Wreathed in forests, Chata Vratna waits for tourists. Cross country skiing, downhill skiing and winter walks make this hideaway in the Vratna Dolina a superb winter escape.
The mountains of the north-western part of Slovakia are among the loveliest mountain regions of Slovakia, and a boon to tourism and winter sports. The town of Žilina is positively wreathed in their beauty.
There are no significant possibilities for downhill skiing in these mountains, but the ridge, which is broad and relatively uniform in elevation, provides good opportunities for cross country skiing. As the hills are wooded right up to the ridges, all tourist paths are safe and suitable for walking in winter. A small ski-centre was created in Makov, close to the Czech and Slovak border. Chata Bumbálka for years has stood here for skiers and is renowned for its good service.
Only isolated hills in these highlands provide opportunities for downhill skiing. Nevertheless there are some places suitable both for cross country and winter walking. A small hill named Straník, which rises over the town Žilina, can be reached by local public transport, and offers very convenient skiing possibilities to the inhabitants of Žilina.
These mountains form a massif in the area of the Fatra and Tatra mountains. Almost dividing the mountains in half, the river Váh cuts a deep valley through the range: the Lučanská Malá Fatra mountains lie to the south of the river, and the Krivánska Malá Fatra to the north. Since the Malá Fatra has been declared a National Park, there are special rules to be obeyed and walking within the area is restricted to marked tourist paths.
KRIVÁNSKA MALÁ FATRA
This area offers excellent conditions for downhill skiing. An area near the surrounding forests provides opportunities for walking. Vrátna dolina is the most popular centre of tourism and skiing in the Malá Fatra. Great conditions for skiing abound also for those choosy skiers: seat-lifts whisk visitors up to Grúň and Chleb, several ski-tows operate on Poludňový Grúň, Paseky, Pod Sokolím and Tizinka, while kids and novice skiers can ply the moderate lift on Somárska lúka ("Sissies'slope") - everybody will find a hill to his taste. As a surprise for visitors, a brand new 4-seat lift, which is now under construction on the slope Paseky, has been planned as a late Christmas gift. Besides several small private pensions, hotel Boboty (located under the rocky Boboty massif) offers a beautiful view of Vel'ký and Malý Rozsutec, as well as a complex of services including sauna and swimming-pool. According to the latest information, the hotel will keep to last year's ticket prices, which means a daily fare of 200 Sk.
LUČANSKÁ MALÁ FATRA
These mountains offer good opportunities for walking and skiing in winter. As the hills are wooded up to the ridges, there is no danger of avalanche and marked tourist paths are safe. The wide ridge of Martinské hole creates excellent conditions for downhill skiing from December until the end of April. Skiing during Easter is not rare here. Kids and less advanced skiers will also enjoy this area. Five ski tows of different lengths wait for the season to start. Martinské hole can be reached by seat-lift from Martin - Stráne, which leaves hourly until three o'clock in the afternoon. If you choose to use the steep access road, your car should be equipped with snow chains.
There are several possibilities for downhill skiing here. Places near the woods can be used for cross - country skiing. The hills are wooded up to the ridges, the tourists paths are safe and suitable for walking. The village of Čičmany, besides its ornamental painted wooden houses built in typical folk architecture style, offers five ski tows with a total transport capacity of 2 500 persons per hour. Hotel Kaštieľ (a baroque castle from the late 18th century) in the very centre of the village offers a kind of tourist accommodation and a good kitchen.
Enjoy the winter in its white beauty, enjoy the loveliness of Malá Fatra. On skis, you can cross the mountain ridges and slopes and feel the icy wind freezing your breath. You can watch the mountain-tops glow like fiery coals among the dying embers of fires lit by the western sun.
18. Dec 1997 at 0:00 | Ľubica Sokolíková