News from the snow
Kopaonik is a lively ski area, with high value prices, a good snow and sun record in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Its wide mountain range spreads 83 by 62 kilometers and a have quite distinct natural borders, carved by the deep valleys of the Ibar, Josanica, Rasina, Gornja Toplica and Lab rivers. Despite having some 200 sunny days a year, the blanket of snow can stay on this mountain from November till May. Nicknamed 'Kop, ' Kopaonik was a major value destination in Easter Europe during the late 1970s and early 1980s before more than a decade in the international wilderness due to the Balkan Wars. It was reintroduced to the world's skiers for the 2004-5 season and remains one of the world's best value quality destinations. In 2005 the Austrian lift company Doppelmayr installed two new quad chairs to greatly enhgance uplift. Road access, water supply and snowmaking were also improved. Visitors should not underestimate the incredible natural wealth and long historical significance of Kopaonik mountain which is unrivalled in Serbia for its natural beauty and mineral wealth. Rich artefacts have been found here darting back millennia and there are ruined ancient buildings dating back to roman times as well as several monasteries on its extensive slopes. Minerals were been mined in the area for at least a thousand years and there are many natural springs, also valued since antiquity for their varying restorative properties.
A modern and well designed purpose built centre with a good snow and sunshine record, popular wirth Western European skiers up to the Yugoslavian civil war - offering as it did the rare combination of high quality with low Eastern European prices. Runs include FIS approved 'super G' or downhill, giant slalom ("Duboka") and slalom ("Gobelja") courses. Much slope-side accommodation and ski bus (free) linking base stations. There is also floodlighting for night skiing.
Kopaonik is very well suited to beginners with four nursery slopes with their own lifts, a well respected ski school and two thirds of the terrain graded easy for rapid progression. The fact that the lift ticket costs somewhere between a third and a half the equivalent Alpine resort price is a big help for many too, with Learn To Ski packages available including tuition and rentals. Most accommodation and facilities (for example, cafes to collapse in) are very convenient to the nursery slopes too.
Intermediate standard skiers will find seven trails graded red, the longest the 2km long Krcmar run. Although there is not initially much to attract advanced skiers, the resort is in fact a regular host of many ski and snowboard competitions, there are the three FIS standard runs - for slalom, giant slalom and super G or downhill and off piste powder can be good if you're lucky with powder falls when you visit.
Cross country skiers with about 20 km of marked trails.
The Ski School in Kopaonik is divides children in to classes according to age group (6-7, 7-10, 11-15, 16 and older) and experience.
There are around ten options to choose from all offering high value. Koala and Red Bull are both pizzerias, or for something a little more local try the Kopanièki Vajat or Zvrk restaurants.
The dolly Bell Bar is a popular meeting place when the lifts close and the Dancing Bar remains open (with dancing as its name suggests) in to the small hours.
Given the high value for board rental, tuition and lift pass with some tour operators offering all inclusive 'learn to board' deals at even better rates, Kopaonik is quite a good choice for trying boarding for the first time without breaking the bank.