Great Value Ski Accommodation in Slovenia

If you are looking for a winter sports experience with a difference, then head to Slovenia where two new self catering properties have been launched by Slovenian Retreats in the Julian Alps area, close to Kranjska Gora, Slovenia’s best known ski-resort and home to annual world cup slalom and ski-jumping events.

Villas Planina and Nebina offer great value ski accommodation for either those looking for individual apartments or for big groups of up to 20 people wishing to hire out the whole properties.  Villa Planina is situated on the edge of the charming rustic village of Ratece. Each apartment within the villa are finished to an extremely high quality, with luxury features such as underfloor heating, flat screen TVs, DVD players, wireless internet and a shared pool table and ping pong table, as well as a kid’s communal soft play area. The villa is situated in a unique location with uninterrupted panoramic views from each apartment towards the Julian Alps and snow capped peaks of Jalovec and Mojstrovka mountains. Local facilities in the village offer a range of restaurants, traditional taverns (or ‘gostlinas’) and a supermarket, and the villa is just a five minute drive from central Kranjska Gora or even less to the slopes at Podkoren. Prices start from €60 (Euros) per night for a loft apartment sleeping between two and four people and based on a minimum stay of three nights.

Villa Planina

Villa Nebina has been designed in more of a ‘farmhouse style’ holiday rental property and has been reconstructed on the site of a farmhouse originally built over 150 years ago in the traditional Slovenian village of Ratece, just 5 minutes drive away from Kranjska Gora. The property includes four apartments and many of the original features of the building, such as vaulted ceilings and a traditional enclosed wooden balcony, have been retained at this high quality accommodation. The four apartments are furnished and equipped to an extremely high standard with alpine solid wood furnishings seamlessly combined with contemporary facilities such as flat screen TVs & DVDs. Apartment three has its own balcony access and other apartments have shared balcony access – with magnificent mountain panoramas. Prices start from €60 (Euros) per night for a ground floor apartment sleeping between three and five people and based on a minimum stay of three nights.

Villa Nebina

A Special Launch Offer from €69 per person, per week is available for house parties – Villa Planina can sleep between 12 and 20 people and Villa Nebina can sleep between 12 and 18 people so both offer great value ski accommodation for big groups. If you wish to get a discount on renting the whole of either Villa Planina or Nebina, then there is a special launch offer available. An offer of seven nights for the price of six is available if you book the whole of Villa Planina or Nebina for a week.

So, a week hiring out the whole of Villa Planina would start from €1,380 (discounted from €1,610) – this works out at just €69 per person, per week based on 20 people sharing – and for the whole of Villa Nebina it would start at €1,740 (discounted from €2,030)- this works out at just €97 per person, per week based on 18 people sharing. This offer is not valid for New Year.

Flights from London Stansted to Ljubljana with Easyjet are priced from £22.99 per person, or from London Gatwick with Adria. Another airport within an hour’s drive of both villas include Klagenfurt in Austria (serviced by Ryanair).

To make a booking call 0208 123 2898 or for further information go to www.slovenianretreats.com or email info@slovenianretreats.com

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Gossip to Get Ischgl Rocking this Ski Season

Gossip

I was lucky enough to visit Iscghl for the first time this summer.  However, the resort is most renowned for its fabulous ski opportunities, not to mention its opening ski season concert for a staggering 20,000 people.  It has been announced that this year, on Saturday 27 November, indie rock band Gossip will take to the stage to kick off Ischgl’s ski season.  The concert will take place in an outdoor arena in the shadows of the Silvretta mountains.  Gossip will join the Hall of Fame for Ischgl’s Top of the Mountain concerts, alongside Katy Perry, Alicia Keys, Kylie Minogue, Elton John, Rihanna, The Pussycat Dolls and Lionel Richie, all of whom have performed at previous years’ concerts.  Entry is by valid lift pass.

Gossip

However, that’s not the only exciting news to come out of Ischgl this winter.  There are two new chairlifts on the mountain: the first is the 8 million Euro Lange Wand chairlift, a luxurious black framed six-person heated chairlift with weather hood that will transport skiers and boarders up to Ischgl’s highest point of Greitspitz; the second is a replacement of the Muller-Bahn with a six-person chairlift with weather hood.

