Budget snowboarding in Slovenia, it is most certainly possible, and I’d like to think I’ve already proven once it before, having visited and written all about my taking to the slopes in Vogel (2015). This year however it was the turn of Krvavec, Slovenia’s #1 ski resort according to its website.
Whether it was and is Slovenia’s best resort or not mattered little, what drew me to this destination were the reds, the blues, and the ridiculously short transfer times from the airport. Little did I know that despite the hours of research I’d put into creating a budget snowboarding itinerary perfect for a long weekend in Feb, there was one thing I simply couldn’t account or plan for. Doh!
Bad weather almost stops play
Snowboarding in Slovenia, as with any snowboard or ski related trip, comes with a certain amount of risk. Not the type of risk you take out insurance for, in case of personal injury (although insurance for such injuries is always a good idea). It’s the type of risk which no amount of planning, training and research can account for. No matter how prepared you think you may be, ultimately your trip will still depend on something which is entirely out of your control – the weather.
Whether or not snow has fallen within the past week or so and whether the sun is now shining down on said snow, could potently make or break your trip.
If you’ve ever read any of my other snowboarding posts you may already know that I’ve had a previous snowboarding trip affected by the weather, namely my snowboarding trip to Bosnia.
A lack of snow on the mountain of Jahorina in Bosnia meant that with the exception of a single day on snow, the majority of my time in Bosnia was instead spent learning the history of both Sarajevo and Mostar. Whilst I was there to snowboard and missed out on that activity for the majority, my trip to Bosnia is still one of my favourite in recent memory, and that owed a lot to visiting a destination which had alternatives should the weather on the mountain fail me.
Likewise with snowboarding in Slovenia this time around and Krvavec’s own bad weather, a thick and dastardly fog which left visibility at maybe 10 metres of less, Nick and I decided to cut our losses on our second afternoon, and instead of risking injury at the hands of simply not being able to see where we were going (for gamers among you, think Turok on the N64 and you’ll know the type of fog I mean), we decided to pack it in for the day and spend the afternoon in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. As far as alternatives go, that’s not a bad one, but more on that a bit later in this post.
Look at what you (I) could have won …
Snowboarding in Slovenia – Krvavec
So after all that waffle about weather (it’s what us Brits do best to be fair) let’s actually talk about Krvavec.
Well for starters it’s just a 30 minute drive from Ljubljana airport. Nick and I landed in Slovenia around 10am, and even allowing for a quick stop at our hostel to change, we were up on the slopes before midday. I’d be impressed if there were too many other resorts in Europe with that kind of transfer time.
There appears to be only a single hire shop on the mountain, but the staff were very helpful and friendly. Lifts wise there is a complete lack of button lifts, which suited me perfectly! Queues for the chairlifts never took more than 2 minutes to reach the front of, if there was even a queue at all.
Piste and snow wise, sure we could have done with another foot of snow, but there were still a few nice spots. The afore mentioned fog did hinder our enjoyment of the resorts appearance, but we still found a few nice tree lined runs where it was possible to appreciate and imagine just how nice the resort could look in the sunshine. The below is decent evidence too.
Krvavec is made up mostly of a nice mix of blues and reds, with a generous ‘learning area’ too. There is a snow park, but we didn’t dare try ride through it for fear of poleaxing ourselves on rails and boxes emerging at speed out of the fog.
Some runs higher up the mountain were closed and so we didn’t get to experience absolutely everything Krvavec had to offer, but what we did get to ride was certainly enough to keep us entertained over a long weekend. A week’s stay could be pushing it though, especially for experienced snow bunnies looking for challenges and potential off piste.
Also lacking was an apres scene. There were a few bars on the mountain which looked like they could have been fun had the sun been out and more people up on the mountain, but for the most part we simply indulged in a quiet lunchtime beer/hot chocolate.
Of an evening you would need to head elsewhere to find a buzzing bar or nightclub. The small village of Cerklje where we based ourselves had a couple of small, locals bar, but no great party scene. We were pretty early to bed, but in turn up early for the first lift (almost).
Another good thing about Krvavec, as with snowboarding in Sarajevo, was the option to head elsewhere other than the mountain, should conditions up there be poor. Just an hour by buses, or a half hour direct drive from Krvavec is the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana, which although fairly small, is a wonderful city and has a lot to offer as an alternative to the slopes.
From its castle high above the city, down to the dragon bridge at water level. Then of course there is the triple bridge (no prizes for guessing when that name came from) and less obvious is the cities up and coming street art scene. Add to those enough restaurants and bars to keep you going for a week let alone a day or two, and you have yourself a fantastic alternative to snowboarding, should the worst happen, ‘the worst’ in our case being that blimmjn’ fog.
