The Slovenia Times

The Meltdown



really difficult to tell good from better. For example: Kanin or Vogel which are remote, yet attractive high mountain slopes with long winters, magnificent views and vast areas for off-piste skiing cannot be rated in comparison to Stari Vrh, which has only one really long track and is poorer on snow but boasts modern infrastructure and can be reached within less than a hour from Ljubljana for night skiing after work.

So, our approach was descriptive, putting on scale whether a slope is more suitable for family holiday or individual skiing, for beginners or experts. Were we dealing with an exclusive skiing place or a full-featured winter resort with additional facilities such as spas? Is it worth going there for a day or does it makes more sense to come for a longer time?

Once again, we give you a brief overview of each slope we reviewed, which might come useful when you contemplate your plans for the next winter...

Velika Planina: Family Values

There are few people in Slovenia who wouldn't recognize the unique architecture of the traditional shepherds' cottages of Velika Planina scattered across the karst plateau, between 1,400 and 1,666 metres above sea level near the charming town of Kamnik.

It has excellent opportunities for all sorts of outdoor activities, skiing being just one of them. Many people actually come without skis, carrying small children and babies. The main reason for coming to Velika Planina is often to enjoy nature, the gentle undulations of the plateau, and the peaks of the Kamnik Alps and sweeping views of the Ljubljana basin. Zeleni Rob (The Green Edge) is probably the best place to do it. The limestone surface and attractive cottages provide plenty of challenges and attractions for ski touring, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, while maintained roads provide opportunities for snow-mobiling and you can even see fully equipped mountain bikers speeding down snow-covered roads. It is also great for sledding as it is probably the only place is Slovenia where you can simply take a chair lift to the top of the course. Velika Planina may struggle with facilities but it has never had ambitions to become a chic resort.

Skiing-wise, Velika Planina is a good choice for family skiing, less demanding skiers and beginners, not just because of its mostly gentle slopes but also because of the family friendly price of tickets and no crowds. Regardless of snow conditions, the cable car to Velika Planina operates throughout the year although many people also come along a popular trail from the other side of the plateau. With the whole trip taking around two hours, many locals often do it after work.

Golte: Paradise above the Clouds

Situated between 1,410 and 1,572 metres above sea level on the top of the high Karst plateau and equipped with a modern artificial snow system, Golte is a true winter paradise not only for ski fans but also for cross-country skiers and other nature lovers. A mid-sized ski resort that is not well known even among Slovenian skiers is definitely a great discovery for all lovers of calm, less crowded slopes.

With 12 km of ski slopes and 30 hectares of skiing surfaces, Golte Ski Centre will enthral all kind of ski lovers, from complete beginners to advanced or even professional skiers. The slopes on the sunless side of the plateau are difficult, while the sunny side is more appropriate for family skiing.

A ski school (the only ski school for blind people in Slovenia), ski service, shop for skiing equipment, free wireless internet, restaurant, and bar as well as a disco, are all located in the building of the upper cable car station. Small children can enjoy themselves in the children's snow park. In addition, the ski school organizes supervision for children during winter vacations or by previous arrangement.

Cerkno: Fairy tale for Children and their Parents

With 18 km of ski runs, Cerkno is one of the most up-to-date ski resorts. The lifts are comfortable, quick and very well positioned throughout the entire skiing area, offering the optimum use of the terrain suitable for each skier. Despite relatively low altitude of the slopes (900-1,300m), skiing in Cerkno is aided by more than 100 snow cannons, which can cover 85% of the entire slopes with the artificial snow in just one week, even until the April.

Cerkno is the most child-friendly ski resort. On the very top of the slopes there is a new wooden mountain lodge, with a modern restaurant, where you can choose from a large variety of cold and cooked dishes, hot drinks and sweets and cakes. There is also children's playroom on the first floor, with TV and cartoons, games and other fun things plus a climbing gym, a ski tow, a merry-go-round outside the hut. The ski school and supervised child care on the snow are available the entire week.

