Bear Chases Skier in Romania

Famous for its ski resorts and a sci-fi style train station, the town of Predeal in Romania doesn’t usually experience brown bears on downhill ski runs. But that’s exactly what one hapless skier ran into last Saturday.

At this time of year, it’s not uncommon to witness bears around Romania’s main ski resort town. Last weekend on another slope, a bear cub was filmed crossing a popular part of a ski resort. But seeing one chase a skier is not entirely common.


The unidentified man was beneath a chairlift in a closed area of the resort at the time of the incident. Fellow skiers passing on the lift overhead alerted him to the danger behind him.

“Go faster, go faster! Come on, the bear is chasing you! Go faster!” they called out, while one filmed the chase. “God forbid, don’t look back!” shouted one man.

The seemingly cool skier stays in control with lazy turns, while the bear hurtles toward him. The man seems to be skiing very slowly, but it’s possible that he was being conservative to avoid falling.

A quick-thinking bystander dropped a backpack between prey and prayer, distracting the bear long enough for the skier to find safety.

A common myth states that bears can’t run downhill very well — something about the length of their back legs and their considerable mass. In fact, they can barrel downhill at up to 56kph, about the speed of a horse.

One of Romania’s most popular ski resort towns, Predeal hosted an unexpected guest last weekend — a brown bear that chased a skier downhill.


Around 6,000 brown bears live in Romania, more than a third of Europe’s total. Until recently, it was legal to kill only 600 per year. The government has since legalized an unrestricted hunt for five years, after a spate of attacks in late 2019.

For while this skier was unharmed, the same cannot be said for other Romanians recently. Last October, for example, a 61-year-old fisherman was killed in the same Transylvanian spot that he had fished each weekend for years. He stumbled into the classic nightmare scenario: caught between a mother bear and her two cubs. His body was found on the riverbank.

A few weeks later, a bear fatally mauled a 46-year-old man, and another bear later killed a 63-year-old fisherman, both in Transylvania.

The bear that chased the skier has been relocated to a more remote area.

Brown bears are common in backcountry Romania. Photo: Shutterstock