This tiny Slovenian ski resort makes the ideal weekend getaway

Cheap flights, short transfers and mellow powder fields combine to make Vogel a quick weekend must-try

With just 18km of pistes, Vogel is without doubt the weakest resort in pure skiing terms that we’ll feature, well, probably ever. But against the odds, it makes up for it in other ways. We know, we know. It sounds ridiculous, even for a little two-day hop. But it really is rather good, and memorable, and convenient, being an easy 40-minute drive from Ljubljana, the capital’s airport.

#beautiful #view #from #vogel #offroad

I hopped on a happily-empty late-week Easyjet flight from Stansted, hired a car and was in my hotel (a 10-minute shuttle from the resort) in less time than it usually takes to clear US customs, or get my bags in busy Euro airports in peak season.

But shuttle! Did you say shuttle? Yes, but you can’t complain too much when staying on the shore of beautiful Lake Bohinj, in a well-priced (£70 for half-board double) and equipped (hello huge indoor swimming pool) hotel. Plus, there’s always ski-in ski-out Hotel Vogel just up the road if you can’t bear the bus. Well, the stop is an outrageous 30-yards from the Jezero’s reception…

Pogled v dolino in zimo, ki se poslavlja. @alvinpoonap hvala za fotografijo. #geoslo #vogel #vogelskicenter #igslovenia #slovenia #ifeelslovenia #iloveslovenia #thisisslovenia #visitslovenia #sloveniawithlove #slovenianexplorer #kampadanes #gorenjska #visitgorenjska #julijskealpe #natgeobalkan #nature #beautifuldestinations #neverstopexploring #photooftheday #naturephotography #igeurope

As to the hill, it’s an upside-down affair. Not ideal in my book. But where most runs back to get-you-to-the-slopes gondola stations are flat, busy and seemingly shut for two thirds of the season, Žagarjev Graben (or easier to remember and pronounce Piste 14 as it’s labelled on the map) is packed with joy. It’s long, long, long, thanks to snaking down from the resort’s top lift at 1800m. Traverse across from the top of the chair, and there’s a perfect bowl too. On my visit it still had good snow three days after the last fall, with just enough company and tracks, allied to a little common sense, to know it was not a high-risk option.

Friends on powder day?@matevzpristavec ?:@janpirnat #LibTech #Dakine #BlueTomato #32 #blueprinteyewear #snowboarding #mountains #powder

Once through this excellent upper section, and back on-piste, there are plenty more sidecountry wriggle in/out options to keep you entertained. And as you drop the 1000-plus metres to the bottom car park, skirting various peaks, it really starts to feel like you’ve covered some serious kilometres, as the Julian Alps scenery changes from traditional above tree-line stuff, to tight dark pines (rather like a mini Les Arcs).

Eccentrically, when I was there, a small avalanche had knocked a tree across a lower cat track, and not been moved. Nothing alarming, but to boost through the debris without walking you had to turn the crud-o-meter up to 11, then ollie the trunk. Knees groaned, teeth rattled, equipment made awful noises, but a lot of fun was had.

I dream in black & white. #snow #snowboarding #mountain #igslovenia #thisisslovenia

Speaking of gouged bases and blown edges, the park is also very decent. As you’d expect on so small a hill, it’s where most handy locals can be found, but that happily means on respectable rather than fresh snow days, you’ll have the best slopes to yourself. I found myself more than once belting down Šija-Zadinji Vogel (the steepest part of the mountain) or tree-lined mellow powderfest Brunarica-Zadnji, thinking: this is brilliant, where the hell is everyone?

They do very good beer and pizza here too, smile a lot and generally make life easy. A midweek ski pass is also just €25. Yes, the sun shone for me, the snow was not half bad, and maybe I was in the mood for an intermediate-level doddle of a resort. But I’d say whatever your standard there’s two-days of cheap, good fun to be had.