On 14-15 January 2017, the City of Zakopane – for the sixth time already – organized
World Snow Day. This year, our festivities lasted two days, during which we ensured a great many attractions as well as introduced a few novelties to our program for our youngest residents, tourists and their families.
According to our long WSD communication strategy, we started meeting with school and pre-school principals as early as in November, in order to inform them about the new concept of the event as well as to gather any comments concerning the organization of the next edition of World Snow Day. As in previous editions, a month before the event, a thematic call was also announced referring to the idea of World Snow Day, however, this time it instead of an arts contest, a literary one was held. Children were given the task of writing a poem thematically relating to winter and the celebration of 6th edition of our event. Winners of the contest were presented with prizes in the form of free ski-passes and waterpark admission tickets, while the award-winners received gifts from the Tatra Mountains National Park. All prize and award winning poems as well as the World Snow Day 2017 song were beautifully prepared in terms of graphics and published in the form of a brochure, which children received on 15 January 2017.
WSD 2017 Song
It has already become a tradition that one of our partners writes a new song lyric for each World Snow Day, which is sang together at the start and at the end of our fun event. This year Mr. Marek was unable to participate in person and publically sing his composition, so we organized a filming crew, which met Mr. Marek and recorded his performance a few days beforehand. The recording was played during the main celebrations of WSD and it is also perpetuated in our film production.
On 10 January 2017, we organized a press conference, to which the local media had been invited. During the conference, the event plan was presented, all information pertaining to the planned sports competitions, starting times and enrollment information given. All journalists received official accreditations for World Snow Day (it is a very serious event, so journalists are treated seriously as well) and an information package recorded on USB flash drives with WSD logo. All our partners, who answered journalists’ questions, also took part in the conference. Two weeks before the event, posters were distributed among our Zakopane schools and pre-schools, informing about the time and place of the event. The posters were also hung in the main spots of the city. E-mails with the information package were also sent out to our sport clubs along with a request to inform their members about the World Snow Day. Up-to-date information also appeared on the Zakopane City Hall website, where a special WSD section has been created as well as on World Snow Day Zakopane Facebook.
Apart from the previously mentioned literary contest as well as the new two-day form of the event, also the venue, where the main World Snow Day celebrations were held, was new.
We decided to relocate the event to the center of the city, to Górna Rówień Krupowa, so that the snow city could be visited by possibility the largest number of people. At the Górna Rówień Krupowa, there is a cross-country ski course with artificial snow canon as well as there are two heaped up snow hills for children, which we absolutely wanted to use organizing World Snow Day. This year, apart from the usual educational booths of our partners TPN, TOPR, SITN and Zakopane Police, the National Police Headquarters from Warsaw joined us as well. Thanks to our several-year activity, in cooperation with the local police, World Snow Day has become the flagship educational event popularizing safety on ski slopes. This has been noticed by the National Police Headquarters, which resolved to inaugurate their nationwide program entitled “Together for the Safety on Ski Slopes” during our celebrations in Zakopane. The goal of the project is to promote responsible attitudes among skiers and snowboarders, broadening their knowledge on legal liability associated with the violation of regulations in force on ski slopes as well as promotion of the FIS Regulations Decalogue. Among new booths, an ecology booth was organized by the employees of the Environment Protection Department, Zakopane City Hall. This booth had two major tasks – educating our youth on how to properly segregate waste, so as possibly the largest amount of it can later be recycled. The other task was to remind the owners of dogs to pick up their pets’ droppings. On daily basis, Rówień Krupowa is a place where dogs are brought for a walk, so distributing especially prepared dog packages met with great reception. Within the framework of pursuing novelties and changes, this year, we also decided to create an entirely new graphic design of all our materials informing about the event. Very pretty new graphic designs, which by their owner’s permission we used in our materials, appeared also on the official Facebook profile of World Snow Day.
Also, two new sports activities were added to the regular elements of the event:
- a ski touring trip for kids
- a trip to the Avalanche Center in Kalatówki.
