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Feature 07 Dec 12

Ski Fans Await Season’s First Flakes

Ski lovers are delighted that after one of the warmest autumns in decades, the snow season is finally approaching.

Nemanja Cabric
BIRN
Belgrade
Mt Jahorina, in southeast Bosnia.

If everything goes as predicted, mountain peaks across the region will soon be covered with enough snow to make winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding possible.

Each year, fresh snow and the winter holidays bring crowds to ski resorts such as Kopaonik in Serbia, Jahorina in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Popova Sapka in Macedonia, Zabljak in Montenegro and Sljeme in Croatia.

Besides fine slopes and beautiful landscapes, what also draw them are affordable prices for ski lifts, ski lessons and hotel rooms.

Jahorina:

Mt Jahorina, in southeast Bosnia, 30km from Sarajevo, and 15km from Pale, is the second tallest mountain (1,913m) in the country.

With an average of 106cm of snow in February, and a good three metres in some seasons, the season there promises to get underway soon. 

On average it is covered with snow 175 days a year, from October to late May.

Jahorina is a popular destination for skiing, hiking, and sledding, with over 20km of ski trails and modern facilities.

It has around ten ski lifts with a capacity to carry 12,000 skiers per hour. Ski schools, ski rentals services and ski equipment are available. Near the slopes are barbecue houses with sunbathing areas where visitors can grab a bite to eat from the grill or have a warm drink.

Besides skiing, sledding, night skiing and mountain walks, Jahorina offers a variety of programs. It offers numerous apartments, hotels and restaurants at affordable prices.

Price for a day ski pass average around €17.

Sar Planina:

Popova Sapka, on Sara Mountain, is one of the most attractive ski resort in Macedonia, 18km from the northwest town of Tetovo.

Papova Sapka has a lot of sunny days and is usually covered with snow from October to May.

Popova Sapka has 35km sq of slopes that differ in difficulty, and are adapted to both beginners and experts.

It has two B category hotels with views of the ski resorts, restaurants, swimming pools and more.

Another interesting place for skiing is Macedonia’s Mt Kozuf, in the south, some 30km from the town of Gevgelia.

Once finished, this recently built ski resort will be one of the biggest in the region, with 140km of slopes and 80 cannons for artificial snow.

It will also have 200 ski huts for rent, 40 small hotels, and six large ones.

Kopaonik:

The most attractive ski resort in Serbia, Kopaonik has numerous large hotels in the centre of Kopaonik as well as in Brzece village at the foot of the mountain, connected by ski lift to the ski centre.

Slopes are located at a height of 1,100m to 2,017m, and have 24 ski lifts that can transport 30,000 skiers per hour. There are 55km of Alpine tracks and 12km of Nordic tracks.

Three tracks were recently certificated as meeting “FIS” standards, which means international competitions can be held here.

A one-day ticket for the ski lifts for adults costs about €30.

As of recently there is new snow park, and if in future Kopaonik gets a so-called “half-pipe“, international competitions in extreme sports could be held here also.

Kopaonik has 120 teachers in skiing and snowboard and three ski schools.

Sljeme:

This ski resort, located only 10 minutes’ drive from Zagreb, presents an experience all of its own.

Located on Mt Medvednica, at a height around 1,000m, it includes some three kilometres of tracks connected by five ski lifts, carrying a capacity of 3,300 skiers per hour.

Equipped with a system for making artificial snow, as well as reflectors for night skiing, Sljeme is a venue for international skiing events such as the FIS International Ski Cup Competition.

Ski lifts cost about €10 per day.

Zabljak:

Zabljak, in northwest Montenegro, in the centre of the Durmitor area, is the highest urban settlement in the Balkans at 1,500m.

There are many various ski slopes here with a total length of 4.3km located on the edges of the town of Zabljak and in its surroundings.

Five kilometres from town is the ski resort of Savin kuk, which has six ski lifts with a capacity to carry 4,000 skiers per hour, and one slope for night skiing.

Whatever one prefers, now might be the best time to make reservations, as the coming of the holidays and the first snow will soon jam phone lines and create queues in front of travel agencies.

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