Why you should consider Slovenia for your next ski break

Robin McKelvie

Robin McKelvie

When skiers from Austria, France and Switzerland flock across your borders to enjoy the pistes you know you've got something special. But why is Slovenia* emerging as one of Europe's coolest ski getaways?

Enjoying the Julian Alps
Enjoying the Julian Alps © Mojca Odar, Turizem Bohinj - courtesy of www.slovenia.info

Forget Val d'Isère and Verbier and join us as we discover just how special skiing, as well as snowboarding and a volley of other winter sports, are in a country blessed with some of Europe's most spectacular Alpine scenery.

And with those cute Christmas card Alpine villages, spot-on family-friendly facilities, 230 km of superb runs for all abilities, and English-speaking instructors at schools to help all levels learn, it's easy to see why great value Slovenia is fast becoming the place for a ski break.

Getting to Slovenia: find great value winter snow breaks to Slovenia with Crystal Ski*.

"Skiing, where?"

That is the response often elicited when you tell someone you are skiing in Slovenia. That, and "No, I didn't say Slovakia". This glorious Alpine nation sits perched on the northeastern extremity of Italy, with borders with Austria, Croatia and Hungary too, plus a bijou Mediterranean coast.

The epicentre of Slovenian skiing is the Julian Alps, a sweeping mountain range in the country's northwest crowned with jagged peaks, the highest, Triglav, soars over double the height of Ben Nevis to almost 3,000m-high.

Snowy scenes in Pokljuka near Lake Bled
Snowy scenes in Pokljuka near Lake Bled © Fesus Robert - Dreamstime.com

Much of the Julian Alps is protected as a designated eponymous national park; all of it is unremittingly scenic, kissed by glaciers, high ridges and sparkling glacial lakes, including Lake Bohinj itself. In short, Slovenia is a truly spectacular setting for skiing.

Does Slovenia offer good value?

The country may be less well known than its more illustrious Alpine cousins, but this is a huge boon as that translates into cheaper prices, part of the reason people from those more established ski destinations ski in Slovenia.

Slovenia is relatively affordable across the board, from lift pass and gear hire prices to hotel rooms and eating out. Given the high quality on offer, Slovenia is great value as well as budget-friendly.

The country also uses the Euro, rather than a currency you've never heard of, so it's easy to keep track of spending.

Something for all abilities

Slovenia works very well for timid newbie skiers. The country is home to compact ski areas that are easy to navigate, gentle nursery slopes, wide, open blue runs and as well as excellent instructors.

Both Bohinj* and Kranjska Gora* appeal to first-timers. They also stack up brilliantly for more experienced skiers looking to perfect their parallels or tackle testing, longer red and black runs further up in the high mountain terrain.

Beautiful Lake Bled in winter
Beautiful Lake Bled in winter © JFL Photography - Adobe Stock Image

What's more, the popular resort of Lake Bled, is also within easy reach. Bled*'s relaxed slopes enjoy some of Europe's finest Alpine scenery, a winning package sure to capture the hearts of beginners.

Why Bohinj?

Vogel is Bohinj's skiing playground, a high mountain oasis rising up to 1,800 meters, with 22km of piste. You will never forget the views towards Triglav and back down to Lake Bohinj far below, Slovenia's largest lake.

There are seven quieter, gentler slopes, along with the more testing intermediate and difficult runs. As well as skiing there is snowboarding; freestylers can practise jumps, skills and tricks in the snow park.

The upper slopes at Vogel
The upper slopes at Vogel © Smuki - Adobe Stock Image

There's cross-country skiing too. Ski school lessons are a joy in the gentle nursery area at the top of the Vogel cable car. Once you've learned the ropes the Orlove Glave chairlift awaits, opening up blue runs to savour.

The 7.5km-long 'Valley Run' is the longest in Slovenia, dropping 1,231m in height. Given the regular fresh snow, experienced skiers can enjoy powder pockets to mess around in too.

