Interesting times lie ahead for arguably Slovenia’s most famous ski resort, Vogel above Lake Bohinj, following news of a majority acquisition of KD Capital’s 51% shareholding of the Ukanc-based cableway and ski centre.

Whilst Vogel cannot offer high altitude winter sports that the soon to be rejuvenated Kanin lift above frontier town Bovec will once more provide, it has often punched above its height thanks to its snow-sure nature that regularly sees packed slopes when other resorts of similar altitude are closed due to a lack of snow or insufficiently low temperatures to produce artificial snow. Indeed, what makes Vogel’s reliability all the more remarkable is its lack of capability to provide synthesised ski conditions during uncooperative meteorological periods.

Falling outside of the Triglav National Park boundary Vogel nevertheless abuts this area of outstanding ecological beauty and importance, meaning any proposed developments triggered by the acquisition will be heavily scrutinised by Bohinj’s Municipality. It is though anticipated that both parties will develop a sound business relationship with the local authority particularly keen to avoid a similar situation that has arisen with Zmago Pacnik, the absentee landlord of many of the area’s foremost hotels. It will be interesting to see if the new majority owner of Vogel’s operating company Zicnice Vogel decides to expand his local portfolio by incorporating the ailing Zlatorog, Bellevue and Bohinj hotels into an integrated business plan spanning a large majority of the lakeside’s tourism assets.

What improvements can be made to Vogel as a winter sports destination? Aside from costly but arguably mandatory improvements to its artificial snow making capability there is also the possibility of expanding the cableway beyond its current reach. At present Vogel’s modern cable-car tops out at 1535 metres, some 1200 feet below the actual eponymous summit. Whilst a chairlift does transport skiers and hikers beyond the 1600 metres mark there is potential scope to lengthen the current mechanized route to nearer 1900 metres, removing the trudge from Vogel’s Rjava Skala top station over ski slopes that thanks to human intervention do not look their best outside of a snowy winter season. A challenging but rewarding ridge walk that in no particular order takes in the peaks of Sija, Crni Prst and Rodica is best approached with fresh legs that a hike up to Mount Vogel from the Ski Hotel will leave you with anything but.

There is perhaps greater anticipation than trepidation of what the long-term future holds for Vogel due to the identity of the individual behind the majority acquisition. With Slovenian heritage the naturalized Australian Anthony Tomazin will bring a wealth of experience to his latest business addition and is no stranger to the country, with restaurants and bars in Ljubljana’s vibrant hospitality scene forming part of his Terra Australis empire. Despite generating a six figure profit for the year ending 2014 there has always been a feeling that Vogel has operating within itself, its potential waiting to be awoken by an individual with the requisite vision and finance. The scope to broaden Vogel’s winter appeal to a larger audience will surely figure on Tomazin’s ‘to do’ list but whilst Bohinj’s problems with the quality and quantity of its hotel stock remain, the height of its current ambitions will not be improved upon until the area can accommodate additional overnight guests in surroundings modern travellers have come to expect as standard.

Further reading on this issue can be viewed at:

Slovenia Times: Vogel ski centre sold to Terra Australis group