Bukovel ski resort
Bukovel ski resort is a new large ski resort in Ivano-Frankivsk oblast 30 km to the west of Yaremcha. It is Ukraine's first European-class resort, with a couple high-speed chair lifts, meticulously groomed slopes and snow-making machines, turnstyles for letting skiers through lines, and ubiquitous security personnel. It's unusual to see this degree of organization in Ukraine. Bukovel resort has been carefully planned to make skiing enjoyable and convenient and to avoid lift lines and congestion. Lift lines longer than five minutes are rare.
- See Bukovel webcams for an idea of current snow conditions.
- Map of Bukovel's slopes
Bukovel's ski slopes and season
There are 16 lifts and 60 km of runs. Bukovel's base elevation is nearly 900 m above sea level, and the highest ski lift rises to 1370 m, making Bukovel the second highest ski resort in Ukraine after Drahobrat. All categories of difficulty are available. There is a very long gradual slope that is perfect for beginners, a couple short tows for children and "super-beginners," all levels of intermediate runs, and several black diamonds. Night skiing is available from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., but currently only on one slope that is upper intermediate. Bukovel is growing rapidly, and new equipment and runs are being added each year. On the map provided, blue indicates slopes for beginners, red is for intermediates, and black marks advanced slopes.
Bukovel's ski season depends on climatic factors and is usually around the beginning of December to mid-April. However, during the disastrous 2011/12 season slopes only opened for good at the end of January. The resort usually opens its main slopes first — often for just the weekend — then gradually starts up all of its lifts as the season gets into gear. If snow melts they may temporarily close the lifts.
In this year they started making snow with new snow canons on main trails. Thus, the ski season can be start earlier and end later.
They plan to finish construction and put into operation transport tunnel connecting the by-pass road with car parking and roofed car parking for 200 vehicles with one of the ski lifts. The basement premises of this parking are meant for shops, cafes, Rent-a-Ski station, branch bank, information center and many other facilities.
Bukovel lift passes and prices, winter 2012 season
All prices are in Hryvnias. 8 Hryvnias = 1 USD.
Dec 30 - Jan 8
Daytime skiing (8.30 am - 4.30 pm)
|1 lift ride*
|1 lift ride**
|5 days out of 7
|10 days out of 14
Evening skiing (4.30 pm - 7.30 pm, lifts IR, 2R, 7)
|1 lift ride
|10 lift rides
* for regular lifts and tow lifts
** for multilifts
With all the new infrastructure, prices at Bukovel are understandably higher than elsewhere in Ukraine. Lift passes can be bought in several places around the bases of the mountains and can be used by anyone, so you could theoretically give your pass to someone else in your group while you take a break during the day. There are also lift passes available for a certain number of rides (10, 100, etc.).
Skis, snowboards, snowblades, and helmets are available for rent at Bukovel at 11 different locations from 7:00 am to 6 pm (till 8 pm opposite the hotel "Shelter", rental center №2. Bukovel offers the best ski and snowboarding equipment. All skis are 2-3 years old max and are in excellent condition. The cheapest (and most popular) set costs 70 UAH on weekdays and 85 UAH on weekends (Fri-Sun) (2011/12 prices), or $9 and $11 USD, respectively. The best skis cost 220 UAH ($27) on weekdays and 325 UAH ($40) on weekends. Equipment can be rented for up to 7 days, with the price per day going down substantially the longer you rent it for. Bukovel keeps its ski equipment new by selling off older equipment in the second of each ski season.
In addition, there are snowmobiles, cross-country skis, and snow tubes available for rent.
Each person who rents skis must leave a passport or driver's license — or leave a deposit of $500 USD. I know a sad story where a guy came all the way to Bukovel to ski and could not rent anything because he didn't think to bring his passport and didn't have $500. Don't forget to bring your passport!
Facilities and entertainment
Nice bathrooms, showers, changing rooms, and lockers at all ski rental points
Sport & Fun store (ski clothing and accessories)
Bukovel discotheque (dancing, alcoholic drinks, etc.)
Ice skating rink. Work hours from 9.00 am till 12 pm (Every 45 minutes there is a 15 minutes break for the service of rink surface)
Bukovel fitness center: gym (with trainers), sauna, massage parlor
Sightseeing tours to interesting places within a 1.5 hour drive from Bukovel
Bukovel ski school
Bukovel's ski and snowboard instructors are prepared to teach any level. The ski school operates every day from 9 am to 5 pm at the bottom of the double chair lift at the center of the resort. A group lesson runs at 9 am and continue 2 hours. It costs 160 UAH ($20 USD per person). Children's groups are also available (ages 4 to 12). Individual instruction is possible for a higher price.
There is also a children's ski playground designed to help kids learn the basics of skiing through games, equipment, and a fun atmosphere. Parents can leave their kids there with instructors.
Food at Bukovel
Bukovel has several restaurants, bars, cafes, and fast food joints in convenient locations. Prices are rather high by Ukrainian standards, but the service and dining are excellent. There are places where you can snack standing up between ski runs and places where you can dine sitting down in a cozy and warm interior.
Bukovel location and transportation
Ukraine's ski infrastructure is still in infant stage, and a trip to a ski resort — Bukovel included — typically involves several transportation stages. Moreover, Bukovel is located on the edge of a poorly developed village — Palianytsia — where there are just a couple shops with basic staple goods for locals and a growing assortment of small private inns with basic amenities. There is really nothing to do outside these bed & breakfast inns in Paliantysa, but Bukovel resort is building up the infrastructure for a decent après ski experience.
Most visitors drive their own cars or take the train into Ivano-Frankivsk, the nearest major transportation hub. Many international visitors fly into Lviv and order an airport transfer or take the local bus to Bukovel.
Getting to Bukovel by car
Bukovel may be reached from the west (Uzhhorod, Mukachevo, etc.) as well as the east (Ivano-Frankivsk) via the P-03. Visitors from Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania will want to come in from the west, but all others will find it easier to reach Bukovel from the east (via Ivano-Frankivsk unless you are coming from Chernivtsi or Kolomyia).
The turnoff from the P-03 is exactly half-way between the villages of Yablunytsia and Tatariv. Yablunytsia is just to the east of the 921 m pass over the main Carpathian ridge. If you are driving west from Ivano-Frankivsk, you will turn right and drive up a nicely paved road to the village of Palianytsia (less than 5 km). Bukovel resort is located at the far end of this village and has a large guarded parking area.
Traffic jams are an occasional problem on the access road, but it is kept clear of snow, and chains are not required.
Bukovel may be reached by bus from the following cities: Ivano-Frankivsk (110 km, or around 1.5 hours), Lviv (245 km, or about 3.5 hours), Ternopil (250 km), and Chernivtsi (255 km). Buses leave from the area in front of or next to the central train station (unconfirmed for Chernivtsi) and are generally timed for connecting with trains.
The nearest airport in Ivano-Frankivsk only has flights to and from Kiev (see timetable for more information), while Lviv has a number of international connections at its growing airport: Athens, Frankfurt, Kiev, Madrid, Moscow, Naples, Rome, Timisoara, and Warsaw (see timetable).
Visit our page on transportation for a timetable of domestic flights from Kiev to Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk.
Bukovel photo gallery
* click photos to enlarge in separate window