Off-piste, myriad day trip options tempt, from Lake Bled, through to Ljubljana, Slovenia's bijou capital, and even Venice.

Vogel snow report (ski season)

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86
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78
86
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81
94
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80
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40
51
67
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49
5
6
Nov 3
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Dec 1
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Jan 1
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Feb 1
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The Vogel snow report shows potential for good quality snow for each week of the ski season based on 15 years of historical observations.

Why Kranjska Gora?

Slovenia's most popular ski resort ticks all the boxes for skiers of all levels, as the numerous Austrian voices you'll hear around the resort testify to. There are nursery slopes and a ski school for beginners, with 18km of ski runs, whooshing up over 1,600m, with six chairlifts and 13 lifts.

Nursery slopes at Kranjska Gora
Nursery slopes at Kranjska Gora © Kranjska Gora Tourist Board - courtesy of www.slovenia.info

There are approachable blue runs near the resort, with reds and World Cup-standard blacks on the Podkoren mountain. In recent years the facilities have been really brought up to speed with modern lifts and snowmaking facilities developed.

Today, Kranjska Gora is a proud FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup host. There is plenty to tempt snowboarders and cross-country skiers too with 40km of trails to follow, with the option also to strap on some boots for snowshoeing.

Or how about dog sledding? Nearby, Bled is on hand with five ski areas to try out. Bled works well for a ski-free day trip too, with the capital of Ljubljana easy to get to as well.

Kranjska Gora snow report (ski season)

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69
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81
79
72
91
84
81
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59
43
33
21
22
27
0
0
0
0
Nov 3
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Dec 1
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Jan 1
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The Kranjska Gora snow report shows potential for good quality snow for each week of the ski season based on 15 years of historical observations.

Après ski

Slovenia's gastronomy is superb, with fresh local produce to the fore. It sweeps from hearty, warming dishes to warm-you-up après ski, through to sparkling culinary creation, which is winning the country plaudits in the foodie world.

Tasty kremna rezina
Tasty kremna rezina © Alizada Studios - Adobe Stock Image

Don't miss the delicious local dried ham prsut, the kremna rezina cream cake from Bled and the country's seriously underrated wines. Look out for the cuisine of Slovenia's neighbours, with superb pizza and Hungarian-style goulash in the mix.

Bohinj/Vogel has lunch spots on the mountain, while the local villages have wee bistros and hotel restaurants worth staying in for. There are welcoming bars where you can compare skiing stories with like-minded souls from all over Europe.

Meanwhile, Kranjska Gora overflows with restaurants, with 20 in the village alone. Again, local bistros rub shoulders with decent hotel restaurants; there are late-night spots if you want to hit the dancefloor or a casino.

When to go

Given the high local snowfall, the efficient snowmaking facilities and the high altitude of its ski resorts, Slovenia enjoys a long ski season, with the resorts open from early December right through to April, sometimes into May, giving you a long window to plan your ski adventures in.

February sees the most snowfall with temperatures similar to the main thrust of the Alps. Spring is a good time to come for beginners not wanting to tackle the cold, as well as for pros seeking new skills.

Just before Christmas is also a great time as Slovenia really buys into the cosy Mitteleuropa markets and Gluhwein traditions.

Ready to ski in Slovenia? Don't miss the latest offers on winter ski breaks with Crystal Ski.

Crystal Ski Holidays: Book early for skiing holidays in 2024/2025

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Robin McKelvie

Robin McKelvie

Robin McKelvie is a Scottish travel writer, author and broadcaster. He has visited over 100 countries and regularly writes about Scotland and the Canary Islands. As well as frequently contributing to Weather2Travel.com, Robin writes for publications including The Telegraph, The Independent, The Guardian, The Times and Wanderlust, and has authored more than 30 guidebooks.

Article updated on Sunday 1st October 2023 in: Adventure Europe Skiing & Snowboarding

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