Snowboarding in Slovenia – Cost Breakdown
Snowboarding in Slovenia, or more precisely Krvavec, came in at …
|Airport Car Parking||25||29.00||31.25||Booked via Skypark Secure. Cost shown is based on £50 split between 2 people|
|Flights||60||69.60||75||Wizz Air – 1 hold bag between 2 people at 23kg + small cabin bag each. Wizzair charge for large cabin bags.|
|Accommodation||38||45.22||47.5||Mama’s House Hostel – private twin room with shared bathroom|
|Lift pass (3 days)||79||94.09||98.84||Cost shown includes 10% discount via hostel reference|
|Equipment Hire (3 days)||66.66||82.90||87.08||Cost shown includes 10% discount via hostel reference|
|Transfers||17||20.23||21.25||8 transfers – x2 airport transfers, x6 slopes-hostels-slopes transfers. Cost shown is based on €40 split between 2 people|
|Dinners x 3||30||35.70||37.5||Local restaurants – BIG wood oven pizzas €7-9 each. Typical spend was €10-12 a day|
|Lunches x3||25||29.75||31.25||Lunch on slopes. Typical spend was €10 a day|
|Apres ski||25||29.75||31.25||Local bars – pints at €2-2.50 each. Typical spend was €10 a day|
*The above table is based upon €1.16 to every £1, and $1.25 to every £1
** The above does NOT cover the afore mentioned afternoon jolly to Ljubljana. If you really want to know, the cost of travel to and from Ljubljana came to around €15 per person.
Now it terms of cost, the above ain’t half bad for 2.5 days on a European mountain.
Granted the ‘value’ of such snowboarding in Slovenia takes a knock when you take into account the bad whether, but as mentioned before, you just can’t plan for that kind of thing. If Nick and I had experience 3 days of perfect weather, there wouldn’t even be a question over the value.
Whether you see this as a ‘you get what you pay for’ scenario is up to you obviously, but while I would love to splash out a grand on a 5* trip to the three valleys, I simply do not have the means to do so … or at least not without raiding the joint account and then getting more than an earful from the mrs.
I love the challenge of travelling on a budget, but where I arrange and fund my own travels (I’m not so stupid to try pretend to you that I don’t go press trips, I do), luxury and I tend not to roam in the same circles.
Anyway, I digress (again), where natural events and conditions are concerned, I don’t think ‘get what you pay for’ applies, and on that basis I am deeming this instance of budget snowboarding in Slovenia a success. In short I had fun, and that’s what counts right.
The hostel effect
In order for budgeting snowboarding in Slovenia to work this time around, the key was our accommodation and the shuttle services offered by its host Julia.
Pickup from the airport – no problem.
Shuttles to and from the mountain each day – no problem either.
A private room (shared bathroom) at €10 a night pp, and 8 different shuttle runs at a total cost of €40 between the two of us -> bargain!
Had we been required to hire a car or rely on the local bus services I dare say our 2.5 days on the slopes would have been closer to 1.5 days, and at which point you may start to question the ‘worth it’ value.
Add to the above the fact that Julia had enough contacts/pull to get us 10% off of both our lift passes and hire, and there’s no denying that Mamas House Hostel is a certified winner!
Can you get it cheaper?
Looking at the above, the total cost of snowboarding in Slovenia at Krvavec came in at almost £100 more per person than my snowboarding Vogel trip.
Now there’s no doubt that sodding brexit had a little bit to do with the difference in cost of trips, in that my £ now isn’t worth quite as much, but I don’t think it could explain the full £100 value.
The big differences between my two Slovenia trips were the cost of the lift passes (price of Vogel lift pass has now increased anyway), and the cost of the equipment hire. Equipment hire at Vogel was insanely cheap owing a very nice man at the Finzgar rental shop who gave us a massive discount because it was the end of the season.
£100 is £100 though, and not to be sniffed at. However is £100 worth an extra day’s annual leave use? For those of use with limited days we can take off work each year, we hold those days dear. Snowboarding in Krvavec allowed Nick and I to hit the slopes the same morning we touched down in Slovenia, whereas when visiting Vogel my friends and I had to spend our entire first day in walking around Bled in an effort to arrange our lift passes.
For the record Bled is actually stunning, and there are far far worse places to spend your time wandering around, but what is a day saved from ‘admin’ worth?
… £100 maybe?
Where in the world?
Although I have noted £25 per person for the cost of airport car parking, for this trip my car parking was kindly supplied by the good people at Skyparks Secure. Big thanks to the Skyparks team for looking after my car while I was away.