Hansel AND kangbang are polish and speak it? cool.
Me too, I got my new polish passport in the mail last week.
narty w zakopanym sol swietne.
Here are a few stories from my dad's youth, when he skied Kasprowy Wierch every weekend in high school
On friday when school got out, he'd get home ASAP, grab his skiing gear, a backpack with his sleeping bag, food for a few days, hiking boots, a bunch of socks, etc. He'd take the bus from Krakow to Zakopane (only 2 hours or so) and, getting there around nightfall, begin his hike.
As a broke high school student, he didn't want to pay to take the tram, which at the time was a lot smaller than it is now, and the lines formed a lot earlier if the above poster is to be believed. More like 5 AM than 8.
Anyway, he'd get there around nightfall and begin the hike up to the shronisko in the Galsienicowa valley. A shronisko (pronounced S hro-nee-sko) is a hut in the mountains for travelers to stay the night-- hikers, climbers, skiers, and the like can always be found in them. They give you a place to sleep (and by law can't turn you away if you come after dusk, whether you have money or not. You'll just get a spot on the dining room floor) The hike is 2 hours during the summer, with no snow, and during the day. He claims to have made it in an hour if there wasn't any fresh pow, a little longer if there was. The guy practically ran up the mountain with his friend.
The hike was pretty dangerous, though, since it is easy to get lost, and depending on the route, there could be a thousand foot fall to avoid. My dad and his friends tended to prefer the dangerous route, since it was faster.
On one occasion, they were caught in a massive blizzard as they were following the ridge with the cliff on one side and a steep slope on the other. They crawled for two hours on a section of the trail that would have taken them 15 minutes on a normal night.
Anyway, upon reaching the shronisko, they'd take a spot on the floor in the dining room and sleep. By dawn, they were awake, their stuff was put into a closet, and they were out.
My dad and his friend had a habit of getting to know the park rangers. One ranger in particular took a liking to them and on some days, depending on snow conditions, would give them tasks-- look, the local priest was on the peak of Swinica (a sick mountain to climb, steep and rocky peak with tons of exposure -- photo at end -- and accidentally lost something. Why don't you go look for it?
That was the permission to hike that peak and ski it that day.
On other days, they'd ski in-bounds. The chairlifts -- there are two, one in each valley on the two sides of the Kasprowy Wierch that are in poland -- were small. one was a single, one was a double, and both were always absolutely packed.
In his last year of high school, my dad hiked or climed every single peak on the polish side of the Tatra mountains, and skied far too many lines for me to name. We were in the mountains last summer, and we spent several days of hiking pointing out the lines he skied the whole way.
The mountains have a dangerous microclimate, in which the weather can change on a second's notice. There was one night when he and his friend were returning to the shronisko after a ice climbing trip that ended in them stuck on the peak for several hours while the wind died down when a cloud dropped down to their level and they lost the trail. It was the middle of a blizzard and there were already several feet of snow on the trail. Though they only had about 25 minutes of slow hiking back to the shronisko, they were on their knees crawling around for four hours until daybreak, (by the way, the GOPR (local mountain rangers/ski patrol) had been searching since nightfall) and were only found once it began getting light.
My dad's friend (also my godfather, dude's awesome) got slightly dilusional and lost his glove after taking it off for some unknown reason that must have made sense at the time, and nearly lost his hand to frostbite. (Almost is an important word, he's an anesthesiologist now).
My dad stopped climbing and ice climbing as much in those mountains when his friend, freeclimbing, fell to his death on a relatively easy, but deceivingly slippery, traverse on Koscielec. He was 18 at the time.
When my dad was staying for a week or so, he'd find a cheap room to rent with three or four other guys (all close friends) on the opposite side of Zakopane from the mountains. They would wake up at 4AM every morning and begin the hike to the chairlift soon after- they had to cross town before they could go up, it usually took them 2 and a half hours from their room to the chairlift on a clear day. They'd ski all day, and then at the end of the day, ski back down. I don't know how it is now, but back then, snow plowing was done by hand, and there was always a hardpacked layer on top of the cobblestones in town. They could ski from the peak to the place they were staying, no matter where they stayed in town without hiking up. Get back at dusk, knock back a few beers, and go to bed early so they could wake up at 4AM again the next day. Life was good to my dad and his friends.
Anyway, cool stories aside, I reccomend staying in the shronisko in the Galsienicowa valley at least one night. The food is excellent, and the entire vibe is awesome- you'll never have another night like that in your life unless you do.
The snow is usually pretty icy, and in general bad, unless you happen upon a pow day. if it's supposed to snow overnight, stay in the shronisko so you can be on the mountain already in the morning. It's only a short hike (30 minutes if you have good legs and lungs) to the lift, which is now a fixed-grip quad, upgraded from the single.
If it's a pow day, you can expect excellent snow, since it stays cold.
Also, be aware and excited that all of the skiing is above treeline with the exception of the cat tracks that take you back to the village.
Another tip: try some local smoked goat cheese. I don't know how to spell it, but it's pronounced "Ostsipek". It's absolutely amazing. Anywhere you get it will be good, but if you can find a smoke hut (they'll be in the lower valleys, try the Chocholowa valley, I know there's one there. I don't know if they're operational in the winter, however I am under the impression that the local Batza lives there.) (the Batza is the local herder- in the times of old, he would live high up in the mountains in the summer and herd the whole village's sheep for them. His life was supported by the village as a whole, since he supported their herds for them. He usually owned a lot of the higher-elevation land and built places to stay the night for himself and the animals.
If your polish is flawless, you won't understand a word the Batza says unless you understand the local gwara. Trust me, you won't, ever, ever, ever understand it if you didn't grow up around it unless you live in Zakopane for many years.
My mom understands and speaks it though, so I've been able to experience the whole vibe of how it truly is for the locals. The batza is almost always old-looking and weathered, speaks with an incredible accent, sings traditional songs of the area like a fucking champ, knows the mountains better than anybody else, and can beat you from any point to any point, always. He knows the trails because he's been hiking them daily his entire life, and if you're lost, you want to be on his sympathy side-- Batzas are infamous for their sense of humor.
Here's a classic joke that grew from a story, roughly translated:
Traveler: Batza, how long is it to Chocholow?
Batza: Eh, 30 minutes
30 minutes later, the traveler doesn't see Chocholow anywhere nearby. He asks the Batza again, thinking maybe he doesn't have the legs of his youth anymore.
Batza replies, "Eh, 30 minutes"
Traveler thinks to himself, alright, then, I guess he does know the mountains so I should just follow him.
Another half hour passes, and he starts to wonder what's up.
He asks, "Batza, an hour ago you said it'd be a half hour, a half hour ago you said 30 minutes, and I still don't see Chocholow anywhere near us!"
And the Batza replies, "I never said I was going to Chocholow."
To put it in perspective, ask a local to tell you a Batza joke at some point. You cannot and will never appreciate how beautiful the way they speak ("gwara" is the name for it, in their way of speaking) until you hear it for yourself, in Zakopane, the Tatra mountains, or the Gorce, another mountain range.
Please try not to be cocky, you DID just mispronounce every word I wrote that was not english. Don't argue it, I don't care if you're fluent in polish. You pronounced them wrong. I can't get it right either, and I've been speaking polish my entire life.
the female situation in Tahoe is like parking spots... All the good ones are taken, and all the other ones are either handicapped or its illegal to park. [K.C. DEANE]