Ischgl boasts more than 41 lifts accessing 238kms of groomed piste.  A one-day lift pass for 27 November costs 55 Euros.  Special season opening packages are available via www.ischgl.com and a taster of what’s on offer is three nights’ accommodation and breakfast, with a three day liftpass (including entry to the concert) from 183 euro.

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Let the Train Take the Strain to Tirol this Winter

If you think flying is the only option for your ski trip to Austria, think again. Train travel may not be the first thing that springs to mind but with improved services and connections, Austria is closer than you think.

Train v Plane

We all know the benefit of train travel in terms of sustainability, but there are some key advantages to skiers in letting the train take the strain.

Increasing charges for skis and luggage v  No charges for skis or luggage

1.5-2 hour check-in v 30-minute check-in time

Long transfers from the airport v Railway stations in resort or a 15-30 minute taxi or bus ride away

Instead of moving from airport queue to airport queue you can sit back, relax and enjoy the journey by train as the scenery glides by. By going overnight you can ski on the day you arrive and depart, giving you two extra days on the slopes.

City Night Line –  Relatively undiscovered by the UK ski market, the City Night Line train is Austria’s answer to the Snow Train.

The resorts of Alpbach, Söll and Hopfgarten are easily accessible using the City Night Line. The journey times are as follows, with adult returns starting from £195. Outbound Depart London St. Pancras 16.02 Eurostar Arrive Paris-Nord 19.17 (change stations) Depart Paris-Est 20.20 City Night Line Arrive Wörgl 09.40

Inbound Depart Wörgl 20.31 City Night Line Arrive Paris-Est 09.23 Depart Paris-Nord 10.13 Eurostar Arrive London St. Pancras* 11.28

Then take a taxi: Worgl to Alpbach (30 mins; €40) Worgl to Soll (15 mins: €22) Worgl to Hopfgarten (15 mins: €22)

Söll Part of the Ski Welt circus, Austria’s largest connected ski area, the resort of Söll has access to over 270km of varied and interesting slopes. Located between the majestic Wilder Kaiser mountains and the Kitzbüheler Alps, the pretty resort offers great value for money, is a popular choice for Brits, with a lively après-ski scene and has top winter wonderland activities for all to enjoy.

How much? A “White Weeks” package at the 3* Hotel Tulpe in January* starts from €570 per person for 7 nights on half board, including a 6 day ski pass Wilder Kaiser – Brixental. (* 8 – 21 Jan 2011). More packages and offers are available at www.wilderkaiser.info

Hopfgarten-Kelchsau-Itter Situated at the foot of the Hohe Salve, the resort of Hopfgarten is located in the heart of the Ski Welt, which has recently been awarded the TOP resort award by the Skiresort Service International. Hopfgarten is Söll’s quieter neighbour, boasting a a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and traditional Tirolean charm.

How much? 7 nights in 3* accommodation starts from € 544,50 per person on half board, including a 6 day ski pass. To book email hopfgarten@hohe-salve.com or call 0043 5335 2322

Alpbach Highly regarded as one of Austria’s most picturesque villages, the charming village of Alpbach is a true winter wonderland and a top choice for families, beginners and intermediates. A wide range of non-ski activities are on offer too, from snowshoeing to sleigh rides and tobogganing. How much? 7 nights at the 4* Hotel Böglerhof in Alpbach starts from €790 per person on half board, including a 6 day Alpbachtal ski pass and weekly activity programme. For more information visit www.boeglerhof.at.

St Anton Extensive and varied slopes, breathtaking scenery, reliable snow, a bustling village atmosphere and some of the best après-ski in the Alps – what more do you want from a resort that has it all! Located in the western part of the Tirol region, St Anton is regarded as one of the top European resorts and it just keeps getting better.

The full daytime journey details to St Anton are as follows: Outbound Depart London St. Pancras 06.22 Eurostar Arrive Paris-Nord 09.47 (change stations) Depart Paris-Est 10.24 TGV Arrive Zurich 15.00 Have a meal at Zurich station Depart Zurich 16.40 Railjet Arrive St Anton am Arlberg 18.57

Inbound Depart St Anton am Arlberg 09.01 EuroCity Arrive Zurich 11.20 Depart Zurich 13.02 TGV Arrive Paris-Est 17.34 Depart Paris-Nord 19.13 Eurostar Arrive London St. Pancras* 20.34 How much? Adult returns start from £195, child returns start from £153. Stay at the centrally located 3* Hotel Ehrenreich in St Anton for 7 nights on half board, with prices starting from €665 per person. To book call 0043 5446 2353.

