ONE OF Slovakia’s specialty sports is competing in racing old-fashioned sleighs: “krňačky” or “krnohe” or “krnohy” or “krnaky” or “krne”. Take your pick of the names as they all describe a bigger kind of sleigh made of a curved piece of wood, called samorast (self-growth in Slovak) or krnáč in a local dialect. The sleigh is made solely of wood, without any kind of metal parts. In mountainous regions of Slovakia, especially in central Slovakia, this type of sleigh was used to transport wood from forests, and hay from steep mountain meadows to more accessible places. The sleighs were brought to Slovakia from the Tyrol region of Austria by lumbermen who had been invited to do so by the Earls’ Chamber.
Their popularity was revived several years ago when sport fans started competing in races with them. Most of the enthusiasts of this adrenalin-pumping sport can be found in the Horehronie region and around Banská Bystrica and Zvolen.
Previous smaller krňačky competitions have evolved into the Slovak Cup in Krňačky Racing but, unfortunately, several races were cancelled or postponed due to unfavourable weather earlier in the year. For example, the races planned in Heľpa and Pohronská Polhora were called off and the one in Čierny Balog officially called the Balocké krnohe took place on February 7 instead of January 10. In Ski Centrum Kordíky, the 1,300 metre-long course with a vertical drop of more than 130 metres welcomed 30 two-member teams on January 30.
In the Urbanov vrch ski resort near Čierny Balog almost 30 teams participated and winners Peter Stieranka and Pavol Zluky came from the Premost Brezno club. They finished this track, with a length of more than 1,400 metres and a vertical drop of 280 metres, in one minute 55 seconds. The second team to cross the finish line were Pavel Siman and Vladimír Siman from Heľpa, and the third team consisted of Martin Babjak and Ľubomír Hrčka from the Stress Podzámčok club. The team of Stieranka and Zluky also won on February 6 near Beňuša in Brezno district and again on January 30 at Kordíky
But not just men compete in this Slovak Cup as there are also women-only and mixed teams. From among the women, the best were Simona Hrončeková and Zuzana Tkáčiková from Heľpa, and the best mixed team consisted of Ján Bartošík and Jana Palovčíková from Môlča in Banská Bystrica district, Pavol Kováčik, the technical manager of the race told the TASR newswire.
The track in Beňuša is 1,100 metres long with a vertical drop of more than 170 metres and it took the winners only 1 minute 25 seconds, with an average speed of 47 kilometres per hour. The second and the third teams both came from the Jakub district of Banská Bystrica.
22. Feb 2010 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská