Bad Flinsberg - a First-class Winter Resort

2008-10-07 11:37:05
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Bad Flinsberg - a First-class Winter Resort
While the Izerskie Mts. were home to a number of significant locations offering opportunities for the pursuit of winter sports, the largest and most important winter sports resort in the northern part of the Izerskie Mts., and with it a spa, was Świeradów-Zdrój, or Bad Flinsberg (530-1,107 m). At the time Bad Flinsberg was the third-largest health resort in Germany with natural springs containing radon. The resort enjoyed a worldwide renown and numbered around 3,000 residents.

In the vicinity of the town were to be found superb expanses for skiing, two ski jumps, a bobsleigh run, toboggan runs both natural and artificial, a slalom slope and an ice rink. Residents and tourists alike could play ice hockey, Eisschießen (or ice stock sport, an old folk sport played chiefly on frozen ponds and small lakes, a sporting discipline similar to curling) and Skijöring (a type of winter sport consisting in a race over snow, in which skiers were drawn by animals, usually a single horse, but possibly also a sled dog team, or by vehicles, whether a motorcycle or snow scooter). All of this made Bad Flinsberg a first-class winter sports resort.

The Count Gotthard ski jump, located between the hostels of Waldbaude (today the guest house Czeszka) and Germaniabaude (no longer present) in the Steinbachtal valley (the Valley of the Mountain Stream), was the largest ski jump in northern Germany. The second ski jump, the Count Ludwig, allowed for jumps as great as 50 m.

The bobsleigh run from the mountain of Kaiserstuhl (800 m) to the Traditional Remedy Centre was 1,850 m in length with seven turns and a variation in height of 160 m. The artificial toboggan run from the Refuge Atop Mt. Stóg Izerski was 4½ km long and also came to an end by the Traditional Remedy Centre, while the Iserstraße from Izerska Meadow to the Deutscher Kaiser hotel, a length of street running 3½ km, served as a toboggan run and route for sleds. The skating rink had a surface area of 1,500 sq. m and was situated by the baths.

In addition to the winter sporting events for Christmas, there were the events of the Flinsberger Wintersportwochen which took place in February, with competitions in all disciplines. These competitions saw the participation of the best sportspeople of the Izerskie and Karkonosze Mts. and drew crowds of spectators. Information on any question relating to the competitions or to winter sports in general was provided by the Winter Sports Association in Bad Flinsberg. This association was also involved in such activities as the organization of skiing courses for beginners and the dispatch of meteorological announcements.

Also organized were skiing excursions to locations including Izerska Meadow (970 m), the Ludwigsbaude hostel (667 m), the village of Groß-Iser (829 m) and the much-frequented Refuge Atop Mt. Stóg Izerski (1,107 m). The excursions usually lasted an entire day, after dusk the 'wanderer on skis' resting and spending the night at an inn or hostel on the trail.

Besides the Refuge Atop Mt. Stóg Izerski, the most popular of the locations visited by skiers were Skihof Groß-Iser, the Zur Isermühle inn, the old and new Iserkammbaude, Schutzhaus on Smrek, the old Proxenbaude in Jakuszyce, Schneiders Erholungsbaude in Karlsthal, the Hoffnungstal hostel on the Izera River and Hochsteinhaus on the high Izerski Ridge.

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