On a weekend that saw two of Slovenia’s most prominent ski-resorts score notable but contrasting successes, a Tolar perhaps for the thoughts of Bovec on seeing two of its compatriots gaining the sort of international recognition and exposure of which, it has for so long been deprived.
Having successfully concluded its 51st Golden Fox World Cup meeting, Maribor Pohorje, despite drizzle and then rain threatening to disrupt the final day of racing saw a complete vindication of the local authority’s actions to keep alive the ski-lift infrastructure – through its mass-transit arm Marprom – realising that losing the kudos and patronage that comes with staging world cup ski races would in all likelihood have been lost forever, should they have defaulted on this year’s race meeting. Whilst the long-term future of Pohorje’s winter-sports infrastructure is unknown beyond the end of the current ski-season, it will be hoped a long-term solution can be found allowing more of a laissez-faire approach to be adopted by Maribor’s city hall.
Operating at a marginally higher altitude than Maribor but by no means classed as a snow-sure resort, Kranjska Gora has perhaps surprisingly been ranked inside the top 50 ski destination by hotel price-comparison experts Trivago. I am unsure if this is a European only or international list which sees Kranjska Gora ranked 48th but nevertheless, it is surely a unexpected bonus for the resort that enjoys much of its patronage from close-neighbour Austria. Considering the amount of resorts to vie with KG has done extremely well to ‘mix it’ with Swiss, French, Italian, up and coming Bansko, Pamporovo and of course Austria itself, as well as the Tatras straddling the frontier between Slovakia and Poland. I can only assume that Trivago’s findings are based on a mixture of traveller feedback, an abundance and availability of accommodation, service and of course how snow-sure or otherwise a resort tends to be. Whatever the criteria, Kranjska Gora must certainly be congratulated for figuring so highly in a poll topped by the Tux-Hintertux region, an area close to the Zillertal resorts of Finkenberg and Mayrhofen.
What then of Bovec? Unarguably the most snow-sure resort of the three by dint of the possibility of skiing at a much higher altitude, it should be able to claim such accolades and more. Ever since a serious but thankfully non-catastrophic cable-car accident a few years ago the lift infrastructure of Bovec has remained motionless, decaying all the while. A succession of new owners has been sought through auctions but at the time of writing have yet to be found. Bovec’s municipality have been reluctant to step in to salvage the winter-sports industry the whole town so relies upon, despite the success Marprom have made of matters at Pohorje. The irony though is surely not lost on Bovec’s power-brokers that an inactive lift-system is on a daily basis costing the town and its residents valuable revenue; the longer though that the whole infrastructure is left to go to seed, the costlier the exercise will be to renovate, overhaul of even replace the cableway that saw several of its carriages plummet to earth amidst a freak spell of high winds. The worry though must be that modern-day cable-cars are built to withstand very high winds, even if they aren’t meant to be operated during such conditions. In that case, surely Bovec’s cableway is not fit for purpose, with only a complete replacement of it being the appropriate course of action. The cost of this likely scenario is perhaps the reason alone that Bovec’s local authority haven’t stepped in to once more enable winter-sports enthusiasts to enjoy the varied terrain on the Slovenian side of Mount Kanin. Whilst Bovec as a town still receives guests in the winter, room occupancy is understandable way down on the like for like figures from the pre-closure days. The hotels are making the best of a bad job by bussing skiers every morning the forty minutes to Sella Nevea, the Italian side of Kanin but inevitably, much daytime revenue is lost from these guests who will spend their Euros(€) in Italy, rather than Slovenia.
Slovenia is though a small country with perhaps too many ski resorts to expect them all to thrive at any one time. Vogel above Bohinj continues to see the tills ringing and whilst not a vintage year for snow depths, it can currently offer visitors more than three feet of natural snow, something it solely relies upon due to the absence of artificial snow-making facilities in a resort so close to the environmentally sensitive Triglav National Park. Bovec’s time will undoubtedly come again but to match the positive publicity garnered this weekend by Pohorje and Kranjska Gora, it has much making up to do.
Further reporting on Kranjska Gora can be found at: The Slovenia Times: Kranjska Gora rated in the world’s top 50
*Update: Kranjska Gora’s ranking is 48th in the world, not just Europe*