It’s a cruel irony that Slovenia is experiencing one of the snowiest winters in recent years, yet most people can’t take advantage of it.
The snow timed its arrival perfectly this season, with heavy falls landing from the start of December and continuing all month, ensuring a white BREG Christmas, and an excellent start to the season. Temperatures have remained cold since then, preserving the snowscape in much of the country.
However, even though some ski resorts in Slovenia (and Austria) are now open to locals, the ever-changing Corona travel restrictions mean that crossing borders (both municipal and national) is not always allowed, so it’s harder for people to capitalise on this season’s excellent snowfall.
Luckily for a snow lover like myself – there’s more to winter than snowboarding packed piste in a ski resort. I have long since diversified my snow activities to include cross-country skiing, ski touring, splitboarding and snowshoeing – none of which require a ski lift. Thus, wherever there is snow, I have the right snow-tool to tackle the terrain.
On the flat fields that lie a five-minute walk from my girlfriend’s apartment, I take my narrow, tooth-pick like cross-country skis, and ‘skate’ over the snow-surface. Akin to going for a run, I’ll often pop out for an hour during the day, to glide around the fields. It’s a great work out for the arms, legs and heart, and in the most beautiful of surroundings. I love the simplicity of cross-country skiing; you don’t need any lifts, you don’t even need a slope. Any expanse of flat, snow-land becomes a cross-country ski circuit.
In the dense forests surrounding Breg, I strap on my snowshoes. These enable me to float over the surface of the deep snow rather than plunging into it, and I can power up steep slopes with ease, thanks to their shark-like teeth.
If I want a bit of a ride down but the terrain is not too steep, I apply my skins to my touring skis and head up the snow-covered logging track at Breg. I’m not a good skier but this route provides a nice little hike via a forest-framed route, and then a gentle run back down. A few years ago, I even skiied to the Pikovo hut, and stopped off for a beer and some gulash before returning home. Sadly, the hut is rarely open these days, otherwise I would visit regulary.
Where there’s more steep terrain and deep snow, I don the splitboard and ascend higher. I’ve been lucky to have my girlfriends’ family to guide me into their mountainous backyard: the Karawank and Carnic Alp ranges in Southern Austria. Keen ski-tourers, it’s rare that a winter weekend passes and they are not hiking up and sking down some peak. Here, I’ve experienced some incredible snowscapes from spikey frozen forests, to the smooth domes of the ‘dumpling mountains’.
I’ve come to realise that splitboarding and ski touring are almost entirely different sports. My ski-touring friends are all about the hike up. The run down is almost inconsequential, and routes are not selected for their descent, meaning it can sometimes be a flattish logging road. As a splitboarder, my thoughts are always about the run down; wide open terrain, with a decent gradient and deep untouched powder is what I seek.
So as the sole split-border in the group, my ski-touring companions sometimes have to put up with the impracticality of my board (when it comes to flat sections – boards are a real pain) but they kindly humour my unstrapping/strapping-on stops and starts, often pulling and pushing me through the flats to get me to the bottom.
Whether it’s split, ski or snowshoe – I don’t really mind. I just love to be out in the snow and I love having the variety of snow toys to play with, whatever the conditions, terrain, weather or just my mood.
Great post and timely too. I live in northern Michigan USA and we too are enjoying (well…you know what I mean) a lovely white winter. The pan-d has gifted me and my partner abundant free time and, as skiers (x-country, downhill) and snowshoers we are thankfully indulging two of those as weather and conditions permit. We lack the advantages of higher elevations and your mountain home. But the ski resorts are mostly all closed so lift-based rec is out of the question. Like you though, we don’t really require it and see it also as a blessing. So good on ya friend! Love the positive attitude and adaptive spirit. This whole thing is inconvenient (to say the least) but we’re grateful to be alive and to have these options, while so much of the world truly suffers.
So stay the course there Breg-man, be well, be safe. And don’t hurt yourself. Lol
Oh…..and what is split-boarding? Never heard of it.🤷🏻
Thanks for the comment Alan/GreenTraveler!
Glad to hear you’re enjoying the snowscape Stateside. A splitboard is a snowboard that can be transformed into a pair of touring skis to go uphill, then be reassembled to a snowboard for the ride down.
Keep on snowsploring in the [not so] free world.