Reasons why to choose Dragobrat over Bukovel

At the moment you need to choose where to go skiing in Ukraine you normally end up selecting between two resorts – Bukovel or Dragobrat. Choosing one of those is the same as discussing who is stronger – Chuck Norris or Arnold Schwarzenegger. There is no right answer, however every resort has its own particularities and suits to people’s respected needs.

Bukovel and Dragobrat have opposite stories of development and this gives them own atmosphere riders from all the Ukraine and other countries pursue. Bukovel was founded in 2001 from agreement between private companies, which aimed to create a recreational center. Visitors number per year grew from 20 thousand to more than million to recent years. At the same time history of Dragobrat started at the beginning of the XX century. At that time anyone dreamed about modern ski lifts and the main building near first primitive lift was called avalanche laboratory. Nowadays both resorts are ready to receive most demanding visitors, however there are reasons behind why people go to Dragobrat and not to Bukovel.

1. One of the first reasons you might hear why people come to Dragobrat is the spirit of place. It developed all through the 20th century by the first Ukrainian ski enthusiasts. These were times when skiers personally knew each other and celebrated their unity in freeride and common passion. Till nowadays Dragobrat has a special sense of community, where people come to wake up from monotonous every day routine and to enjoy the divine rides and slopes. On the opposite quite often Bukovel gives an impression of a place, where people come to show off and party hard.

2. Dragobrat is much cheaper than Bukovel. With decent budget it is possible to live and ride in Dragobrat, while Bukovel will cost you sometimes few times more with a hotspot location right next to the slopes. Being in Dragobrat you sometimes will not find the maximum variety of services but you will be sure about paying the fair price.

3. Despite considered as equally famous in the riders circles these resorts have different geographical positions. Bukovel with lower altitudes compensates absence of snow with special cannons. Imagine yourself in a hi-tech ski centre, where snow is generated and distributed along the hills with snowcats. The temperature is above zero but the hills are white and full of riders. At the same time in Dragobrat, which is few hundred meters higher in the mountains desperate freeriders meander through the fields of untouched natural snow.

4. Dragobrat is a Mecca for freeriders and lovers of wild nature. Moreover, no one will annul your skipass for going offroad. This is the so called freedom and at the same time responsibility of Dragobrat. Very true and traditional riders often climb by foot another hour to Gandarms, Blyznytsia, or Stih mounts and enjoy the free ride along the white slopes. It should be mentioned that this type of skiing requires specific skills otherwise you will be trying to twitch yourself out from deep snowdrifts, which sometimes can be up to five meters deep.

5. In most cases the commuting to Ukrainian ski resorts will lead you through the national trains but at the last stage your getting to the Dragobrat resort will inevitably finish with climbing almost vertical hill in a Soviet style track. Of course this will not be considered as advantage by the most of ‘sofa’ riders but at the same time it is one of the few occasions to show respect to the mountains by climbing in a similar style to first riders, when they walked up the mountains.

6. At the village Kvasy close to Dragobrat you may find more than hundred mineral water wells. Sometimes they are not even on the map. Just ask any local about mineral water and you will have all directions and as well priceless experience of interaction with local community. Another local attraction is Pietros mount with 2020 meters high. It is hardly suitable for the ride but winter hike to the top of the highest Ukrainian mountains will be a benchmark for many of your following trips.

7. If you decide to visit Dragobrat in May there is a unique chance for the whole country, that hills will be still covered by snow. If you scroll the social media from this location you will often see people skiing in T-Shirts or even in swimming suits.

The choice between Bukovel and Dragobrat is often related to the desired experienced. As mentioned before Dragobrat is not a place for huge parties and concerts. Instead it is of a shelter atmosphere, where people from all country find peace, joy of offline talks, laughs, and family warmth.

The revival of Dragobrat happened in 1993. Before that year it was a leisure place for Soviet elite but collapse of the union prevented further progress. Ex-athlete and coach Yuriy Bidnyi was the one who gave the second breath to the place in 90s. In few years the resort got first infrastructure and starting from 2000s Dragobrat became popular amongst foreign riders, eager to explore the new blue oceans of skiing.

Selecting Dragobrat over other destination for the winter holiday might not be a win for everyone. But if you search for atmosphere and emotions than the experience you get there will be unique, true, and bright.

The article uses photos by Tetiana Liashenko.


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