Kope: The Ugly Duckling Transforming into a Swan

Kope is a mid-sized slope, just above the Mislinja valley, one of the three colourful Koroška valleys, in the northern part of the country, near the border with Austria. It takes you one-and-a-half hours from Ljubljana to get to Slovenj Gradec, the central town of the region, and from there another 16 km to the Kope ski slope. Situated on the highest peaks of Pohorje, the slopes stay covered with natural and artificial snow until the middle of March and offer pleasant and relatively inexpensive skiing until just the end of the winter.

The resort offers great skiing especially for beginners and children. More advanced skiers will prefer the eastern part of centre, especially the slope under the only modern six-chair lift, Kaštivnik, which was built in 2006. Despite the fact that the other lifts are from the 1970s, they are in quite good condition and offer pleasant skiing. The management of Kope is well aware that the entire ski centre needs to be modernized and connected to the nearby Ribniško Pohorje ski centre. As such, the centre will get another 200 hectares of skiing area, making it the largest ski centre in Slovenia.

Kope already offers a great night skiing, considering that almost all the slopes are illuminated.

Rogla: Family fun at high altitude

Most ski resort put the "family" attribute in front of their descriptions. But apart form many others, relatively family places, Rogla is absolutely that. Anything a familly would want for a summer vacation and not overpay it, is here. It doesn't pretend to be anything else than a mid-range resort and if your expectations are in accordance with prices and the offer they present, you could get pleasantly surprised. The resort in southeastern Slovenia, a weak two hours drive from Ljubljana is situated at 1500 metres above sea level. The tracs, unlike most other places lead down from the residential and welness complex, which is on the top of the resort. The area boasts with a variety of tracks, some of them exceptionally friendly for kids and beginners, and a well marked cross-country trail. Apart from that, Rogla is especially attractive for snowboarders for its high-end park with jumps and toboggans. Needless to say, the high altitude, away from the sources of pollution makes your lungs want to dance, while the sunshine in tanning your skin.

Apart from skiing pleasures, Rogla is a popular place all year round. For its position amongst forrests, anything from trekking and herbal picking to horseback riding can be practiced here.

Maribor Pohorje: P for Picturesque and Playful

Very few ski slopes literally grow out of the urban areas of a bigger town such as Maribor Pohorje. Situated on the Western peaks of Pohorje range, the ski centre is really something special, offering a constant view to the second largest town, from where you can access skiing areas with town bus. The ski centre Mariborsko Pohorje offers more than 40 km of well-kept skiing slopes and 36 km of cross-country ski runs. Besides, surrounding forests are crisscrossed by trekking routes which attract many enthusiastic hikers, mountain bikers, parachutists, horse back riders and adventurers even during the winter.Situated on the altitude between 325 and 1,327 meters with very diverse area Pohorje is a slope where everyone can find his or her optimal place. From a children's park to the challenging "old FIS" or the snow stadium, where competitions like the annual Golden Fox Trophy are being held. This area is also famous because of its over 10 kilometers illuminated tracks which attract night skiing enthusiast from the entire Slovenia. Furthermore, this resort is, in fact, an extension of a large town which can offer you many pleasures from concerts and cinemas to pub crawling and shopping.

Krvavec: The Sunny Side of the Alps

The first remarkable feature of the area: very few button lifts, almost only chair lifts. Great: they go quicker, reach further and, in general, don't torpedo snowboarders. Secondly - it is close to Ljubljana, high enough to assure a reliable supply of snow, versatile in terms of something for everyone - from beginners to daring ones. Snow cannons make sure the slopes were in good form. As all slopes face the south, the area is bathing in sunshine. In particular, the place of Tiha Dolina was one big grilling terrace, where those who like to take it slower can easily chill and get tanned with reasonably priced food and drinks and other interesting stuff. With facilities for little kids learning to ski, youngsters learning to snowboard and advanced skiers craving for speed, Krvavec is a convenient destination for short ski-trips - not just for people living in Slovenia but for foreign tourists, too. The Krvavec resort is situated on the south side of the mountain, and this is the last mountain before the Slovenian lowlands start. You know the view from a 2km high skyscraper? Well, that's exactly it. And let's not forget to mention some cool additions: Have you ever slept in an Eskimo hotel?

