Written by Victoria Philpott
Looking for some cheap ski? I’ve just got back from an incredible 3-day skiing holiday in Slovenia, Vogel to be precise. Just half an hour’s drive from Bled and an hour from Ljubljana you’ll find the little town of Bohinj, where me and four friends began our budget skiing adventure.
Learn to ski in Slovenia
It was my first time skiing and thankfully Urska, our wonderful hostel host, introduced us to the almighty ski instructor Andrej. He taught us how to stand, useful, and quickly moved on to skiing with one ski, then two skis, then the plough. After an hour he took the more advanced in our group of me and two of the friends down one of the green runs. He was strong, supportive yet pushy at the same time – the perfect mix. He was in demand across the mountains, so we stayed practising our snow ploughs and turns for the afternoon under the watchful eye of our more able friends.
Fast forward a few hours, a huge pizza, some Jagermeister shots and a few glasses of the local wine Cvicek later, and my old friend Chloe took me up my first blue run of my life. I’d managed to battle the draglift, arriving at the top in a tangle of skis and poles, but that was only half the fun.
I’d never seen a place like it. If I was going to break my leg, Vogel ski centre was a beautiful place to do it. It was hot and sunny on the slopes and the air was fresher than my London lungs had ever breathed. I was slightly distracted at the top of the slopes though: my legs were quivering, actually I’ll go with shuddering, my mouth was dry and my head buzzing with the ski survival techniques I’d learnt that morning. “Follow me!” said my friend, whizzing by. I tried.
I survived the first two turns slowly but upright, then did a bit of a somersault slide to the left to descend the rest of it. One of the ‘best’ things about skiing is trying to stand up with your skis on your feet and on a slant. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was a good 20 minutes later that I was finally up on my feet.
Next day I felt a bit more confident and decided to leave my two friends in the beginners group and book my own lesson with the mountain top school. He took me down the familiar green run, before deeming me good enough to try one of the other blue runs. Off we went in the what felt like the longest chairlift in the world. I was terrified already. To cut the story short, this run did not end well.
I hit some ice, panicked about all the people around me and fell on head. I actually found joy in this because it meant I was a bit closer to safe ground. We managed to get the rest of the way down with him skiing backwards in front of me and pulling me with the poles, and that was that apparently. Lesson over. Should have stuck with Andrej. I spent the rest of the afternoon worrying about my stiff neck and playing on the green run, vowing never to do a blue run again.
Final day of skiing
Next day I went on the blue run with my friends and I nailed it. Well, compared to the day before anyway. By then end of the day I’d gone down it a few times and was happy to go by myself. The final day was a Saturday and it was a lot busier than the last two days – but because it was all the locals it was the red runs that were filling up.
Top tip: Don’t go skiing without travel insurance!
Food and drink
Up at Vogel Ski Centre there are five cafes. Two up on the slopes reachable by chairlifts and the other three at the start where you get off the gondola. One serves incredible pizzas, the other American-style food and the other is decked out cosily and serves amazing traditional Slovenian food.
In the next town from sleepy Bohinj where we stayed, Savice, we found a great hotel restaurant called Hotel Tripic – between us we had quite the feast in here with wursts, sauerkraut, meaty soups and cheesey pork. Of course, it was all washed down with plenty of Pivo and Cvicek and they gave us a few schnapps shots to knock it back too. We also went to Strudl – here I tried the Bohinj cottage cheese and sauerkraut mixed together, it was incredible.
One night we cooked a feast from the local shop – the owner gave us a shot of Jagermeister each while we were deciding what to get. You don’t get that in Sainsbury’s.
We were exhausted after dinner so carried on the parties back at the apartment most night. But on the last night we missed the bus and there wasn’t another one for two hours so we found ourselves in one of the local bars, just big enough for the five of us and five locals. Oh dear, it got very messy in here. Enough said.
We stayed at Apartments Na Vasi which had plenty of space for the five of us and Urska and Stefan were really kind and took us into town on the first night. They put us in touch with Andre – who absolutely made our trip – and organised discounted ski tickets for us. The apartment was next to a river and would be perfect in summer too. It’s surrounded by mountains and there’s loads going on. It’s next to a bus stop or there is car parking too.
Click for more hostels in Bohinj, Slovenia.
Slovenians are incredibly friendly and straight to the point. This was proven in one particular moment: I fell over on my first time solo on the green run and I fell into some guys’ mini ice hockey pitch he was setting up. He laughed and offered me a huge shot of Jagermeister. I sat and drank it and then he told me I’d have to leave.
Vogel Ski Centre in Slovenia is the perfect place to learn to ski. It wasn’t anywhere near as busy as the big resorts, so say my skiing friends. I learnt to ski with an amazing instructor in a day and it seemed like you got free shots wherever you went. I’ll definitely go back next winter, if not before. They’ve got a whole lot of stuff going on around Bohinj Lake and Lake Bled. If you want a day off from the slopes there’s the nearby Aquapark or you can walk around Lake Bled and enjoy the cafes and restaurants there.
- 3-day lift and cable car pass €59
- Taxi shuttle for five people from Ljubljana to Bohinj €67
- 4 nights at a 5-person apartment at Na Vasi Apartments in Bohinj €57pppn
- 3-day ski hire €45
- 1hr ½ with Andre €40
- 1 hr with Vogel Ski Centre instructor €29
- Flight booked two months in advance €60pp
- Bus from Bohinj to Savice €1.30 (2km)
Thanks to me and adactio for the images from Flickr. Please note, all images were used under the Creative Commons License at the time of posting.