News from the snow
Bohinj is a slightly unusual ski destination being more famous for its beautiful lake than its resort. Indeed the resort is a collection of villages spread around the lake and the skiing is on separate mountains - Kobla and Vogel, at each end of the Lake. Located in the Triglav National Park, Bohinj also has a glacier above although the ski lifts do not reach it. The mountain scenery of the Julian Alps is spectacular and snow conditions are often the best in the country as moisture from the Adriatic hits these mountains first as it travels inland. The largest village in the area is Bohinjska Bistrica which is at the base of the skiing at Kobla which extends for a vertical kilometre above the village. Kobla is the only ski resort in Slovenia accessible by train. At the other end of the Lake a cable car lifts skiers up to 1544m where most of the skiing begins, in a narrow range up to 1800m. However there is a long red right back down to the Lake at 570m, snow permitting. Kobla has slightly more marked piste than Vogel, the two areas together have about 60km of runs.
Mount Vogel is accessed by cable car which arrives at a plateau with nursery arera and trails radiating out for more advanced skiers. Runs down to picturesque lake-side Bohinjska Bistrica below when snow cover is adequate.
Terrain is best suited to beginners and intermediates, the latter able to enjoy runs of up to six kilometres (four miles) back down on wide runs cut through the pine forests from the top of the highest Kobla III chairlift. There's also an FIS approved fast course.
The ski school has a good reputation and there are three T Bar drag lifts, two of them serving separate nursery slopes at village level, on which to master technique. The Kozji Hrbet slope is lighted and offers night skiing
The larger ski area at Mount Vogel is accessed by a spectacular cable car ride which arrives at a plateau with nursery area for beginners to practice their first turns on and trails radiating out for more advanced skiers. The view from here encompasses the Bohinj Valley, the surrounding Julian Alps, Triglav and the southern Bohinj mountains, the Karavanke mountain range and the Kamnik Alps.
There are not many black runs for advanced skiers but there is one gem at Vogel when conditions are right. The ∑agarjev Graben run goes over the back of the mountain from the top of the lifts and descends 8.5km (over five miles) for 1230 vertical metres down to Lakeside.
It's also possible to sign up for exciting guided ski tours through the Julian Alps. The longest off piste route in the Julian Alps is not far away either. This 15 km tour starts on Kanjavec and ends in Stara Fu√ina, a total altitude difference of 2000m.
If you fancy a change of scenery the small ski area at Stra√a above Bled is included on the high value lift ticket, along with the 45 minute ski bus ride to it. The Ski Pass Julian Alps also covers slightly more distant ski areas at Krvavec, Kranjska Gora, Stari vrh and Sori∫ka planina.
There are some excellent cross country tracks through the Pokljuka Plateau, as well as an FIS course from Bohinjska Bistrica up to village Polje. There are also prepared cross-country courses at Ribcev Laz and Stara Fuzina and at all the ski centres.
However many of the hotels do offer discounts or free accommodation for children in families and if no special facilities are required, Bohinj is a good destination for families looking for high value skiing, dining and travel.
On the mountain the Ski Hotel Vogel offers traditional Slovene food such as ∫truklji and Kranj sausage.
For a particularly surreal experience book in for an Agatha Christie themed dinner at the Bellevue Hotel on Saturday night (she stayed there on holiday in the 1960s).
The Ski Hotel Vogel is located on the mountain at the top of the cable car and is a good stopping off point during the day and once the lifts close. There's an Aperetif terrace bar there with spectacular views all around.
The bar at the Hotel Zlatorog close to the base of Vogel's lifts operates a happy hour from six until seven most nights in itsa bar and there's also a traditional Slovenian tavern on site. There's another nice bar in the Hotel Jezero and several more in the village of Ukanc.
Bohinj is quite a good choice for beginners looking for a high value, low pressure destination although those seeking wild nightlife will probably be disappointed.