High in Moravia, the valley of the river Desna branches off the Morava and leads up into the Jeseniky mountains, and to the handful of small ski resort nestling up there. The small resort of Kouty nad Desnou has capitalised on its modern speedy chairlift with an ace downhill scooter route, stretching over 17km and taking a good couple of hours to descend.
After parking at the ample carpark near the centre, we headed to the ticket office to buy our one-way chairlift ride up the hill. After this came a 5-minute march across the river and slightly uphill to the base station. A ten minute ride saw us rising scenically up into the Jeseniky mountains, with views up and down the Desna valley and birdseye spectator seats over the many downhill MTB tracks that the chairlift serves.
At the top we hopped onto a small shuttle bus which took 5 minutes to reach the final summit, and the top reservoir of the Dlouhé Stráně pumped storage power plant. This vast oval of water and embankment plonked on the very top of the mountain looks a little surreal, and is a true feat of Czech engineering. Surrounding it is a 1km tarmac track popular with rollerbladers, but as tempting as it was, we were here for a more gravity-fuelled activity. So we headed to the van in the carpark and signed our lives away to the scooter man, had a quick ice cream and headed on our way down the mountain.
Along the route, chalk markings on the road made the 17km route easy to follow, initially winding back and forth down a steep mountainside with glorious views over the Jeseniky mountains.
We had some issues with squeaky brakes (a bit deafening, both for us and everyone else in the otherwise peaceful valley) but the views were great, and there were plenty of waterfalls and viewpoints marked along the way to make short detours to and enjoy the route a little more leisurely.
Eventually we curved round into the floor of the main valley, dominated by the lower reservoir of the Dlouhé Stráně plant, with its massive dam. It was mostly drained as we passed, maintenance works ongoing. The gradient was a little shallower from here, which made for a more leisurely scoot with less braking, but still no need for any legwork. The last few kilometres saw us weaving beside the river, through pleasant woods before eventually hitting the main road and curving back round to the base station at Kouty. All that remained was to hand back our scooters and head for a pizza at the base station restaurant. A great day out with little physical effort required!