For more information about train travel to the Alps visit www.snowcarbon.co.uk For more information on the Tirol region – www.visittirol.co.uk

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Take an Adventure: Winter in Bulgaria & Slovakia

Snowshoeing in Bulgaria
Snowshoeing in Bulgaria

February half-term is a great time for a snow trip, with cross-country skiing, dog sledding and snowshoeing all available on trips organised by The Adventure Company.  Bulgaria and Slovakia, both alpine destinations with thick blankets of snow guaranteed are perfect winter playgrounds.

The following trips still have availability for February 2010 but, as with all school holidays, families are advised to book early for the best deals on flights.

Bulgarian Winter Experience, 13 – 20 February 2010
An action packed centre-based week surrounded by Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains. Staying in the village of Chepelare, which boasts the longest ski run in the country, holidaymakers will have the opportunity to test it out with some downhill and cross-country skiing. A snowshoeing expedition through the forest in search of deer, foxes and wild boar is just one of the highlights of the trip.

The trip costs from £869 for adults and from £789 for children. These prices include flights, accommodation, transport, activities on the itinerary and some meals (seven breakfasts, one lunch and two dinners).

Teenage Slovakian Snow Adventure, 14 – 21 February 2010

Skiing in the Tatras
Skiing in the Tatras

Slovakia is one of Europe’s most mountainous countries and the Tatras Mountains provide the ideal location for a centre-based activity week. Learning how to dog sled and handling a team of between two and six dogs is an exciting part of the trip. Travellers will learn how to mush their team and navigate the snow-covered tracks. Also included in the itinerary are skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing, swimming in thermal pools and dinner with a Slovak family.

The trip costs £899 per person. These prices include flights, accommodations, transport, activities on the itinerary and some meals (seven breakfasts and two lunches).

For information about these and other trips organised by The Adventure Company visit www.adventurecompany.co.uk or call 0845 609 0890.

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Slovenia Ski Resort Developments

Several of Slovenia’s ski resorts have undergone developments for the 2010 season, offering skiers and snowboarders new facilities and greater access to the country’s slopes.  The new ski piste linking Slovenia’s Kanin ski resort with the Italian resort of Sella Nevea had its official opening in December 2009, creating the first international ski area in the region.  This resort features a new aerial lift and ski run, providing a wider choice of slopes for winter sports enthusiasts. A single lift pass gives skiers and snowboarders access to the pistes on both the Slovenian and Italian sides of the border. Daily lift passes for Kanin-Sella Nevea area start from €24 per adult and €15 per child.

Skiers, Kanin Photo Credit: Lenarčič
Skiers, Kanin Photo Credit: Lenarčič

Last December also saw the opening of a new gondola lift at Maribor Pohorje, Slovenia’s largest ski area, situated in the northeast of the country. The new lift runz from the foot to the summit of the Pohorje Mountain in six minutes, with a capacity of 1,000 people per hour. This is double the capacity of the previous lift.

Furthermore, 0ne of Slovenia’s most famous resorts, Kranjska Gora, recently opened a children’s outdoor play area. A new magic carpet lift has been installed to transport young skiers safely. The area is open to all children and is free of charge.

While skiers and snowboarders looking for an adrenalin thrill should head to the new snow park at the Cerkno Resort in northwest Slovenia. The Cerkno Snow Park is aimed at snowboarders and acrobatic skiers and snowboarders, although freestyle skiing instructors will available to teach beginners.

Slovenia has over 280 kilometres of ski runs offering downhill skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and cross-country skiing.  Some resorts also offer snowmobile excursions, dogsled rides and horse-drawn sleigh rides.

For more information about skiing in Slovenia visit www.slovenia.info/skiing

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The Start of Slovakia’s Ski Season

mountain-paradiseSlovakia kicked off its ski season this weekend with the opening of the Strbské Pleso resort in the High Tatras.  The resort has a new six seater chairlift that can carry 1200 people per hour and, thanks to its high altitude (1840m) and excellent snow making, is relatively snow-sure from December to April.  In addition to the new chairlift it features another two chairlifts and three cableways.  The total length of Strbské Pleso’s down hill runs is over seven km and there is also extensive ski-touring and night-skiing as well as good free riding for snowboarders.

