In Slovenia, a ski and a swim make an uncommon pairing

Vogel Ski Resort in Slovenia. MUST CREDIT: Ezav Mrgole

Dwelling in Slovenia, you usually hear about the advantages of the splendidly compact but various terrain of the nation. Stretching over a territory concerning the dimension of New Jersey, it runs the gamut of landscapes.

Contemplate the huge underground limestone cave methods, only a brief drive from the flatlands of the Pannonian Plain, populated by storks and gypsies. The darkish, fairy-tale forests of the southern area, dotted with castles and small church buildings, are mere minutes from the 30 miles of Adriatic shoreline that stretches far south into Dalmatia. But that is simply an hour or so from the northern mountainous area, fringed by two ranges of the Alps, looming on the horizon, capped by snow deep into spring.

As an American expat fortunately dwelling in Slovenia for a few years, I like exploring my adopted nation and looking out, extra deeply than maybe even locals do, into what makes it such a beautiful place to go to and reside. One line I hear regularly, and which guidebooks wish to boast about, is that the nation is so compact, with such a variety of terrain, that you would be able to ski within the morning and swim within the ocean within the afternoon.

Logistically, by way of transport time, I acknowledge that that is simply doable. To get from the city that I now name dwelling – Kamnik, which boasts three castles and stands on the foot of the Kamnik-Savinja vary of the Alps – to the shoreline takes nearly 90 minutes. However I do not know anyone who has truly tried it.

May I truly ski within the morning and swim within the afternoon? Past the concept that this would possibly make for a really heat morning of snowboarding and an especially chilly afternoon of swimming, there was the query of whether or not any ski resorts keep open lengthy sufficient into the spring (or open early sufficient within the fall) to make swimming possible with out carrying a dry swimsuit. Crucial query was: Even whether it is logistically possible, would it not be any enjoyable?

Just one approach to discover out. One morning in April, I resolve to present it a go.

A fast take a look at a map reveals that masking distances is the least of my worries. Krvavec is the closest resort to Kamnik – solely a 20-minute drive away – and is subsequently my go-to native ski web site. The issue is attending to the highest of a mountain to ski down it. Many of the ski resorts shut on the finish of the season, in late March or early April, Krvavec included.

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As an alternative, I will need to go to Vogel, which is about half-hour farther away from the coast and the freeway. Vogel is the very best ski resort within the nation and retains snow the longest, in order that’s my finest option to steadiness a purposeful gondola and snow-thick trails with a fast route all the way down to the coast and an Adriatic Sea that has as a lot time as attainable to heat up.

An early-morning view of Slovenia’s Lake Bohinj and the mountains rising above it. Ezav Mrgole

To hit the slopes early, I spend the night time in a tiny village just some miles from Lake Bohinj and some extra from the Vogel ski resort. Artpartment is a rental on the highest ground of a household dwelling, transformed right into a wood-clad oasis by younger grasp craftsman Izak Mrgole, whose mother and father, Leonida and Albert, are well-known psychologists in Slovenia. Within the hooked up kitchen, I put together a conventional breakfast of unpasteurized yogurt, home-baked bread with native honey, apples and “mountain” tea (a mix of untamed alpine herbs), in addition to an infinite mug of Turkish espresso. I am off at round 8 a.m. to be on an early gondola as much as Vogel. The drive takes simply 10 minutes, winding by spectacular surroundings that remembers the climax of “The Sound of Music,” which was filmed on a distant part of the identical mountain vary.

Vogel is good for me – a awful however enthusiastic skier. It is filled with lengthy trails of mid-level problem, together with one that’s open solely climate allowing, however which runs seven full kilometers, sweeping all the way in which down the mountain in a single lovely run that’s snowboarding at its most pleasant and least fussy, by way of lifts.

As a result of the distances are brief, I can absorb an excellent two hours of snowboarding earlier than I would like to consider setting off. And since it’s a weekday late within the season, there are virtually no different skiers on the slope.

