Your own locomotion across snow-covered terrain. Could there be a better way to spend the day?
Winter in Kyiv can be a difficult time. Cold weather, minimal sunlight, shorter days… So many reasons to feel the winter blues. The most common way to beat them is a change of scenery. An escape to warmer climes might be the first thing that springs to mind, but we have another suggestion: give cross-country skiing a try. It is fun, healthy, and it definitely won’t hurt your budget. With skis on, we assure you Kyiv will help you learn to like winter.
Cross-country skiing is on the rise globally in wintery urban areas, becoming a way to enjoy outdoor activity during the colder seasons. In Ukraine, it still basks in the glow of nostalgia. Once, the only way to glide through the snow, cross-country skiing now stands in the shadow of its popular cousin, alpine skiing. For those of us in Kyiv, if we look at the pros and cons, the Carpathian mountains are far away, the few ski slopes that are there are always overcrowded and Kyiv – with its numerous parks, forest territories in the surrounding countryside, and predominantly natural flat surfaces – is an ideal playground for cross-country skiing. And you don’t need to pay for ski passes.
Every experienced skier will assert cross-country skiing is a fast and thrilling ski sport. And it can be for you too, as putting a little effort into learning the technique will reward you with a feeling akin to flying on skis! If you are less dependent on speed and adrenaline, you could stick more to this classical style of skiing. This technique is easier to learn, and every newbie can start with at least basic ski-moves. This should be adequate for setting off on your own with gentle glides through the parks and open areas of Kyiv, giving you a different perspective of the city during winter. Just don’t be discouraged when you end up face down in the snow: it isn’t painful, it’s part of the game of learning just to balance on skis. The rest is up to you! You can cross-country ski as a social activity in a group, with family, your dog, or peacefully and quietly alone in the snow-covered landscapes.
If you still feel hesitant and unsure about whether you want to give it a go, the fact that cross-country skiing is one of the healthiest winter sports should help convince you. It uses almost 85% of the body’s muscles, minimising pressure and impact on the joints, is a fantastic way of staying fit, and has a significant effect on the body’s cardiovascular system. And it’s a perfect way of recovering from the stress of everyday life.
Whether you’re an experienced skier or a beginner who wants to give the sport a try, check out the most exciting and challenging cross-country ski courses and for-hire services all over Kyiv. The cost of renting ski gear (skis, boots, and poles) varies from place to place but 100 UAH per hour is the most common price.
For beginners, the Youth Sports School №15 (Детско-юношская спортивная школа №15) is the place to start your cross-country skiing experience. It provides two groomed ski trails nearly 5 km long, affordable rentals of all necessary equipment, and the possibility to hire an instructor. Once you find yourself more confident on skis, you could explore the nearby territory of Holosiivskiy Park.
+380 677 890 921
For more dedicated cross-country skiers, the territory of Babyn Yar is home to a 3 km long demanding cross-country ski trail organised and groomed by members of the triathlon club Triatman and FB group Cross-country Skis Kyiv.
Across Pivnichniy Bridge, still on Truhaniv island, within the Zenith sports zone is Amigos tours – a cool rental place in a great location with a wide range of equipment. Unlike Druzhbi Narodiv, this part of the island is covered by trees and skiing trails are used for mountain biking, which means rough terrain with lots of slopes guaranteeing an excellent whole body workout.
Trukhanivska – Zenith Sports Centre
+380 665 129 555
On the opposite side of Holosiivskiy Park, closer to downtown and Holosiivskiy Prospekt avenue, is Bikemotiv, another place for affordable rentals. With two 3 km long loop trails nearby, the flat with gentle slopes territory of the park is a considerable attempt for any after-work outdoor ski activity in the centre of Kyiv.
Henerala Rodymtseva 11
+380 672 593 393
A major event on the cross-country skiing calendar is the Kyiv Diplomatic Cup of Nordic skiing. With the first cup organised in 2015, it brings together representatives of diplomatic missions, international companies, state ministries, government departments, cross-country skiing lovers, and amateurs alike. It takes place every year on the last Sunday of January on the territory of the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute Park (KPI) near the Kyiv Zoo. More information on the forthcoming diplomatic cup can be found on the official website and facebook page of the Ukrainian Ski Club.
Kyiv Polytechnic Institute Park
If you feel like exploring out of Kyiv, there is a specialised rental business situated in Pushcha-Vodytsya. Once there and skiing you will gain an intensive country experience in winter. The track dubbed the “Route of Health” is almost 12 km long, with a starting point near the tram station Spetsdyspanser, and is highly recommended for all cross country enthusiasts.
Fedora Maximenko 78, Pushcha-Vodytsya
Druzhby Narodiv Park
Another option for renting ski equipment is Extreme Park, an amusement centre in Druzhby Narodiv Park on Truhaniv Island. Cross-country skiing here will certainly challenge you! Over 20 km of the flat and stripped territory is designed for skiers of all levels, but excellent for beginners and families with kids.
Druzhby Narodiv Park
+380 63 1 362 585