The Slovenia Times

Mountain huts happy with summer turnout


Slovenia has 181 mountain lodges and shelters of various sizes. The 164 lodges have not reached the visitor turnout of the record year 2011 in the first month of the summer mountaineering season, which lasts from mid-July to mid-September, the Slovenian Alpine Association (PZS) has said.

Nevertheless, Dušan Prašnikar of the PZS believes that it has been one of the best summer seasons of the past decade so far.

According to Prašnikar's data, the number of visitors is not the only thing that has been growing; revenue has improved as well. He attributes the latter, at least in part, to increasing share of foreign guests, who are bigger spenders than locals.

The share of visitors from abroad has on average reached about 33%, but in recent years the share has risen to almost 40%, Prašnikar added.

According to the PZS release, visitors from abroad, especially Germans, Britons, Americans and Czechs, are even more numerous at a lodge on Mt Krn.

Several other lodges above the Soča Valley have also noted an increase in guests from abroad, which Lea Petrevčič, the caretaker of a lodge on Mt Razor, attributes to growing tourism in the area.

Although nobody will be left outside the lodge come nightfall, the PZS advises mountaineers to book a bunk before heading into the mountains for more than a day.

Aleš Štefe, the caretaker at a lodge on Mt Stol, which can sleep 47 people, told the STA that "nobody has ever been left outside. We put up everybody".

The number of guests wishing to spend the night varies considerably among the lodges, especially given their remoteness. A lodge at Mt Kal in central Slovenia is among those that barely gets a sleepover.

Caretaker Slavi Resman explains that visitors "drive up to the lodge, walk around a bit, sunbathe a bit and return home".

The hot weather, which brings more guests to the mountains, also has a downside: shortage of water. "Because of the mild winter with little snow and rain, there is less water in springs and reservoirs, and subsequently in lodges. In extreme cases, there is no water to wash with in lodges," Prašnikar said.

Such was the case at a lodge on the Kokrsko saddle, to which water had to be lifted by ropeway conveyor despite new water reservoirs.


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