Slovenians cheering for their favourite ski jumper and skiers (2016) by Iztok MedjaSlovenian Tourist Board
On some cold winter weekend afternoons, Slovenian streets are usually quite quiet, as almost the only ones who aren't in front of screens cheering for their favourite ski jumper or skier are those who are at the venue themselves, too.
Winter on Krvavec (2017) by Iztok Medja, RTC Krvavec. d.d.Slovenian Tourist Board
Skiing has long been a fixture of the Slovenian way of life, born not as a recreational sport but for functionality when farmers and villagers needed an efficient way to travel through steep, snowy terrain.
Today, skiing remains a popular participant and spectator sport in Slovenia. The season runs from November to March, and sometimes later into spring when Slovenians and visitors alike head to the ski runs and jumps of the Julian Alps.
Old fashioned skiing equipment from 1950's by technotrSlovenian Tourist Board
The Bloke Plateau, in the country’s Notranjska region, lays claim to inventing skiing in Slovenia around the year 800 CE.
Portrait of elegant vintage skier using equipment from 1950's by technotrSlovenian Tourist Board
The earliest skis in the region were handmade of old pieces of beechwood, though birch, cherry, and elm were also used.
The White Circle of Life, the short film about skiing on Bloke (2015)Slovenian Tourist Board
When travelling between villages in wintertime, whether for trade, religious, or community events, the locals of the Bloke area strapped wooden skis to their feet to avoid trudging through deep snow. Just imagine carrying a child to baptism or getting married on skis!
Ski jumper on Planica (2015) by Aleš FevžerSlovenian Tourist Board
From necessity to high-octane sport
Although skiing was primarily a way to travel and make remote areas more accessible, it later grew into an extremely popular form of winter recreation.
Slovenia particularly attracts ski jump enthusiasts, both as spectators and well-trained participants.
Ski jump at the Planica Nordic Centre (2015) by Aleš FevžerSlovenian Tourist Board
The world’s second-highest ski jump is in Planica, an Alpine valley in the country’s northwest. The Planica Nordic Centre first opened in the 1930s; for some time, it was home to the world’s biggest ski jump.
Many world records happened at this venue. Here, man jumped over 100 meters for the first time. It was in 1936, and the name of the courageous Austrian was Sepp Bradl. It was then that the era of ski flying started.
58 years later, a new magical milestone was crossed, as Toni Nieminen flew over 200 meters. 203, to be exact. Many records followed. Planica is now a year-round ski jump training facility, even in summer, and attracts professional athletes who come from all over the world.
Peter Prevc - World cup ski jumping winner 2016 (2016) by Iztok MedjaSlovenian Tourist Board
Planica hosts several FIS (International Ski Federation) World Cup ski jumping events each year. Many Slovenian ski jumpers have also gone on to win Olympic medals.
Some of the most famous Slovenian ski jump athletes of recent years include Peter Prevc, Damjan Fras, and Primož Peterka.
Ski touring near the Krvavec, Kamnik-Savinja Alps (2018) by Jošt GantarSlovenian Tourist Board
Not only ski jumping and flying, ski touring can also cause quite an adrenaline rush.
The vast Slovenian mountains are a perfect place to climb challenging mountains, explore unspoiled nature, and leave marks on the untouched snowy blanket.
Davo Karničar (2019) by Rožle BregarSlovenian Tourist Board
It’s no wonder that some fall in love with this rush. The late Davo Karničar has made over 1700 mountaineering ascents and descents. He was the first skier in the world to make a continuous ski descent from Mount Everest.
He skied from the seven highest mountains in the world and with that “connected all the continents in some kind of skiing wreath”, as he said.
ELAN FOLDABLE SKI: Revolution in the skiing experience (2019)Slovenian Tourist Board
The evolution of skis
Skis have come a long way since those first handmade wooden skis from Bloke. Slovenian brand Elan, one of the most innovative global sports products brands, introduced Elan Voyager in 2021, “the world's first fully functional, folding, all-mountain ski”.
Skiing on the Krvavec (2017) by Iztok Medja, Postojnska jama d.d. PostojnaSlovenian Tourist Board
From November through March, visitors to Slovenia will find a range of ski resorts suitable for beginners, as well as advanced skiers.
The most popular ski resorts in Slovenia include Kranjska Gora, Krvavec, Vogel, and Maribor Pohorje.
Ski tour over Pokljuka (2015) by Aleš Zdešar, Arhiv Javni forvod Triglavski narodni parkSlovenian Tourist Board
Slovenia is not one of Europe’s best-known ski destinations, in part because the country’s Julian Alps are of lower elevation than those in other Alpine countries like Switzerland, Italy, and France.
Yet it remains popular with families, beginners, cross-country skiers, and slalom skiers, especially those who are looking for less-crowded slopes.
Chair lifts on Vogel (2016) by Iztok MedjaSlovenian Tourist Board
From the lift, there’s usually an amazing view of beautiful nature.
⛷Special thanks to:
Olympic medalists in ski jumping
Heritage and Innovation, Elan Skis
V Planici prvi skok čez 100 in 200 metrov, rekorder Poljak Kamil Stoch pri 251,5 metra. Dnevnik. Terzič, G. 2019.
Davo Karničar, Elan Skis
“Rodil sem se, da bom smučal z Everesta”. Dnevnik. Pust, K. 2012
The history of sky flying