One of the few cableways in Slovenia regarded as being a financial success, Vogel above Bohinj has just celebrated the 51st birthday of its ski resort designation with a raft of celebrations to commemorate this most evergreen of mountain lifts.

Upgraded to the current two-carriage cable-car shortly after the turn of the millennium, Vogel’s success has transcended the fluctuating fortunes of the Ski Hotel Vogel, found adjacent to its Rjava Skala top station and currently enjoying a renaissance of its own, it albeit still rigidly adhering to a strict ‘winter only’ opening policy. Whilst somewhat reliant on the capricious nature of the Julian Alps’ climate, Vogel’s almost year-round operation is a monument to the unique landscape it services. A fantastic starting point for many summer hikes and hut to hut multi-day excursions, operating in conjunction with the Orlove Glave chairlift the modern cableway cuts out the need to laboriously trudge all the way to Mount Vogel’s 1922 metres summit, a not inconsiderable and at times unpleasant trek along mountainsides scarred by ski runs and a distinct lack of tree-cover from the cable-car’s top-station situation 1535 metres above sea-level.

Despite seemingly compromised by such a modest altitude Vogel attributes much of its success to the relative snow-sure nature it enjoys although snow can still be patchy, intermittent and at times TOO plentiful, pushing the skills of the local piste basher operators to the limit. The area does though provide some of Slovenia’s most dependable skiing, a lack of varied terrain mitigated by the comparative reliability of its snowfall record. It will be interesting to see if the reemergence of winter-sports this winter on the Slovenian side of Mount Kanin at frontier town Bovec will have any effect on the popularity of Vogel although, the geographical location of terrain offering Slovenia’s highest skiing is more ideally suited to attracting cross-border patrons from Austria and in particular, Italy. Winter visitors to Vogel generally fall into two categories: local skiers and those from Slovenia’s fellow former Yugoslav republics, their visits heavily motivated by reminiscence of trips from yesteryear, days many still consider to be halcyon compared to the fractious, secessionist disintegration of Tito’s former Non-Aligned empire and the subsequent societal and financial collateral damage that ensued.

Vogel has stuck to a principle of doing what it does, and doing it well. Its ability to operate throughout the calendar year does give it a distinct advantage over many other similar facilities nationwide but a marked decline in recent times of available tourist accommodation in the immediate Lake Bohinj area has as of yet failed to produce a potentially damaging, knock on effect. A steady stream of local winter-sports participants and patrons of the Ski Hotel will for the meantime keep Vogel in the black but in common with the whole Bohinj region, the sooner the future of hotels Bellevue, Zlatorog and Bohinj is resolved the better it will be for not only Vogel, but also a country that so heavily relies on tourism euros(€) to arrest a Greek-style financial tragedy from potentially unfolding within its borders.

Further reading on this matter can be viewed at:

Gorenjski Glas: Vogel ski resort celebrates birthday milestone