Stari Vrh: An Old Peak with a Brand New Lift

Stari Vrh is a versatile place. It can satisfy both advanced skiers and beginners, although it is a bit more oriented towards the former. It is also the first slope you can reach if you reside in Ljubljana. This is particularly handy when you desire three hours of intense night skiing in the evening, not some sunbathing. On the other hand, there's a variety of other things for everyone: children's park, sledding area, acrobatic jumps and ramps for snowboarders, cross county track, ski-touring path. Lodging and food are a chapter of their own. Beside the obvious hot dogs and fries served on the slope, it would be a sin not to visit one of the surrounding inns or tourist farms. For Stari Vrh's close position to urban areas, daily skiing is a great option. However a vacation there is a good idea as well - especially if you choose to stay at a tourist farm or apartment, some of which are situated right in the middle of the slope.

Kranjska Gora: Skiing with the Champions

Kranjska Gora is the most worldwidely known place for its long tradition and, more important a couple of important competitions taking place there, such as FIS Cup alpine races and ski jumping/flying events in the nearby Planica. From a strictly skiing perspective, it offers a large skiing area of wide and short tracks on the village side and a difficult part on the other side of the Vitranc hill, but lacks some longer tracks, which would add some variety for more demanding skiers. However, if we consider everything else, we can speak about a neat, friendly and all embracing complex, which includes the ambience of an old alpine village with a well developed infrastructure - from a skating rink, thermal pool to quality restaurants and casinos. The surroundings are also very rich in services and facilities, as you can try organized sledding or even the wonderful night sledding with torches or something even more exotic such as snow shoeing or a sled dog ride. If we take into consideration also the tradition of world cup events, we can understand why for many people skiing in Kranjska Gora is not just any winter holiday - it means "having been there".

Vogel: Freerider's Paradise

Vogel is special for many reasons. First of all is its high altitude environment, which provides a magnificent panorama and favourable snow conditions with excellent off-piste terrain. Secondly, it serves all sorts of skiing styles, which are well separated. Beginners needn't fear fanatics behind their backs and the latter don't want to be disturbed by constantly avoiding the slow skiers. Thirdly, it is a truly relaxing place, quite far from civilisation at first glance. However, weather conditions can quickly spoil the fun, so the best day to visit Vogel is the one with a fair forecast. Good for foreign visitors who stay for longer is also the fact that there's plenty of lodging facilities in the Bohinj area as well as alternatives if you intend to exchange a day of skiing for something else, such as visiting the Pokljuka plateau or Bled. Skiing at Vogel lasts well into spring, sometimes even until the May holidays. In March, they usually have the thickest snow, which lasts until late summer in some areas.

Kanin: Where Skiing Ends

Kanin is the most remote resort from a central Slovenian perspective. It rarely pays to go there for a day skiing, since it is a two hour drive from Ljubljana through mountain passes. Its high altitude means it is also the most snowy place and skiing is usually guaranteed until May. The resort cannot be regarded as large, but nevertheless it has an equal share of easy, medium and difficult runs, meaning there are runs that everyone can enjoy. The overall length of tracks spreading across the 20-hectare site is 15 km. No essentials are missing: there's a restaurant with home-made food on offer, a ski school, a kindergarten and ski hire. It is also worth mentioning the 9-km sledding track. Bovec, which is situated a few kilometres from the lower cable car station, has all the other ingredients - bars, hotels, etc.- to make this a trip to remember. April is a terrific time to visit Bovec, as you can both ski at Kanin as well as enjoy trekking in the lush valley. Next season Kanin plans to link with Sella Nevea on the Italian side creating a large, attractive cross-border ski resort.


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