 00420 483 380 073.