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Holiday skiing, Slovak style

CHRISTMAS is here and with it comes the image of a snowy countryside, trees sagging under heavy masses of snow and narrow snow-trodden paths. Though those in towns can at the moment only dream of a white landscape, some places in the mountains in northern Slovakia have already had 50 to 100 centimetres of snow.

Several ski centres in Slovakia have already welcomed the first skiers this winter.
photo: www.goski.sk

CHRISTMAS is here and with it comes the image of a snowy countryside, trees sagging under heavy masses of snow and narrow snow-trodden paths. Though those in towns can at the moment only dream of a white landscape, some places in the mountains in northern Slovakia have already had 50 to 100 centimetres of snow.

Traditionally, the High Tatras' Štrbské Pleso and the Low Tatras' Jasná get the most, 100 and 70 centimetres, respectively.

The ski season has already started in some of the ski resorts, but most open no sooner than shortly before Christmas. Here is a short guide on the current situation in the main ski centres, and what to look forward to as well as what to avoid.

For the second time in a row, the High Tatras' Tatranská Lomnica kicks off the season on December 23 with the "Cableway for Sk10" (one cableway, one direction, one ride) attraction. On this day a return ticket all the way to the Lomnický štít peak (2,632 metres), a journey that means using four cableways, costs just Sk40. This is certainly a bargain since on other days the cableway tickets reach several hundred crowns.

If you fancy an unconventional location to toast in the New Year, then plan a trip to Veľká Rača near the north-western town of Čadca. There you can stand on the slope on your skis and clink glasses under a hail of fireworks while listening to good music. The Dedovka locality has prepared a special Silvester show with extended night skiing until midnight.

From Christmas to Three Kings (January 6) one should count on higher prices in the ski centres (see table). Moreover, those days are the school winter holidays, so expect more visitors from various parts of Slovakia.

Hopefully by then more snow will have arrived. Otherwise, the main winter centres will be bursting at the seams.


Locality - Snow conditions (Dec 15) - Ski-ticket prices before/after Christmas
Jasná (950-1,872 m) - 70 cm very good Sk490 / 790
Štrbské pleso (1,400-1,840 m) - 100 cm very good Sk350 / 690
Skalnaté pleso (1,751-2,189 m) - 30 cm poor SkNA / 640
Vrátna-Paseky (600-1,000 m) - 40 cm very good Sk435 / 680
Skipark Ružomberok (560-1,209 m) - 10 cm poor SkNA / 650
Park Snow Donovaly (940-1,361 m) - 45 cm very good Sk450 / 690
Snow Paradise Veľká Rača (640-1,050 m) - 60 cm very good Sk680 / 730
Zverovka-Spálená (1,030-1,454 m) - 40 cm very good Sk500 / 580
Plejsy (470-912 m) - NA - Sk380 / 640
Note: Localities may run the increased prices for ski tickets until January 2 or 6. It is advised to visit www.holidayinfo.sk or www.yeti.sk before taking a trip to the mountains.

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