Mountain Paradise offers a week’s skiing in Strbské Pleso for just £499 per person between January and March 2010 (excluding half-term) and a three-night weekend break for only £375 per person.  While New Year ski breaks departing on 27th December are available from just £699 per person.

Strbské Pleso
Strbské Pleso

Packages include: return flights from London Luton to Poprad (just a two-hour flight), airport transfers to the resort (only 15 minutes), seven- or three-nights accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis in Pension Fortuna, Pension Plesnivec, Pension Sabato or Pension Slalom and a six- or two-day ski pass.

Read more…

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Cross Border Skiing

The 2009/2010 ski season will see the opening of a new cable car and ski piste linking Slovenia’s Kanin resort and Italy’s Sella Nevea resort.  The ski area will be accessible with one lift pass, allowing skiers from both the Slovenian and the Italian sides of the mountain to enjoy the slopes at both resorts.

kanin-1

The internationally connected ski centre will be the first of its kind in an area where, for most of the previous century, there was a strict border divide between the two countries.  Expected to be called Kanin–Canin, the centre will be one of the largest ski areas in Slovenia.

Read more…

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The World’s Most Beautiful Cul-de-sac

Wonderful winter footpaths, optimal ski routes, over 120 km of ski runs and 42 km of cross country ski trails make the Kleinwalsertal a winter paradise. Surrounded on three sides by mountains rising above 2,000 metres, the Kleinwalsertal lies in a natural valley undisturbed by traffic and noise. During the winter, this area, together with Oberstdorf, constitutes the largest Austro-German ski region, and has much to offer. The Kleinwalsertal enclave, once settled by farmers from the Valais region, is Austrian territory as such, but can only be accessed from Germany. For over a hundred years, it has effectively been a German economic region following a customs agreement.

Kleinwalsertal
Kleinwalsertal

The Kleinwalsertal ski area offers comprehensive packages and events for sports enthusiasts, families, and those in search of adventure. Together with the Ifen and the Walmendingerhorn, there are countless carving and powdering facilities for alpine skiers, snowboarders, Telemark skiers and ski touring fans. A single ski pass for 52 lifts and 74 ski runs makes experiencing the entire valley fun and easy. There are also countless huts, pubs and hotel bars in the villages of Riezlern, Hirschegg, Mittelberg and Baad for that pleasant wintry pastime known as après-ski.

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Bargain Ski Breaks in Slovakia

mountain-paradiseGlorious empty slopes, great snow conditions and bargain prices make Slovakia’s Tatras Mountains an excellent choice for the 2009/10 ski season. Enjoy a week’s skiing with Mountain Paradise for just £399 per person or a three-night weekend break for only £299 per person.

Both packages to the resort of Tatranska Lomnica in the High Tatras include: return flights from London Luton to Poprad  (the highest airport in Central Europe) airport transfers, seven or three nights accommodation on a B&B basis in either Pension Encian or Pension Slalom and a six or two day ski pass. Alternatively, for beginners the “learn to ski or snowboard” package starts from just £599 per person including: flights, seven nights accommodation on a B&B basis, a six day ski pass, ski or snowboard rental and five days of ski or snowboard tuition (3 hours per day) .

Jasna, Slovakia
Jasna, Slovakia

The best bit – no wasted time – the new Danube Wings service into Poprad means very short transfer times to the resorts.

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Ski for £1!

Catch the early snow this winter season in Obergurgl and pay only £1 for standard ski hire and Obergurgl/Hochgurgl ski lift pass, saving holidaymakers £259.

Obergurgl-Hochgurgl has introduced reduced-traffic zones and banned night-time traffic in Obergurgl to ensure is guests a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere and provide the townsfolk with enhanced living conditions. Motorised guest arrivals and departures are permitted.

obergurgl

Obergurgl-Hochgurgl boasts a viewing platform with panorama bar and futuristic restaurant at the top of the mountain peak.  The new Top Mountain Star is a really outstanding highlight amid Hochgurgl’s Wurmkogel ski area at 3,080m above sea level.

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