42nd Festival of Cross-Country Skiing, “Bieg Piastow”, Szklarska Poreba (24/02/18 – 04/03/18)
The renowned “Bieg Piastow” Festival is the oldest and largest skiing event in Poland with several thousand participants of different ages from both Poland and abroad. The event is organised by the “Bieg Piastow” Association which also owns “Polana Jakuszycka” where the event is held.
Two pavilions have been built on the 3 hectare plot with the necessary infrastructure for running cross-country skiing competitions and include changing facilities for the participants, a time measurement facility, arbitrator and commentator suites, a ski equipment rental shop, a cafe and administrative offices. There is also a biathlon shooting range on the site. Szklarska Poreba in Lower Silesia, in south-western Poland, is the nearest town and a popular resort in its own right. An important regional and national centre for mountain hiking, cycling and skiing, Szklarska Poreba is situated in the Sudety Mountains, about 16 miles (26 kilometres) south-west of the city of Jelenia Gora. The ski resorts in this area are growing in popularity as a budget alternative to the Alps, thanks to wide range of both Alpine and Nordic skiing facilities. For more than 10 years, the “Bieg Piastow” facility has been the only cross-country skiing resort in Poland that has been awarded worldwide FIS approval for its major runs. This is particularly important as this certification is necessary to apply to stage events such as the World Skiing Championships, the World Cup or the Continental Cup. Held for the first time in 1976, the event then attracted just over 500 participants. Since then the number of participants has systematically increased, apart from once during martial law, as well as the reputation of the race itself. In 1995, the “Bieg Piastow” achieved its most significant distinction when it was included in the European Long-Distance Cross-Country skiing League, the Euroloppet, featuring twelve skiing events in eight European countries. The festival kicks off on Friday with the Karkonosze Cross-country Ski Run of Children and Teenagers called the Little Piast Run while the main race, over a distance of 50 kilometres using the classic technique, is held on the Saturday.