That’s it, done.  100% confirmed.  I hereby commit (whilst my knees are still able) to snowboarding at least once every 12 months for the rest of my life.  I am without a doubt, hooked.

Hot on the heels of 4 days snowboarding in Valmorel, it was off to Slovenia for another bought of snow based travels.  The plan was to fly on a Wednesday morning, spend Wednesday afternoon securing our ski passes, follow that up with 3 days full snowboarding in Vogel, and then unwind with a day in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana.  Simple, but effective, in theory.

As we had not hired a car and were staying in Bled (a seriously beautiful part of the world!) which was a good 45 minutes drive from the mountains, we required transport each ski day.  This was to come in the form of a bus, laid on as a part of the Julian Alps Pass scheme.  Now I don’t like buses at the best of times, and whilst I had done a lot of reading on the Julian Alps pass, come that first morning we were due to catch said bus to the slopes, I was still sceptical it would even show up.

Ye of little faith!

Lake Bled

The Julian Alps Pass

Long story short, the bus showed and we made it to the mountains.  Had we not, I probably wouldn’t have written this post.  Knowing what I know now, I love the Julian Alps pass and would happily buy another on a future ski trip to Slovenia.  Here’s a bit of info on how it works.

The Julian Alps pass is simple.  It’s effectively a lift pass for multiple (3) ski resorts within Slovenia, and includes a bus service to and from 2 of the resorts.  The bus service starting and ending in Bled each day.

It’s a sweet deal, and is very affordable for individuals and groups of less than 8 I would say.  If you’re in a group of 8+, hiring a taxi for the day and buying your lift pass at a resort could work out cheaper, but for our group of 4 the 3 day Julian Alps passes we purchased from the info centre in Bled were perfect.

A note on the info centre in Bled – There are actually 2 info centres in town, and only 1 of the sells the Julian Alps passes, and you guessed it, its the one less central.

And now a note on the ski bus – Depending on your chosen days of ski/snowboard, be sure to double check with the staff in the info centre whether the bus is running on the weekends.  If they’re unsure, please ask them for a number to either lay on a bus, or ask for a number to ring should you arrive at the bus station and no bus turns up.  This is exactly what happened to us, no bus turned up on the Saturday and so I had to run a tour company number which had been provided by the staff at the info centre, and 10 minutes later we were picked up in a mini bus rather than the usual ski bus, and driven to Vogel.  This was despite a Crystal ski rep (we didn’t travel with Crystal Ski BTW) insisting that the buses would run on said Saturday.  Cant be too hard on him though, he was very nice to us even though we weren’t his customers.

Trip Breakdown

So to the money, and how much this trip actually cost.  Whilst I very much enjoyed by time snowboarding in Valmorel earlier in the year, I very much wanted to get back to budget travel and budget snowboarding if possible.

Would you call this budget?

Item £ per person Note
Car Parking 10 Medium Stay at Luton Airport
Flight 31.5 1 hold bag between 2 people at 32kg + small cabin bag each.  Wizzair charge for large cabin bags.
Transfer 9 Booked through Graeme at Four Seasons Travel.  Very nice man and gave us a quick tour of Bled included.
Apartment 52 Airbnb
Ski Hire 32 Finzgar @ Vogel
Ski pass 70 Julian Alps Pass – 3 day pass
Bus to Ljubljana 4.5 Bought when boarding the bus at Bled bus station
Hotel 26
Cab to airport 4.5 Special rate via our hotel
Flight 31.5 1 hold bag between 2 people at 32kg + small cabin bag each.  Wizzair charge for large cabin bags.
Spending Money 100 All meals (5 dinners and lunches) and a super market shop for breakfast items
 –
TOTAL 371
 –
Ski days Only 288.5 Assumes only £75 for spending money and includes another £9 for transfer back to Ljubljana Airport from Bled

Now as you can see I’ve added a row at the bottom which details the cost should we just have done the ski/snowboard part.  We tagged on a day in Ljubljana to the end of our trip, but its probably not fair to include those under costs of snowboarding in Slovenia, all we did in Ljubljana was walk the bridges, look out over the city from its castle, eat pizza and drink beer.  Ljubljana was fun, but I wouldn’t head back in a massive hurry, whereas I would head back to Bled and Vogel tomorrow had I the chance (and if there was any snow).

