Crisscross on a snowy trail
It seems that cross-country skiing was born in the Jizera Mountains. If you just say "Jizerská", you can be sure that someone from the Czech Republic will subconsciously add the "padesátka". This world famous race hasn’t reached the 50 year mark yet, but its popularity is growing every year and it has already had a mass character for a long time. The tracks of the race follow the Jizera main line, which goes through the Jizera Mountains reminiscent of decorative cotton, and since 1986, when the mechanical grooming of the trails began, it has gradually been scaled up to 170 km of very diverse cross-country trails. You can reach it from more than 20 starting points and you can choose according to your physical condition and determination. From the 5 km long circuit in Bedřichov to the half length of the Jizera "50" race. Here and there the paths lead around big mountain cottages. Their origin is completely different from those in Krkonoše, they were mainly built thanks to the mountain association, as is the case of the previously mentioned view-tower. For example the cottage Prezidentská chata over Bedřichov dates back to 1928 and since the 1950s it has been used as a vacation property of the Presidential Office- hence its name. Another famous building is the nearby cottage Šámalova chata in Nová louka above Bedřichov. It used to be a mansion house next to a glassworks, later a hunting lodge and before the Second World War, it was a vacation property of the Czechoslovak Government Office. This time it got its name from its famous guest, the president´s chancellor Přemysl Šámal. Nowadays in both of these charming, timbered cottages you will have a good meal and a night’s rest knowing that comfort goes hand in hand with tradition here and you can set off to swallow some more snowy Jizera kilometers, because there’s no getting bored here.
Ski like a world champion
If you don´t have the same performance as the best ones on the planet, it´s fine at least to ski on the trail, where the fight for medals was held. Next to Liberec, as a part of the Ještěd ski resort, splendid cross- country trails were created for the World Championship of Nordic skiing. Since then, some races take place there from time to time, but the resort is open for everyone, who wants to ski in a more demanding way. The trails here are challenging, but a less skilful cross-country skier can still enjoy them. Three independent circuits from 1.5-2 km long, with an elevation difference from 5-30 meters- this is already quite tough. The 200 meter training oval is pleasant and is illuminated in a nice way. In Vesec, there is a depository, locker room, showers, wi-fi and an internet connection ready for you. Don´t worry about the lower altitude, the very good quality artificial snow will provide you with a sufficient quantity of snow even if the ridges of the Jizera Mountains become green.
Skiing under the most beautiful transmitter in the world
The epochal building of architect Karel Hubáček on the top of Ještěd is still under appreciated. On the site of an unluckily burned down mountain hotel in 1907, the hyperboloid spike of a new hotel was created here in 1973, crowned with a TV transmitter. A unique style, individuality and trend.
That people swarm the slopes and the foot of Ještěd is not surprising, as it is one of the best ski resorts. It is sometimes called the Czech Innsbruck, mainly because of the fact that, just like our neighbor’s, the ski resort can be found just outside the city walls and you can get here easily by urban transport. Apart from the cabin cableway to the top, skiers are taken up the hill by two four-seat chair lifts, one two-seat and by another six ski tows, the downhill slopes together total 9 kilometers. Skiing is great there for all degrees of difficulty as well as in the snowpark, which the snowboarders will appreciate just as much as the slopes. In addition, because there is also a famous ski jumping resort there, the ski jumping competitions are a welcome distraction to the already wide range of amusement.
A place that you would like to take home with you
Jizerka. Whenever you arrive there, you will always be struck by its peaceful and picturesque beauty. The shallow basin of a plateau in the highest levels of the Jizera Mountains gives you the impression, that it doesn´t belong to this world, that it´s simply a paradise. It´s not unusual for there to be almost 4m of snow in winter. The Jizerka settlement has the role of a polar camp. The houses and cottages don´t seem to huddle together. It’s as if they have been scattered about by the hands of a kind giant. These days you can find a place to stay as well as meals, either in the peculiar mountain cottage called Pešákovna, or in two reconstructed mountain cottages, Panský dům and Pyramida. You are also invited to the picturesque Museum of the Jizera Mountains, built in the building of a former school and you can also play sports in a former glass factory.
A scientific tip
When you’re in Liberec, visit iQLandie. The modern science center with a 3D planetarium is just the base- you will experience cosmonaut training, meet the first humanoid robot in the Czech Republic as well as go through a storm. You will enjoy it and learn something at the same time.
Tip for relaxation
But Liberec also offers pleasures of a different kind- the Babylon Centre is a Mecca for skiers, who can enjoy its almost maternal care, you will swim in the aquapark as if you were a hero of Jules Verne stories, you will try Aquazorbing and Aquaroller and perhaps you will not be able to resist the temptation of the four toboggans or the wild river. The local wellness programmes will get the lactic acid out of your muscles with its massages, relaxation in the salt-iodine cave, saunas, whirlpools, or Roman steam. You will warm up your body in the tepidarium or appease your feet in the Kneipp bath.
Just imagine a late evening. It´s freezing cold outside and you are lying submerged in a tub of hot water, drinking something tasty and having a pleasant conversation with someone who is sharing this experience with you. There are myriads of stars over your head, the snow is sparkling around… The phenomenon of the Scandinavian tub is slowly arriving to the Czech mountains. You can enjoy it just 15 minutes away from Liberec at the Jítrava Apartment Hotel. You will relieve your muscle tension, have a great rest, restart your immune system and get rid of the rest of all that stress.
You might know that there are 16 view towers on the peaks of the Jizera Mountains. However, you might not know that you can climb 10 of them even in winter. Of course in winter the weather is what decides, some view-towers are closed when it´s bad, but nobody would be interested in a view of a snow storm anyway, would they? Some view-towers are accessible at any time, others during the opening hours of the nearby restaurant, Kopanina, you have to borrow the keys from the managers of the view tower. Anyway, you will see an incredible winter panorama- the Lusatian and Jizera Mountains, Krkonoše, the Bohemian paradise…and where to go in winter? To Královka, Smrk, Kopanina, Tanvaldský Špičák, Rašovka, Slovanka, Štěpánka, Černá studnice and Císařský kámen.