The Slovenia Times

New Breed of Explorers: The Travel-Skiers



Cross-country skiing comes in many forms; it is primarily known as a professional and recreational competitive skiing on specifically designated trails featured at more or less attended events. An increasing number of people have recently discovered that it can also be a form of hillwalking where hiking boots get conveniently replaced by cross-country skis and off you go up hill and down dale on designated and not so designated trails. The most important and attractive feature is without a doubt that you do not have to put up with those pesky boisterous crowds that haunt fancy ski and recreational centres. It is precisely this last form of cross-country skiing that offers a host of new unexplored possibilities - you can ski at your own speed, push your physical limits and while you are at it, savour the beauties of a totally new country. It need hardly be stressed that it is also a great way of bonding, socialising and relaxing, which at the same time also offers the satisfaction of that primordial craving for a new adventure where brute physical skills give way to pristine blending with nature at its best. In a word, this is a whole new world and a whole new type of skiing - the travel-skiing of the travel-skiers.

Slovenia X Country Ski Tour is a heroic guided cross-country tour aspiring to bring the unique experience of discovering Slovenia's jewels off the beaten track across a range of middle-height Slovenian mountains to 74 participants from 9 countries - 12 from Finland, 22 from Germany, 1 from Austria, 3 from Italy, 1 from Switzerland, 8 from Denmark, 1 from Greece, 20 from Slovenia and one brave traveller all the way from sunny New Zealand. This intrepid group voyaging at 1,000-1,400 meters above sea level have already made 40 km across Pohorje. Next stop? The chaps will make a 30 km run over Velika planina to reach Jelovica on route to Bohinjska Bistrica which will take another 33 km. The group will then make two 40 km runs at Pokljuka and conclude the event by a 40 km run from Podkoren to Travisio in Italy.

The brave participants ski on designated and marked trails in classic technique and will have covered 250 km in total (shortened from initial 310 km due to the lack of snow) by the end of this high-octane escapade. Each stage has both ascents and descents and definitely favours more experienced skiers; good thing, though, that you do not have to win the race to earn yourself the right to organised transport, food and sleep - all this, of course, is provided to each of these 74 international challengers.

PPS, the Slovenia X country ski tour was organized by Iztok Kordiš of SD Krplje, with the help of local organizations SD Lovrenc na Pohorju, SD Železničar, ŠD Atrans, SK Pivka, SK Kovinoplastika Lož, TSK Idrija, ŠD Dražgoše, TD Bohinj, LTO Kranjska gora and the Community of Tarvisio, Italy

I appreciate the idea and organization, which gives us the opportunity to discover beautiful and, for most of us, unknown areas for cross-country skiing in Slovenia.

Darja Sever, Slovenia

Eight Danes experience a Slovenian cross-country adventure as participants in the first ever PPS tour, which took in six different skiing fields in Slovenia in six days.

In early 2007, Iztok Kordiš participated in his tenth 'Border to Border' cross-county tour, 410 kilometres along the Finnish Arctic Circle. The same year, we were twelve Danish cross-country skiers who had our debut on the Finnish tracks. We were introduced to the idea of a Slovenian 'Border to Border' - to be taking place in six different skiing districts in Slovenia in 2008. In the summer of 2007, we received an invitation for PPS and eight of us quickly decided to take part in his inventive skiing project. At the end of our third day on the Slovenian cross-country tracks and our expectations are more than fulfilled. The flat tracks of Finland are replaced by challenging alpine tracks and breathtaking views. We meet an extremely welcoming people - from the staff at the hotels to the Slovenian participants in our group - who are eager to tells us about the scenery and the history of each district that we visit.

We enjoy the privilege of being part of this unique concept, which could not take place without the determination and imagination of Iztok. He pulls the strings of all the major and minor events during our stay - being it ensuring hot tea and chocolate are served by locals along the professionally prepared tracks, ensuring the recovery of forgotten gloves, or as a skiing photographer following the 70 participants.

Birgitte Damgaard Nielsen, Copenhagen, Denmark

During the PPS event we have enjoyed magnificent mountain scenery as well as the warm hospitality of the Slovenes. The challenges caused by weather conditions have required a lot of extra effort from the organizers. The carefully and skillfully chosen ski routes have been a pleasant experience for participants. The only worry of the skiers so far has been whether the distances and the elevations have been mistakenly swapped in communication...

Mikko Paavonen, from Finland, Finnish Border to Border ski tour guide

...we received an invitation for a Slovenian X-country ski tour. I informed all the skiers of our ski club and more than 20 skiers had an interest for this event. After the first three days, we can say that the impression of all our skiers is very good. The perfect organization of all details of this event, especially the accommodation in the hotel Bolfenk, Lukov dom (Pohorje) and Terme Snovik were, for all our skiers, on best levels. We wish the organizers of PPS further success...

Willfrid Priebs, team leader, Skiclub Saxonia Dresden, Germany

Having spent three month in this wonderful country for triathlon training during the summer, it is great to return during the winter for the first Slovenian X-country ski tour. The organizers have done a fantastic job and it is privilege to be part of this event....

Ross Maxwell, triathlon competitor training for the Race to the South Pole, Auckland, New Zealand


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