A diverse portfolio of assets owned by the now defunct Pohorje Sports Centre(PSC) is being brought to auction, the first items being offered today for general sale.
The miscellany of resources once at the disposal of PSC include a fishing facility, holiday accommodation in the Bolfenk area of the Pohorje massif and garage. It was only through the 2014 intervention from Maribor’s municipality, the civic authority responsible for Slovenia’s second city and the Pohorje region, that Pohorje was able to function as the viable winter sports arena it had been for so many years. The city’s mass transit operator Marprom, formerly tasked with operating Maribor’s bus network undertook the not dissimilar but more volatile project of keeping the ski lifts moving, itself a vital barometer of the area’s financial health. Marprom’s intervention also enabled the FIS’s annual jamboree in Maribor to continue in the shape of The Golden Fox ladies slalom race, a traditional and money-spinning event Maribor could ill afford to lose. While Marprom continues to oversee Pohorje’s lift system the relative success of the public sector where private enterprise has in Slovenia so often failed leaves Maribor’s municipality in a difficult position. Although the importance of the winter scene to Maribor is ever apparent it is debatable if a public body can continue in the long-term to invest in such a temperamental industry, one that forever remains at the mercy of the capricious vicissitudes of Slovenia’s snow record. Very often the antithesis of best practice and the implementation of sound, pragmatic business principles have seen private enterprises go to the wall when a succession of poor, snowless winters have failed to deliver the necessary conditions to sell lift passes. The lack of a Plan B, such as investment in snow cannons and related infrastructure to aid the production of synthesised snow has seen many green winters of discontent. There is though an inherent risk of another financial collapse of the ski scene should its operation be once more handed over to private hands, a scenario Maribor’s Municipality dare not countenance.
Whilst the economics of the continued stewardship of Pohorje’s slopes will be at the forefront of minds in Maribor’s city hall, such is the importance of the ski industry to the city and its immediate neighbours that for the moment, the local authority cannot afford not to continue in the same vein. Even as an arm’s length organisation Marprom are ultimately responsible to Maribor’s tax payers and will have to annually argue that its ongoing operation of Pohorje’s lifts represents value for money for the city’s hard-pressed citizens.
Other assets to be eventually disposed of include additional hotel units, an artificial snow-making capability, further tracts of Pohorje-based land and shares in Kranjska Gora’s lift system.
Further reading on these matters can be viewed at: