Whenever Perinbaba (Lady Winter; Mother Feathers) empties her duvet and covers the country with white feather snow, all the cross-country skis run out of the cellars and closets and entice people to running. Cross-country skiing is not easy to resist, so get your cross-country skis, air them and your head. Alternative routes through the country will immediately come to your mind, and traces of creaking freezing snow will appear in your mind. But it will only be freezing in your mind. Your body will not be shivering of cold. Just the contrary, you will literally be sweating because in cross-country skiing, 80 per cent of all the muscles in the body are engaged. What a performance, is it?
Cross-country skiing is one of the most effective sports ever and the bonus for you will be a magical fusion of mind with the silence of the forest. For cross-country skiers, the frozen and snowy ground has a unique charm. The secret is hidden in the movement in the fresh air with a fairy-tale image of huge hills, valleys, and forests. So go cross-country skiing and fall in love with the snowy version of the Košice region! It offers many sites for cross-country skiing. Some of them are part of the ski resorts, and they are taken appropriate care of, then there are regularly groomed trails and you may also use cross-country skiing in the open nature, in which you create your own track. There are plenty of choices in terms of track length and difficulty. Put your skis on and run!
1. Leaving a temporary trace
Cross-country Ski Club Metropol Košice, Kojšovská Hoľa
The temporary trace of your track will leave an eternal trace in your warmed heart. It is no coincidence that cross-country skiing is one of the most popular and healthiest sports ever. A natural movement during which one is training their whole body and a staying in the fresh air – this is a combination that attracts ever more winter sports enthusiasts into the white trail. All roads are said to lead to Rome, but this is not quite the case. Some of them also lead to Kojšovka. There is a cross-country skiing area, which is managed by LK Metropol. The area has a glorious history and will meet the expectations of more demanding sportsmen. The five-kilometre circuit has an elevation of 180 m – and that’s quite a solid parameter!
In the area, beginners, advanced, and professional sportsmen may choose from three circuits at their discretion: 2-kilometre, 3-kilometre or 5-kilometre ones. The longest one is technically at a high level and is certified. Its author is Juraj Tóth, the founder of LK Metropol, a big cross-country skiing enthusiast. In 2001, the Championships of the Slovak Republic in Cross-country Skiing for Adults and Adolescents took place on the circuit. The entire Slovak national team at that time found their way to Kojšovská Hoľa. Later, a number of other races and events took place here and many great talents were raised here. Isn’t ski running also your hidden talent?
2. Circling on creaking snow
Snow Park Ľadová
Ice beauty everywhere, overhead and underfoot. Better still, under the cross-country skis. Imagine that you “run around” here in a place that has been the scene of several races in the past. A unique locality on the very edge of this region is named after the world-famous cave – Ľadová (Ice). The Ľadová snow park offers levelled-up trails for cross-country skiing: circuits in the length of 2.4 km, 2.8 km, 3.5 km, and 4.5 km in the beautiful nature of the Slovak Paradise. The added value of the area will also be in the fact that it is located near other national nature preserves such as Stratená, Hnilecká Kelšina, Ostrá Skala rock or Stratenská Jaskyňa cave. Here you will combine experiences with beautiful views that will never be lost from your memories, for example to Kráľova Hoľa or to one of the most famous technical monuments in Slovakia – Chmarošský Viaduct in Telgárt. You may also enjoy frosty exciting cross-country skiing right under Ostrá Skala rock. You will focus your eyes on the unique views, and as long as your eyes are running on them, your feet will be gliding smoothly along the quality tracks in these corners of magnificent nature.
