Want to hit the Alps this winter but don’t want to blow the holiday budget? A ski or snowboard holiday in Slovenia is a great way to explore this compact country and carve up the slopes.
I’m not the best snowboarder, but come late January I’ve got an itch that only scraping down a mountain can scratch. But seeing as I’m going on my own I don’t want to spend ages on a transfer, or spend loads of money.
Slovenia ticks all the boxes. It’s an Alpine nation, you can fly to Ljubljana with Easyjet and it features the closest ski resort to an airport in Europe. Krvavec ski resort is just 8 kms from the airport, so not waiting for transfer buses or taxis is part of the appeal.
Bleary eyed I’m stood in London Stansted airport at around 6am, having only finished work at midnight. I’m wondering what the hell I was thinking.
Come 10:30 I’m stood on top of a mountain looking down at the airport, from where I came not 45 minutes ago. Definitely glad I went for it.
Awesome, lets do this.
Krvavec is a fairly compact ski resort which sits on literally the first mountain you come to after leaving the airport.
The car hire is right outside the main terminal (which is tiny) and I’ve picked up my pre-booked hire car in minutes. At only €35 for 4 days, its a bit of a bargain. Take a look at HolidayCars.com (which is where I got my deal from).
With a hire car, I’m at the base station in about 20 minutes. My pass for two days costs around €64 and my board rental is €30 (with the helmet, bindings etc).
First impressions are good. The lifts are pretty fast and I’m doing my first run just a few minutes after picking up my equipment. Having found my snow feet I whip up the mountain to take in that fabulous view and boy, am I not disappointed.
Considering Slovenia is pretty compact you can spot the sea twinkling in the distance. The snow is a combination of groomed piste and recent snowfall and the pistes are wide with very few trees. I’m happy just to soak up the bluebird day and limber up for my first full length run.
My first run from the second highest point is a little hairy. The red run turns out to be a little bit steeper than I thought and, did I mention I’m not that good at snowboarding?
Having been in Austria the year before I have to say that the longest run isn’t quite as long and varied as those. But its fast, wide and that view is incredible. The longest run is around 2kms from to to bottom although that does involve crossing a flat section and going through a tunnel.
By mid afternoon I’ve covered most of the mountain and I’m starting to find my groove. So far, loving Krvavec.
I’m staying in Ljubljana which is around a 45 minute drive. The drive is part winding country road, part expressway and I get the impression if I’d stayed in the north of the city, not the south, I’d be commuting in 20 minutes.
Ljubljana is a pretty town though, with a vibrant student population and enough bars and restaurants to keep you busy until late. The local pubs are quite sedate though, a reflection of the town generally. Although perhaps that’s because I arrived on a Monday. But with a pint of beer around €3.50 and a pizza or pasta coming in at €7-8, apres ski is affordable.
On the first night I hang out bothering a barmaid for a bit. On the second night I find an Irish guy who is up for getting on it, which results in some drinking, bad dancing and even finding ourselves in a dodgy nightclub.
But Ljubljana is a good city break, ideal if you have some in your party who don’t want to go skiing. They’d easily be able spend the day exploring the castle, going shopping and checking out the museums.
Read my full review of Ljubljana here.
After a second day on Krvavec, I have definitely covered it in depth. Although it’s great fun, I feel like a third day would be pushing it a bit so I decide to choose between Kranjaska Gora or Vogel.
Vogel involves passing two of Slovenia’s biggest tourist attractions, Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj. So that’s decided then. A bit of sightseeing before my snowboarding is just what I’m after.
The drive from Ljubljana to Vogel takes probably about two hours. But, I do stop briefly at Lake Bled and again at Lake Bohinj to take in the view.
And that’s a recurring theme in Slovenia, the view.
Driving along winding valleys flanked by snowy peaks, rounding a corner to reveal a stunning vista. It kind of makes me glad that my trip to Slovenia isn’t just focused on the snowboarding.
Vogel is a similar arrangement to Krvavec, a gondola takes you up to the mountain from the lakeside. The dizzying ascent takes me into an oncoming storm, but I reckon I’ve got just enough time to get stuck in.
In fact, Vogel looks a bit more accessible than Krvavec. The slopes are a bit more family friendly, by which I mean very wide and meandering. The view I can’t comment on unfortunately as that storm began to descend.
But I did manage to get in a few hours of snowboarding, including on one long tree lined run.
Although people do equate Slovenia with skiing, I think the bulk of the people I met were locals. Chatting on the lifts, in the bars and even on the slopes, clearly everyone is Slovene and interested to hear where I’ve come from.
However in Vogel I got caught up with a French/Belgian collective who were in town for a metal concert and humoured me as I eased my way down the blizzarded slopes.
Skiing in Slovenia?
So who is skiing in Slovenia for? I’ll be honest, its not for Alpine explorers who want to get stuck into getting lost in endless valleys.
But if you’re looking to ski on a budget and you want accessible beginner and family friendly slopes, Slovenia has you covered.
At €33 a day you get plenty of mountain, snow parks, buzzing bars and all the things you’d expect of a ski resort. OK, you don’t get ski in/ski out but for beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders, you’ll have plenty to do.
Although I only covered two of the main Slovenian ski resorts, I would love to head back and check out Kranjaska Gora or Bovec.
Skiing or snowboarding in Slovenia also means you get to explore different parts of the country. So if you’re looking for a great place to practice your snowsport skills this winter, take a look at Slovenia.
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