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After that, I am off to the coast, and for the reason that freeway takes me proper previous the capital, Ljubljana, I’ve time to cease off for lunch. I may go for a fast meal and seize some cevapcici – the favourite quick meals of the Balkans, a cross between a meatball and a sausage eaten with fluffy, heat pita bread known as lepinje and a butter-cheese hybrid known as kajmak. However with a rustic this compact, why rush? As an alternative I cease for a correct meal at JB, which is probably the most effective deal amongst San Pellegrino World’s 50 Greatest Eating places, with a five-course prix fixe for about $50.

After lunch, whereas driving the sleek stretch of freeway to the seaside city of Koper, I start to get nervous concerning the impending swim. Adrenaline is actually not my center title, and if a swimming pool is not bathtub heat, I am unlikely to go for a dip. I recall the recommendation from City Praprotnik, a operating coach and ski teacher who leads sporty vacationers on mixture ski-run-swim holidays so long as the slopes keep open. He makes a degree of swimming no less than as soon as a month, together with through the winter, and in February he took a dip within the ocean when it was 40 levels. This time of yr, it is a balmy 55 levels, he assured me, so it will be a bit of cake.

He does advise me to stroll actively earlier than coming into chilly water, then enter it slowly and calmly, “convincing my prefrontal cortex that every one is nicely.” Simpler mentioned than carried out. I would been planning a fast cannonball, adopted by screaming and operating out to shore, so this can be a quite totally different strategy.

As soon as an import metropolis because the capital of the Istrian Peninsula, Koper is an endearing maze of slim streets, with shocking bits of structure, fountains and palaces, such because the Praetorian’s Palace, with its fishtail-shaped ramparts. It additionally boasts a powerful cathedral housing a worth-a-journey portray by the Renaissance Venetian grasp, Vittore Carpaccio.

A view of the home through which Artpartment is positioned, in a village beside Lake Bohinj and Vogel Ski Resort in Slovenia. Ezav Mrgole

With a eager want to get the swim behind me, I head straight to the piers on the fringe of city. It’s many levels hotter right here than it was in Ljubljana, and I am struck by how few miles I’ve traveled to go from carrying my ski pants and jacket atop Vogel to the 60-degree air of Ljubljana to the 72 levels of Koper. Slovenia really is a focus of terrains and local weather.

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The ocean spreads out earlier than me, however I discover, with some trepidation, that there’s completely nobody swimming. Hmm. All the identical, I strip all the way down to the showering swimsuit that I’ve been strategically carrying all day below my ski pants. My spouse awaits, rolling her eyes, with a thick bathrobe and – a key bit of recommendation from a number of Slovenian pals – a hip flask of my grandmother-in-law’s village-prizewinning do-it-yourself schnapps.

I nonetheless really feel like a cannonball could be the most effective strategy, however I take City’s recommendation, leap round a bit to heat up, then breathe slowly, have a chat with my prefrontal cortex and step into the ocean. It’s chilly. Actually, uncomfortably chilly. I handle to inch my approach waist deep, rely to a few after which … off I dash to my spouse and the bathrobe and, particularly, the schnapps.

My final Slovenian day journey proved successful. I used to be in a position to comfortably ski and (type of) swim on the coast, all in in the future, and with out even feeling rushed. I’ve proved the oft-spoken, little-undertaken cliche that Slovenia’s miniature dimension however grand selection means that you can do all of it.

However I would not advocate it. Sooner or later, I will preserve my snowboarding and swimming holidays aside.



– Artpartment

Zlan 4, Bohinj


The condo, which incorporates two bedrooms and a kitchen, rents for round $85 an evening.


– JB

Miklosiceva 19, Ljubljana


For a flowery meal, strive JB, rated the tenth finest restaurant in Europe by the Each day Meal and definitely top-of-the-line values on the record.


– Vogel Ski Resort

Ukanc 6, Bohinjsko Jezero


A half-day ski go prices about $33 per grownup.

– Krvavec Ski Resort

Cerklje na Gorenjskem


A 2-hour ski go prices about $28 per grownup.


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