SKI TOURING TRIP FOR KIDS
Owing to the fact that ski touring is becoming more and more popular, currently almost every company producing ski equipment has in its offer skis and bindings designed for ski touring. We have resolved to use World Snow Day to propagate this form of activity also among children as well as to convince their parents that they can take their kids on ski touring trips with them. The trip was intended for children over the age of 12, familiar with downhill skiing. The group was led by a person who oversees the Freeski Mountaineering Youth Group of Polish Mountaineering Association on daily basis, as well as a professional Tatra Mountains guide being at the same time an doctor orthopedist. Sets of ski touring equipment (skis, ski skins, poles) were made available free of charge by the best equipped ski rental facility in Zakopane, Yurta Ski Touring Test Center, belonging to the best known freeski mountaineering and mountain running race competitor – Przemek Sobczyk. The trip was intended for the maximum of number of eight children, but we had eleven participants in total with six accompanying parents. Since ski touring is connected with leaving the safe ski routes, we want to educate children from their earliest years on threats, which they may be confronted with in the mountains. Due to the fact, the plan of the trip included – among others – avalanche training at the Avalanche Center in Kalatówki, which was carried out by a rescuer of the Tatra Mountains Volunteer Rescue Service. Children saw and tried to use an avalanche detector, snow probing and an avalanche backpack. Thanks to the PTTK Kalatówki mountain hotel manager’s kindness all participants were invited to free tea and apple pie. At the end of the trip, each of the young participants received the World Snow Day medal, diploma and a package of gifts from the organizer. It was an unusual adventure for the children, and questions about the next such trip were the best proof that children enjoyed it very much. All adults engaged in organizing and holding the trip worked free of charge.
TRIP TO THE AVANCHE CENTER IN KALATÓWKI
Ever since the first edition of World Snow Day in Zakopane, elements we have been focusing on with particular attention are always winter safety in mountains as well as natural mountain environment protection. Our assumption is that „what youth is used to, age remembers”. Due to the fact, this year, as an additional educational attraction, we organized a free trip for children and adults to the Avalanche Center in Kalatówki. The trip was led by a professional Tatra Mountains guide, being also an employee of the National Tatra Mountains Park. Apart from individuals, we had invited children from the Zakopane Children’s Home to participate. During the trip, the guide instructed the participants of the basic knowledge concerning winter threats in the Tatra Mountains as well as how to interpret avalanche announcements. In Kalatówki, all participants could see what an avalanche set looks like as well as tried their skills in an educational game at a training avalanche site using detectors and avalanche probes.
MAIN CELEBRATIONS OF WSD
Main celebrations of World Snow Day were divided into two days. On 14 January 2017 (Saturday), the event was held at the Nosal ski slope with the total of 150 competitors, who took part in the downhill and ski jumping competitions. The number included 8 charges of the Handicap Foundations in Zakopane. In the fifth edition of WSD in Zakopane, we added another key word “integrate” to the three basic ones: enjoy, explore, experience. This year, once again, we had invited the Foundation charges, including children with motor and mental disabilities, to World Snow Day and organized a competition especially for them, as well. Children interested in skiing could, between 10:00 and 14:00, take skiing lessons free of charge, which were conducted by the instructors from STRAMA Ski School in Zakopane.
In order to encourage the participants of Saturday competitions to also take part in Sunday events, we decided to award all prizes and cups for the best three positions in the respective categories during the official celebrations of World Snow Day. It was also on Saturday, that the aforementioned ski touring trip for kids as well as the trip to the Avalanche Center took place.
On Sunday, 15 January 2017, we celebrated pompously World Snow Day in the center of Zakopane. As in the previous five editions, everything was prepared with reference to the three main WSD key words.
At Górna Rówń Krupowa a snow city was erected with a large stage in the central spot as well as our partners’ educational booths. On the stage, throughout the day, there was lots of fun with the animators, school groups and theaters for children. All ceremonies also took place on the stage – official opening ceremony, awarding ceremony for the literary contest as well as for the sports competitions in ski jumping, cross country and downhill skiing.
In the aforementioned educational section, there were booth of our permanent partners, namely the Tatra Volunteer Rescue Service (TOPR), Tatra National Park (TPN), Association of Skiing Instructors and Coaches (SITN) as well as police. TOPR rescuers conducted a simulated rescue action with the children and taught them what is and how to use avalanche equipment, by means of numerous games and contests educated children on all sorts of nature-related topics, on forces influencing the Tatra Mountains environment and animals, children were able to pass the “snowy trail” completing various special tasks on their way, SITN instructors informed the youngest how to prepare well for the skiing season, while Zakopane Police and the National Police Headquarters officials educated children on how to spend winter holidays safely. Additionally, National Police Headquarters representatives promoted their new nationwide campaign entitled “together for safety on ski slopes”. Educational section included also the aforementioned ecology booth.
