Skiing the Slovak Slopes

This weekend I headed north into Slovakia to a small village called Zdiar for a weekend of skiing and frolicking in the snow. It was such a great way to get out of the city for a bit and just relax. There was so much fresh snow, we got really lucky. Zdiar is located near the Polish border in the High Tatras mountain range, on the outskirts of the Tatra National Park. Its pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Great for a retreat.

Slovakia-Zdiar
The view of Zdiar

We were staying at a hostel called the Ginger Monkey. I would highly recommend this place. The hostel has a really great family feel to it and all the people are super nice and helpful. The best thing is they have a dog named Wally and he is the cutest thing ever. He steals everyone’s heart.

Slovakia-Wally-Ginnger-MonkeyWally! So adorable! He loves the snow and chasing snowballs.

To get to Zdiar from Budapest involved taking two trains and a bus. The first train left at 6:30 in the morning and that was rather painful to get up for. But taking the early train meant we arrived fair early in the day. The first thing I see when I get off the train in Poprad are these massive mountains off to the distance. They were gorgeous. We got into this tiny bus and headed towards them. They looked almost as if they were painted on to the sky. It was surreal.

Slovakia-Proprad
(L) The first thing I see getting off the train in Poprad; (R) On the bus headed to the mountains!

Our first order of business was to go sledding in the fresh powder. We all donned some onesies made available to us by the hostel and headed out to play in the snow. We climbed up this massive hill. The snow made it so difficult . You would step into it and then sink a foot down. It was so much work trying to get up the hill. This is the most powdery snow I’ve ever encountered. Snow in Vancouver is just so different. I loved it.

Because the snow was so powdery, it took some effort to get a smooth route down the hill. Once someone went down the trail once or twice it was smooth sailing and so much fun.

Slovakia-Zdiar-Sledding

The next morning we were off skiing. There are two hills near the hostel and both were serviced by a free shuttle. We ended up going to the more advanced hill called Bachledova. It was a decently sized mountain, probably equivalent to Seymour for you Vancouverites, and it wasn’t too over run with people. It was nearly a year since I last skied and I was looking forward to hitting the slopes.

I was surprised at how inexpensive everything was. We got our rentals for only 8 euros a day. The lift ticket was 17 euros. Not bad for a full day of skiing. Instead of getting a ticket to attach to a zipper, we were given cards (kind of similar to the ones you get for hotels). To get on a ski lift, you have to scan the card. The ski lifts themselves were fancy. There is a moving conveyor belt to get you to the chair. You don’t have to do a shuffle to get picked up. The weirdest thing is that they didn’t use the same colours for designating the difficulty of runs. I thought the colors used were pretty universal but on this mountain blue runs were the easiest (normally its green), red runs were medium (normally blue) and black runs were difficult (the same). I was so confused for the longest time until I clued in.

SAMSUNG

The difficulty of the mountain wasn’t too high. The black run seemed like more of an intermediate run. I decided to do some off-piste skiing and promptly flipped myself over my ski and face planted. It was rather hilarious, I wish I could have seen myself do it. I’ve never done too much off-piste skiing and this was definitely a first for me.

By the end of the day I was thoroughly exhausted and I could feel the ache in my muscles. Such a great feeling. 

Sunday was spent relaxing in the hostel before boarding a bus and two trains back to Budapest. I’ve only been back in Budapest for a day, but I’m ready to go back to Slovakia already. I mean, who can deny waking up to this every morning?

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