Ski Touring in Slovenia

Day 1

Day 1 (20 March 2023) of our ski touring holiday in Slovenia

Summit: Jalovec 2645müM
Route: Jalovcev Ozebnik
Mountain range: Julian Alps
Who: Hansruedi, Tina, Ueli, Monika, Mäne, Mägi, Nejc (our local mountain guide)
Start: Planica next to the ski jump
Descent: via the ascent route
Numbers: 1800m ascent, 1800m descent, 20.5km
Weather: cloudy but dry, 1°C at the start

The first ski tour in Slovenia led us to the valley of Planica. With open mouths we marvelled at the ski jump before we started for our ski tour on the Jalovec - with our ice axe on tour, of course.

First, we took a leisurely walk along the cross-country ski trail to the last mountain hut in the valley, the Pianiski dom Tamar. Now we fought our way through the forest, and soon the slopes became steeper and we switched to the pointed turn mode. We zigzagged up to a dark couloir. Here we put our skis on our backpacks and continued with crampons. At the end of the couloir we dived into the fog cover and we trudged on to a saddle.

Now we deposited the skis and climbed the last 250 metres in three rope teams, mostly on the short rope. Technically not very difficult, but extremely exposed, we reached the summit after a total of 4.5 hours. The ice axe was also used, but it was criticised for the lack of visibility on the summit. Now we went back down to the ski depot and from there on our skis into the dark, 38-degree steep couloir. The most difficult passages behind us, we were able to cruise down the slopes and enjoy a coffee in the mountain hut.

Despite moderately good weather, a first sensational ski tour in Slovenia - and the ice axe liked it too.

Day 2

Day 2 (21 March 2023) of our ski touring holiday in Slovenia

Summit: Triglav 2864m (highest mountain in Slovenia)
Route: Za Cmirom - ascent from the Vrata valley
Mountain range: Julian Alps
Who: Hansruedi, Tina, Ueli, Monika, Mäne, Mägi, Nejc (our local mountain guide)
Start: in the Vrata valley at 940müM
Descent: via the ascent route
Numbers: 2230m ascent, 2230m descent, 19.0km
Weather: clear and nice, 2°C at the start

After a great inbound tour yesterday, we had big plans for today - we wanted to show the ice axe the Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia. At 6.30 am we started down in the valley.

First we went up steeply through the forest for 25 minutes with our skis on our shoulders. Now we changed to skins - and it got steeper and steeper. You definitely can't call crampons a luxury here. We quickly found our way back to the pointy turn mode, and so we continued uphill, altitude metre by altitude metre. Arriving at the Begunjska Vratca saddle 2345müM, we saw Triglav from close up for the first time - and the ice axe was visibly impressed.

A short descent and a counter-ascension led us to the Triglav hut (Triglavski dom na Kredarici) at 2500müM. We deposited the skis and changed to crampons. We set off in three rope teams. Steep passages in the snow alternated with short sections in the rock - the ice axe stayed on the backpack and we could enjoy the view. We crossed the first head and soon we were standing on the second - the summit at 2864müM. Triglav means three heads. We enjoyed the great panorama of the summit - and what did the ice pick actually discover on the horizon? - the Mediterranean Sea.

We descended to the skis, treated ourselves to a coffee in the Triglav hut and off we went downhill. After a short time of enjoyment, we had to start up again and master the counter ascent. Continuing downhill, the slopes became steeper and the snow wetter and wetter until we unstrapped our skis and descended the forest on foot.

What a great day and what an impressive tour - even the ice axe was thrilled. After two days in Slovenia we learned - they don't have as high mountains here as we do in Switzerland, but they are all the steeper for it. True to the motto - steep is cool!

Back at the hotel, we enjoyed a relaxing bubble bath with our ice axes.