All around the ‘winter city’ every possible sports activities were located.
CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING COMPETITION
The main point on the agenda was the cross-country competition. Over 100 competitors took part in the event! Also, the children from Handicap Foundation in Zakopane took part in the competition.
CROSS-COUNTRY CROSS COURSE
Teachers and students of the Zakopane School of Sports Championship, whose graduates include, among others, Kamil Stoch and Justyna Kowalczyk, prepared a special obstacle course intended to master skiing skills. XCX is a relatively new sports discipline, which gained immense popularity among Zakopane children and youths. Kinds wanted to pass over obstacles indefinitely, and queues formed in front of starting line all the time!
CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN
Participants of World Snow Day, who had never had cross-country skis on their feet, had a unique chance to spend pleasant moments with cross-country skiing instructors and be taught cross-country skiing free of charge. SITN instructors taught all interested children for free.
OPPORTUNITY TO RENT CROSS-COUNTRY SKIS FOR CHILDREN FOR FREE
The interested children also had an opportunity to rent cross-country skis for free. Within the framework of cooperation with the local elementary schools, which received sports equipment from the City Hall every year, physical education teachers along with volunteers from every school prepared three ski rental booths. At these booths, parents could rent school skis for their children, who wanted to start their adventure with cross-country skiing.
SNOW HILL FOR THE YOUNGEST
At children’s disposal, there was also a snow hill, on which the youngest ones could use sliding pan sledge. Our Zakopane teachers of physical education also made sure that there were enough sports games for children.
All children with WSD medal could access the ice rink for free as well as rent skates free of charge. Physical education teachers prepared games, so there was no room for boredom and kids played games, had fun taking part in competitions and there was also skating class for ones willing to learn to skate.
”FUNNY SKI” COMPETITION
At 13.00, team competition started whose goal was to cover a distance in the shortest possible time on jumping skis with binding for maximum of four people. This competition brought lost of joy to all participants, not just kids!
Every participant of games and sports competitions held on Saturday and Sunday received a gold medal for participation in World Snow Day!
LEND A HELPING HAND!
In 2015 during the fourth edition of WSD, we added another key word to the three basic ones – HELP! Regional Center for Blood Donors and Hemotherapy in Kraków, which ran a blood donation campaign. Zakopane Blood Donor Center was with us for the third time already, and on 15 January 2017, all willing persons could donate blood in a comfortable, especially prepared for this purpose, room of the Zakopane City Hall.
PRIZES AND SUPPORT
ALPINSPORT form was with us for yet another time, again funding valuable material prizes, which were distributed as prizes in sports competitions. The Tatra Ski Association funded entry tickets for Ski Jumping World Cup in Zakopane, which were used as prizes in sports competitions as well as rewards for volunteers assisting in the organization of the 6th Edition of World Snow Day in Zakopane. Yurta Ski Touring Test Center in Kuźnice offered to provide equipment and organize a ski touring trip for children free of charge. Strama Skiing School in Zakopane donated ski passes, and Waterpark Zakopane funded family entry tickets for the winners of the literary contest. PTTK Mountain Hotel Kalatówki provided hot tea and apple pie for the participants of the ski tour trip, while Samanta Zakopane donated free doughnuts during Saturday and Sunday games.
Altogether 150 people worked on the organization of WSD. Traditionally, in February, we are going to prepare a meeting during which city authorities will personally thank everyone for their cooperation and award special thanks with small gifts. A short film production has been prepared reporting the event, which we all are going to watch reliving again the emotions connected with our favorite event!
Special Offers- Free skis snowboards use
- Free ski passes
- Free ski snowboard lessons
- Free entry tickets
- Free food and drink
- Free gifts and prizes
Other Special OffersFree ski touring trip for kids, free avalanche trainingCross Country Cross Competition"Funny ski" competitionThe Winners CeremonyLink to event video: youtu.be/SOV4tC_bwmE