100% winter in Slovenia
100% winter in Slovenia
Skiing in the Bloke area, in the sense of moving through high snow on skis, was first described in 1689 by famous Slovenian writer Janez Vajkard Valvasor in his masterpiece Glory of the Duchy of Carniola (Slava vojvodine Kranjske). The inhabitants of the Bloke plateau were at that time the only people in Central Europe to use skis for getting around on the snow. Slovenia can therefore be regarded as a place of early folk skiing, and today the Slovenians are known as a nation of skiers.
FROM THE PIONEERS OF SKIING TO THE BIGGEST ALPINE STARS IN THE WORLD!
Skiing in the Bloke area, in the sense of moving through high snow on skis, was first described in 1689 by famous Slovenian writer Janez Vajkard Valvasor in his masterpiece Glory of the Duchy of Carniola (Slava vojvodine Kranjske). The inhabitants of the Bloke plateau were at that time the only people in Central Europe to use skis for getting around on the snow. Slovenia can therefore be regarded as a place of early folk skiing, and today the Slovenians are known as a nation of skiers. Few have not heard of skiing legends such as the queen of the white slopes Tina Maze, the exceptional freestyle ski cross champion Filip Flisar, or other famous alpine skiers as Jure Franko, the father of carving, Mateja Svet, Bojan Križaj, Jure Košir and others. They earned their place among the world’s skiing elite. Today most skiing enthusiasts ski in the “carving” technique, which dates back to 1988 and the Slovenian ski manufacturer Elan. The company also produces skis on which Slovenian ski jumpers and flyers compete. Each winter they amaze the crowds with their fantastic efforts at the Planica ski jump. Meanwhile cross-country skiing and biathlon skiing are becoming increasingly popular, and have found their home in Slovenia at Pokljuka.
The Bloke plateau is situated at the outer edge of the Notranjska region, between Cerkniško Polje and the Loška and Ribniška valleys. It is known as a cradle of early folk skiing when the skis were made of hard wood, preferably old and already warped beech, since it required no further processing and bending. The people of Bloke (pronounced Block-ay) transported water and wicker goods on skis, and also mastered steep slopes whilst they wound their way through the hills like professionals. The oral tradition indicates that the skis were around 1.5 metres long and around 15 centimetres wide.
Over time the technique of moving over the snow and slopes developed along with the length of skis and the equipment evolved and gained in quality. At the same time the activity became more popular, and soon became the Slovenian national sport. Investment in skiing infrastructure and the love of skiing can be seen in the superlative ski slopes and numerous ski centres. Famous skiers nurtured their skills on these very slopes. Skiing enthusiasts throughout the world know of Tina Maze, who is the most successful Alpine woman skier in the world cup. She is an ambassador of Slovenian tourism and sports, and has written herself into the history books as a world and Olympic champion, the recipient of a large and small skiing globe and as the holder of a record number of points and medals in one year. The history books have also recorded Filip Flisar, a freestyle cross skier who joined other local skiing legends Mateja Svet, Bojan Križaj and Jure Košir.
The best skiers around have competed in the Vitranc Cup in Kranjska Gora, regarded within the International Ski Federation as having one of the toughest competition slopes. Women skiers have been continuing the over 50-year tradition of competing in the Golden Fox at Mariborsko Pohorje. Among the major international tournaments, Slovenia is a traditional host of the end of the Ski Jumping World Cup season at Planica. The jump and the second longest flying run in the world are home to the Slovenian Eagles ski jumpers, as the local people like to call them. Meanwhile, the international biathlon cup is held every December among the woods of the Pokljuka plateau.
The majority of skiers today use the “carving” technique. The parabolic design of the skis enables turns at lower speeds and with a smaller turn diameter. These skis were first developed in 1988 at the Slovenian ski manufacturer Elan, which is based in Begunje in the Gorenjska region. Jurij Franko and Pavel Škofic, who applied an innovative approach to developing skiing equipment, are regarded as the fathers of carving. Skiers discovered the advantages of the new skis only in the early 1990s, but today the technique is one of the most popular around. Slovenia is home to some top winter sports men and women, who returned from the last Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi with the highest number of medals per capita.