3. Following in the footsteps of others
Ski Mlynky, Biele Vody + Grajnár
Follow in the trail of others and just let yourself be carried away by the track. The regularly maintained cross-country trails in the picturesque nature of the southern part of the Slovak Paradise will fit perfectly like a puzzle to your other unforgettable memories, just as your footprint will fit into the footsteps of others in front of you. In fact, under you. In winter, the Grajnár Forest Sports Complex is a popular place for cross-country skiing and, thanks to its relief and altitude of 1,100 m above sea level, guarantees the stability of snow conditions. There are six marked tracks in the length of 3, 5, 6, 7, 10 and 13 kilometres with an elevation of 80 to 360 metres and with a starting and finishing point in the Grajnár mountain saddle. Let’s go a little bit further. In the village of Mlynky, in the Biele Vody area, a system of marked trails has been created for cross-country skiers. Under suitable snow conditions, the circuit around Kráľová Hora is ideal. Good condition is required by the equally long circuit around the Grajnár mountain saddle towards Poľana pod Muráňom or towards the other side around Ferdinandka. If you are a less able cross-country skier, you should choose one of the four shorter circuits, which are marked in the same direction. Those who try a cross-country hike through the Hnilec Valley – from Rakovec through the village of Hnilec to the settlement of Tretí Hámor near Nálepkovo – will also experience a continuous slight descent. The tracks are also suitable for beginners. The longest track is the 13 km long circuit of Kráľova Hora, which connects four parts of the village: Prostredný Hámor, Mlynky, Havrania Dolina, and Biele Vody.
4. Sweating even in the freezing cold
Get to know your limits right on the border of the three national parks. At this point in our beautiful region, there is the Telgárt ski resort. All you have to do is run up here, i.e. actually run on cross-country skis, and take a good look. You will see Kráľova Hoľa, the hills of Muránska Planina plateau as well as the hills and valleys of the Slovak Paradise. Winter sports enthusiasts will always enjoy themselves here. During cross-country skiing, you may admire the impressive railway buildings of the Telgártsky Tunel and Chmarošský Viaduct or majestic peaks dominating the surrounding nature. We recommend a visit to Depo Café – a pleasant retro café in a train car, which is located just opposite the Chmarošský Viaduct across the road. A kilometre-long cross-country circuit passes through here. It starts near the access road leading to the centre of the ski area. The undemanding training circuit leads beyond the apartment houses towards the main road and winds back up a slight ascent to its starting point. If you like to overcome more demanding goals, step on the centre track through the ridge of Tresník. The 15-kilometre cross-country ski run is a real nut for everyone who likes to maintain their heart rate in the higher bands on the unpaved track during sports. They call it “Hrebeňovka”. It’s a challenge! In the village of Telgárt and its surroundings, cross-country skiing is possible almost everywhere with sufficient snow cover. The road behind the Besník (Čuntava) saddle towards Pusté Pole is very popular. This track is also unlevelled.
5. Getting lost in the silence of the winter forest
From Jahodná to Lajoška
Freshness of winter and its shimmering silence is what you still have to catch up with this season! Come and explore the beautiful, silent snowy landscape on cross-country skis. You will melt away and lose yourself in silence. But don’t worry, you won’t lose your head completely. Nor the track. It will rfor sure lead you in silence from Jahodná to Lajoška. The track is mechanically levelled-up and will last until spring if it is not worn down by hikers. It runs along the northern side of the main ridge of the Slovak Ore Mountains, thanks to which the snow melts more slowly in the event of weather warming. It is wide enough, ideally designed for cross-country skiing. It has short climbs, gentle descents and straight plains. However, the levelled-up route does not form a circuit. Therefore, it is necessary to return along the same path. You may get to the cross-country ski run from the lower lift station, cross the ski slope to the right. You enter the silence of the winter forest. After a short climb, you traverse the second ski slope at Jahodná and continue to the Lajoška cottage. The cottage is open all year round. It provides snacks and warm-up options throughout the week. After this 9-kilometre chanting and a refreshing break, choose one of the other interesting locations you may visit from the Lajoška cottage: Tisícka, Skala Loreley, the monument under the Železný Vrch mountain, the Kojšovské Lúky meadows. Under favourable snow conditions, one may continue from Lajoška along the ridge to Kojšovská Hoľa.