So under £300 for 4 days in Bled and 3 full days of snowboarding in Vogel.  That’s not half bad in my book, and puts Vogel and Slovenia on a par with Bansko in Bulgaria based upon my experiences! OK so Vogel was pretty small in comparison to other reports I’ve boarded (piste map here), but it had a lot of re-board value, even by the end of the 3rd full day I still wasn’t bored of its main blue run, which had an awesome ski/snowboard cross offshoot. I confess I was not overly fond of the amount of T-bag lift (my hip was in ruins as a result), but the big snow park made up for that.  Vogel was fun, and perfect four our group as beginners and intermediates.  The one thing we did miss out on was the snow road down from the top of the mountain to Lake Bohinj, but when there’s not enough snow for that, what can you do?!  At the top of the mountain there was plenty of snow to keep me occupied, and the snow road gives me the perfect reason to return to Bled and Vogel.

… and the price too!  All this for under £300!

Snowboarding in Vogel

Lake Bled

Ski Hire Breakdown

Now, confession time, sort of.  With the above, no doubt you’ll have notice that the ski hire cost is crazy cheap!  It is at this point I should tell you that the nice man working at the Finzgar hire shop atop Vogel gave our group a rather nice discount vs what we should have been charged according to the website.  I think that it being end of season contributed to the discount, and that between our group we had quite a few lessons.  Obviously if you were going to budget this trip for yourself, I would assume the higher rates below and then just take any discount as a bonus.  But here’s what we paid vs what we should have paid.

As per website  — Bill on Day 3
Neil Esther Lewis  Vicky     Neil Esther Lewis  Vicky
Day 1           Day 1
Hire 13.3 13.3 13.3 13.3 Hire 10.5 10.5 10.5 10.5
Group Lesson 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 Group Lesson 0 0 0 0
Day 1 total 21.7 21.7 21.7 21.7   Day 1 total 10.5 10.5 10.5 10.5
Day 2   Day 2
Hire 13.3 13.3 13.3 13.3 Hire 10.5 10.5 10.5 10.5
Group Lesson 12.6 12.6 Group Lesson 12.6 12.6
Individual Lesson 14 14 14 Individual Lesson 12.6 18.2 12.6
Visor hire 3.5 Visor hire 0
Day 2 total 13.3 39.9 30.8 39.9   Day 2 total 10.5 35.7 28.7 35.7
Day 3   Day 3
Hire 13.3 13.3 13.3 13.3 Hire 10.5 10.5 10.5 10.5
Group Lesson 12.6 12.6 Group Lesson 12.6 12.6
Individual Lesson 14 14 Individual Lesson 18.2 18.2
Visor hire 3.5 Visor hire 0
Helmet hire 3.5 3.5 3.5 Helmet hire 0 0 0
Day 3 total 16.8 29.4 30.8 43.4   Day 3 total 10.5 23.1 28.7 41.3
3 day total 51.8 91 83.3 105   3 day total 31.5 69.3 67.9 87.5
Difference from website -20.3 -21.7 -15.4 -17.5
            Total difference -74.9

So that’s a £20 saving for me, and a £75 saving for the whole group.  Big thanks to the man at Finzgar.

Snowboarding Slovenia

Skiing Slovenia

Misc info

So all the above it based upon Vogel.  Whilst we had the option to head to other resorts with the Julian Alps pass, we chose to go back to Vogel each day owing to it having the better snow conditions.

Links wise, I should state that I was not working with any of these groups, but found them good value and so would recommend their services.

Video

It’s not a snowboarding trip unless the GoPro comes with me.  Watch till the end to see me fall on my ass multiple times.