Day 3

Day 3 (22 March 2023) of our ski touring holiday in Slovenia

Summit: Mala Ponca 2468m
Route: Spotnji Kotel, Srednji Kotel
Mountain range: Julian Alps
Who: Hansruedi, Tina, Ueli, Monika, Mäne, Mägi, Nejc (our local mountain guide)
Start: Gozd Martuljec approx. 900m
Descent: Pri treh macesnih
Numbers: 1700m ascent, 1700m descent, 15.0km
Weather: slightly overcast at the beginning, then fine, 7°C at the start

The ski tour planned for today was advertised to us by Nejc as "a very unique ski tour".

We were excited, packed our backpacks and the ice axe set off on its next tour. We started at 7.30 a.m. - with our skis tied on - we had to carry skis for about 20 minutes. The 20 minutes turned into an hour through the steep forest and we were all sweating as if we were doing sport in the sauna. After 500 tiring metres of altitude, we changed to skis. Now we continued at a brisk pace and the ice axe slowly started to like it again. With a short portage we overcame a 40-metre steep step and the ice axe was allowed to show its qualities. The terrain became wilder and wilder and the views more and more impressive. We climbed up into a small saddle and now had our day's destination, Mala Ponca, in view for the first time. Nejc had a tough day today.

The untouched slopes required a lot of tracking work. Hansruedi had offered him a replacement, but it seems to be a point of honour in Slovenia that the local lays the tracks. That's fine with us - and so we overcame one steep step after another with countless hairpin bends. Another short portage and we were already standing in the narrow saddle between Velika Ponca and Mala Ponca.

We climbed the last few metres in crampons and on the rope to the summit. The ice axe was happy to be used again and we were deeply impressed by this untouched and wild landscape. After a few summit photos, we descended to our skis and plunged into the steep couloir that led us to the saddle. The snow quality was still good at first, but it deteriorated with every metre of altitude.

But today it was more about adventure than skiing. We skied down to about 1300m and then put the skis back on our backpacks. Now we followed a via ferrata-like path along a steep wall - concentration was once again required. The remnants of snow on the via ferrata and the tied-up skis made the descent a demanding task. But we got this over with too and so we shambled downhill through the forest to our vehicles.

The ice pick had experienced a lot again today and was visibly tired from this "uniquen skitour". So he enjoyed an afternoon nap on the comfortable hotel bed.

Day 4

Day 4 (23 March 2023) of our ski touring holiday in Slovenia

Summit: Stenar 2501m
Route: Bukovlej in the Vrata valley
Mountain range: Julian Alps
Who: Hansruedi, Tina, Ueli, Monika, Mäne, Mägi, Nejc (our local mountain guide)
Start: Vrata valley approx. 940m
Descent: analogue ascent route
Numbers: 1620hm ascent, 1620hm descent, 18.7km
Weather: overcast, 3°C at the start

Today we had to get up a bit earlier, hoping that the snow would be better for the descent. Well, at 3°C the snow unfortunately doesn't freeze even in Slovenia. At 6.00 am we started in the Vrata valley with a mix of carrying skis and walking with the skins.

The ice axe had taken its obligatory position on our backpack and enjoyed the muck through the forest from a safe distance. On a gentle incline, we moved under the imposing Triglav north face and on past the Bivak pod Luknjo. A traverse in very soft snow led us into a steep funnel, which we overcame with countless hairpin bends and a short portage. We continued to the Stenarska Vratca and from there in another exposed traverse to the final slope of the Stenar. The ice axe was starting to get a bit chilly, I wonder if this was due to the wind picking up or more likely due to the lack of movement?

We enjoyed the last ascent and shortly before 10.00 a.m. we stood on the summit of the Stenar 2501müM. The ice axe was celebrated and once again made it into countless summit photos. We removed the skins and switched to downhill mode. There were countless beautiful turns until we reached deeper terrain. There, the descent was more like water skiing, but we enjoyed that too. At the end, we had a wild ride down through the forest and finally the last few metres on foot to our vehicles.

Once again, the ice axe was able to experience a unique ski tour in Slovenia. And because the ski tour was already over at noon, the ice axe visited the ElanSki factory in Begunje in the afternoon and climbed a few moves at Domen Skofic's climbing ranch.