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Night view of Tatra Mountains from Bukowina TatrzanskaCopyright 2013 Paweł Gabryelewicz

Winter sports needn't end in the afternoon, and skiing after dark might turn out equally as exciting as by daylight.

1. Shorter lift queues

Most ski fans tend to have had their fill by late afternoon. It is then when the majority leaves for dinner and a well-earned rest. Perhaps somewhat ironically, this makes it an ideal time to return. Some even tend to wait (or sleep) through the first half of day to hit the slopes by the spotlights. An evening ride means less time wasted standing around in queues - especially in highly popular resorts - and that means more time spent skiing!

2. Better snow

It might seem that after a whole day the snow on the slopes would leave much to be desired. However, the whimsical weather nowadays means that the evening might be the only time to ski in subzero temperatures. Those give the snow much more desirable properties, so, especially after a warm day, we get a chance to reach higher speeds than otherwise.

3. Better visibility

Once darkness falls, it becomes easier to see the shape of the slope. The multitude of spotlights' angles makes every bump and bend easier to spot. A well-lit slope often offers better visibility than an afternoon sun, when shadows make everything turn the same shade. This makes an evening ride safer, both due to improved visibility and the lower amount of people on the slope.

Where to go for evening skiing?

The place with most lit slopes seems to be Poland. The majority of resorts offer evening rides, with some allowing skiing up to 10PM - the record-setters here being Białka Tatrzańska and Zieleniec. It should be mentioned that in Białka every single slope offers evening rides, making this resort a leader in this choice of skiing.

Poland's southern neighbours are not as committed - out of all TMR resorts only Jasná Chopok offers any kind of evening skiing. Even then, this only pertains to one piste (Biela Púť), which will satisfy only the less discriminating winter sports enthusiasts (and even then only in high season). Most european resorts seem uninterested in offering the evening option as standard - chosen lit slopes are usually a special offer with a separate skipass. For example, Davos-Klosters allows evening skiing only on Wednesdays and Fridays between 7PM-11PM (Rinerhorn), and Paganella on Tuesdays and Fridays between 7:30PM-10:30PM (here though starting from the 2015/2016 season the multi-day skipasses include this offer and there is no need to buy the separate €17,00 pass). The situation is similar in other resorts, including the austrian ones.

This makes Poland a reasonable alternative, especially on short trips when every minute on the slope counts - plan your winter holidays today!

Author:Paweł Gabryelewicz
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