Bukovel – a winter fairy tale
Something has materialized in the west of the Ukraine in recent years which can only be described as unprecedented and unbelievable. In the Ivano-Frankivsk region near the Polish border a new ski resort has literally appeared out of nowhere. Work began on developing the ski resort in 2001 in a place consisting only of forests at that time. Today Bukovel is the largest and most fashionable ski resort in Eastern Europe and is just as good as the big names in the ski world in every way.
There are currently 50 kilometers of slopes for exciting mountain descents and 16 lifts to take the ski enthusiasts right back up again. Around 12,000 (!) skiers visit the resort every day which is situated from 900 to 1372 m above sea level. There are 61 slopes of all degrees of difficulty to provide variety and thrills on the slopes. Visitors to Bukovel can be sure of excellent standards of organization and management. The west of the Ukraine is not naturally blessed with guaranteed snow. The climate is unsettled. Cold winters have been particularly frequent in past years but with little snowfall. In view of this situation the snow-making system of choice was one developed by TechnoAlpin. The brief was to extend and modernize the small existing system and to make it many times more productive. Building work began in the year 2006.
Due to the size of the ski resort, a large number of snow guns was installed in the first stage of expansion. Thus there were 250 lances of the A9 type generating snow in Bukovel. A new pumping plant, the PS200, supplies the lances with an output of 336 l/s and a compressor output of 250 m³ / min. In the last few years the system has been gradually expanded to include an additional 100 lances and 42 fan guns. In 2008 TechnoAlpin also automated the existing PS100 system. It now achieves an output of 160 l/s. The resort now has 353 lances and 42 TechnoAlpin fan guns in total. 700 pits have been installed making the ski resort 100% self-sufficient in snow generation.
Customized snow-making system
Like any other ski resort, Bukovel has its distinctive characteristics and needs a tailor-made solution. Due to the size of the system and the large number of snow guns, the equipment was divided and set up as two separate systems. Each system has its own pumping plant and its own version of the ATASS control software. The two parts each have their own independent water supply. 26 snow managers operate the system.
"Bukovel would not be what it is today without snow-making technology", said Alexander Shevchenko, manager of the resort. "There was never any guarantee of snow and therefore, naturally, a reluctance to make any investment". Now the ski resort is not only open during the day but also in the evenings until 8 pm. Bukovel is a success story which benefits the whole region. "Bukovel currently has accommodation for over 1500 people. This is not enough any more. There are plans for more hotels and some are already being built. There is a "Radisson" hotel being built at the moment. So the ski resort is also indirectly bringing new jobs to the region", added Shevchenko with a measure of pride. Bukovel has since made a name for itself as a health resort as well.
The Olympic dream
The same success which Alexander Shevchenko has had with his vision has also spurred him on to aim even higher. His dream is to see the Olympic Games in Bukovel in a few years. "We are working hard to develop the infrastructure and to keep improving the facilities", he said with reference to his goals. Two new multi-story car parks with 2,000 and 1,000 spaces are currently being built, for example, to cater for the growing number of visitors. Bukovel is also setting the bar high in terms of safety and boasts an excellently organized emergency center. There are also long-term plans for further lifts and slopes. "Our aim is to become one of the top 20 ski destinations in the world", said Shevchenko. "It may sound like we are setting our sights high but we are confident of coming up to the mark".