Backcountry skiing in Dragobrat

There is more than one reason people chose to go for backcountry skiing during the winter holiday. One is tired of spending hours of waiting in a line for going uphill, while the other loves more nature and fewer people around while skiing.

It is worth saying backcountry skiing got a powerful acceleration during last decades. Ukraine here is not an exception. More and more spots are detected in Carpathian mountains, where all ages riders rush down along the snow pistes. Nowadays the equipment producers created an abundance, a “Colorado region” for backcountry riders offering various riding stuff. This increased the ride safety and the available equipment solutions for the riders.

In its routes backcountry riding refers to riding in the area, which is remote, undeveloped, or difficult to access. This area can be both inside and outside of the ski resort. However, it will be in most of the cases unmarked and unpatrolled space. Here as never, the safety of the skier is the own responsibility. Every experienced backcountry skier apart from GoPro, warm drinks and energy bars will step on track with the must-have trinity of rider – beacon, shovel, probe. Do not worry, few tips from the instructor and respectful skiing, a huge dose of positive energy from the free ride is guaranteed to everyone.

So what are the ways of getting to the remote and isolated places? Ukrainian Carpathians offer several types of spots for the backcountry riding.

Depending on the way of getting to the top of the hill there are various styles of the backcountry. A newbie will pick the ski tour to start with. Such technique will take you on a pleasant walk through the mountains, where going uphill is not a problem with skis. Fresh air, physical exercise, breathtaking Carpathian views, small downhills are the must-have attributes of ski touring. This exercise is possible almost everywhere in the Carpathians. You just need snow, skis, and a person who knows the road.

If you are more experienced, motivated, and risky – freeride is definitely an option. Freeride is literally a free downhill through the off-resort tracks. Using the ski touring technique you will get to the top of the remote and almost empty hills and mounts. Afterwards – down. Long way down.

The famous principle of the freeride is that more remote you go fewer people are on the hills. The Carpathians with this regard offer two options – leaving in a high-altitude village and going radial trips to the surrounding peaks (Dragobrat) or living in a base camp on 1000 meters altitude and going to the most remote hills (Dzembronia).

Dragobrat is more civilized, with fewer forest areas, and high in mountains. Getting to Dragobrat is relatively easy by a Soviet-style track from the main road near the Yasynia village. On the opposite the way to Dzembronia base camp is a few hours walk starting in Verhovyna or other surrounding villages. The local type of dogs will assist you by pulling the sleigh with the luggage and the instructors will bring you straight to the point of the base camp.

Freeride in the Carpathians may be one of those unforgettable experiences of your life. Here you consciously neglect all the progress of modern ski resorts to stay face-to-face with nature. Winter Carpathians are genuinely one of the most picturesque spots all over the country.

In case you would like to stay more in your comfort zone there is a solution, which is called side country. This means you use the resort infrastructure – ski lifts or snowcats to step a bit further in the direction of white and empty. You lift uphill and everyone goes down but not you. Another few kilometers will bring you to hidden slopes, where all your skiing passion might double or triple.

With this regards, Dragobrat is a perfect solution – situated high in the mountains it allows to step few steps aside (ski tour, snowcat, ski lift) and to be already in perfect side country skiing location.

Despite the total amount of resort alpine skiing kilometers in Ukraine is relatively small it does not mean the bad quality of skiing. This number does not affect backcountry riders. Divine, vast snow slopes and fields create a unique opportunity for riders from all over the world. Off-piste rides in the Ukrainian part of Carpathian mountains is something often undervalued and hidden. Thus, those few courageous take the best from the true and natural form of going down a snow slope having a handful of breathtaking emotions.

As often there is an informal competition between two. This time it goes around the question “What is the best spot for the backcountry?”. The candidates are Dragobrat and Dzembronia. And as usual it is hard to get the winner. The sites are different and suit well for people with different search requests.


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