It’s not the biggest, it’s not the best — it’s not even the best ski area within an hour’s drive of Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana. But that doesn’t mean that Stari Vrh, near the medieval city of Škofja Loka, isn’t worth a visit if you’re in Ljubljana with only a handful of hours available to hit the slopes.
Indeed, there’s plenty there to entertain and challenge you for a while. And you’ll thank me when you breathe in the views of the Kamnik Alps to the north. Like this one.
Located about 45 minutes from the capital Ljubljana and just 15 minutes from Škofja Loka, Stari Vrh is a popular spot for locals that doesn’t seem to ever get overrun.
Dominated by its eponymous main mountain, which subtly jabs the sky at 1217m (3992ft), Stari Vrh’s longest run offers up a few variations, at places quite steep, that’ll provide a challenge to even the most demanding skiers.
Slopes range from 580m (1902ft) to Stari Vrh’s peak, with 12km (7.4mi) of runs sprawled over the 55 hectare facility, broken down as follows: 4km (2.5mi) considered easy, 6km (3.7mi) medium, and 2km (1.25mi) difficult.
About 2.5km of runs are illuminated for night skiing, the most in Slovenia, which makes it a worthwhile option for visitors whose days are busy but evenings more relaxed. Check out the short video at the end of the post to get a better idea.
The main lift is a heated six-person chairlift that transports skiers from the base to the peak. Four additional drag lifts also operate.
Even when conditions aren’t best –that’s a problem ski resorts will be facing for the rest of their existence– 95% of the slopes are topped with artificial snow.
A ski school and equipment rental is available while an adjacent snow park hosts a toboggan run, an area for tubing, and a larger children’ area.
There are two lodges, one at the top and one at the bottom: when you’re above the clouds order the buckwheat Štruklji, a traditional Slovenian dish, with a shot of homemade blueberry liqueur; if you order the veggie pizza at the base restaurant, ask them to go light on the corn. Or better yet, to hold off on it entirely. You’re welcome.
Finally: generally speaking, Slovenia’s ski resort lack the apres-ski offerings and sophistication of popular areas in neighboring Italy and Austria. But they make up for it with cheaper prices, shorter lift lines, less crowded ski areas and plenty of authenticity. In most cases you’ll be dodging locals, not the jet set.
The Nitty and the Gritty
Open: 09-16 and 19-22.
Pistes: 6, 12km total (plus separate children’s area)
Full-Day: €27 adults, €16 children, €23 youth/student, €23 seniors (men 60+, women 55+)
Half-day: €22, 12, 17, 17
Two Hours: €19, 9, 13, 13
Three Hours: €22, 12, 17, 17
Four Hours: €23, 13, 19, 19
Five Hours: €24, 14, 21, 21
For multi-day and group discounts see here.
Here’s a brief video to give you a better feel for the mountain. Plenty good for me. How about you?
From Škofja Loka head south through the Selška dolina valley to the village of Praprotno. Turn left at the Gostilna Pr’Birt inn. Ten minutes later you’ll arrive at the main parking lot by the six-person chairlift.
Depending on traffic, about 45 minutes from Ljubljana (40km).
And a few more images. Cloudy and overcast, last Sunday hardly provided the best conditions for good landscape photography, but you’ll get the general idea.
Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated the name of the mountain range to the north. These are the Kamnik (Kamniško-savinjske) Alps, not the Karawanken/Karavanke Alps.