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Jasna and Opalisko, Slovakia - Trip Report

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Back from a recent first visit to Slovakia, where we skied for three days at Jasna and Opalisko. We flew to Bratislava, which was great for a wander round, and also visited the nice towns of Trencin and Trnava en route to/from the skiing. The ski areas we visited were 3 hours drive from Bratislava, although you can also fly to Poprad, which is only about 45 mins away.

Jasna is Slovakia’s biggest ski area, with 50km of piste and an impressive lift system of mainly fast chairs and gondolas. The scenery is all forested mountains, with lovely views and most of the skiing on tree-lined runs – so great for snowy days, like during our visit.

The skiing is mainly of easy red/blue standard but there was fresh snow and we managed some fresh tracks (albeit in poor visibility above the tree line) in one of the area’s ungroomed freeride zones. Slopes extend from 900m up to 2000m, so a very respectable vertical and some nice long runs.

Overall, it’s a pretty decent ski area and well worth a visit for anyone - like Mrs MA and me - who likes to try somewhere a bit different. Being there in good snow on a Friday and Saturday, there were lift queues of a few minutes and the odd busy run but overall it was fine and pretty enjoyable skiing on good snow.

The ski area has loads of restaurants and slope-side huts/barbecues/kiosks, selling food and drink at rock-bottom prices. A beer on the slopes costs about €2.40, with snacks (hot dogs etc) from €2, main courses from €5 or €6 and caffee lattes at €3. As there’s no ski resort as such, just a few hotels and apartments along the road side leading to the slopes, we stayed in the nearby town (20 mins drive) of Liptovsky Mikulas. We found a basic - but clean and comfortable - apartment for £25 a night and managed to eat and drink in a pub in the town for the incredible sum of less than €8 (for a 16” shared pizza and two large beers).

On our last day, we skied at the tiny, locals’ area of Opalisko, which has 4 lifts and 4 runs and a vertical of about 300m. We started the day above the clouds, in the sun, on deserted runs that were groomed to perfection. The snow softened to mush in the strong sun by late morning but we had a great time – and all for €10 for a 4 hour ticket.

Driving back to Bratislava, about 45 mins from Liptovsky Mikulas, we drove over a 900m pass through the ski area of Park Snow Donovaly. That also looked worth a visit – with full snow cover and a fair number of lifts. Having checked online, the lift pass there was reduced to an end of season €13 a day - so maybe next time.

All in all, a great trip - and highly recommended for anyone who just likes to try out new ski areas, possibly combined with some nice city sightseeing, or is looking for a bargain basement trip.

A few pics...which have not come out in the order posted... rolling eyes

Bratislava


Trnava


Opalisko


Jasna










Opalisko


Trencin
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thanks for the report - looks like you had a great trip. Jasna has been on the (very long) list for a while, so good to hear another positive report about it.

Was English widely spoken?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I'm fluent in a number of languages denfinella - including Slovak - so communication wasn't an issue.

Er, but not really Very Happy....Yes, everyone we spoke to in Bratislava, Liptovsky Mikulas & Jasna spoke good English - from bars and shops to the Jasna ski area. The one place where we struggled was the ski hire place at Opalisko. We took our own skis on the trip (2 pairs in one bag for £54 return with Wizzair) but wanted a hire price for comparison/possible future trips. A bargain €7 a day but a while to get sorted as the two staff couldn't understand us...
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@mountainaddict haha. Thanks, good to know.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
mountainaddict wrote:
All in all, a great trip - and highly recommended for anyone who just likes to try out new ski areas, possibly combined with some nice city sightseeing, or is looking for a bargain basement trip.


Always up for all three.

How did you find your accommodation? Was the driving easy?
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Great report thanks. Am very interested in trying jasna but no local flights to poprad so I'd be interested to learn more about the drive from Bratislava (timings, type / quality of roads / local driving style etc)
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@mountainaddict, always enjoy reading about ‘different’ locations. Did you hire a car (cost?) and as above how did you find accommodation in resort?
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@johndiamond, Krakov is about 2.5 hour transfer. Vienna about 45 mins more than Bratislava.

Think Brno and Ostrava (Czech Rep) have airports too.
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Thanks for the responses and interest in the trip.

We did look at Poprad flights initially but the Bratislava option was better for us because the days it operates fitted in better with the time off we had booked and we fancied including sightseeing in Bratislava. Wizzair also go to Kosice in Slovakia, which also looks an easily driveable distance to the Low Tatras.

Back on the subject of Bratislava, we found when we were there that you can do a very interesting trip on the Danube to Vienna from there. Only about an hour by a fast boat as they're apparently (allegedly?) Europe's two closest capital cities....Sadly no time to do that. Also saw a fast train to Krakow advertised, so that's another possibility for more sightseeing.

75% of the car journey to/from the Low Tatras mountains was on good motorways, with a speed limit of 110kph (if I recall correctly). The other bits were on decent single track roads but sometimes with a limit of only 70kph on very straight, very rural bits where a higher speed would have been perfectly safe.

We ended up doing a circular route from/back to Bratislava Airport. The outbound route was very easy - via Trenčin - with no mountain roads or hills. The return (same distance) was via Nitra and was a bit more hilly, crossing a fairly low pass at the ski area of Donovaly. Each way took just under 3 hrs - outbound mid pm on a Thursday (no rush hour-type traffic as we know it) and back early pm on a Sunday (very quiet overall).

The drive and driving were no problem, with ok driving standards - though some of the locals in BMWs, Mercs etc do seem to like to race up to tailgate you on the motorway when you are overtaking at 110kph....

Car hire was ridiculously cheap (with Autoeurope as they tend to include winter tyres in the price) - at under £40 for 4 days for a small Hyundai. Digs were similarly cheap - at £33 b&b for a big, communist-style, comfortable hotel on the outskirts of Bratislava (20 mins by tram to the city); and £75 for 3 nights self catering in a basic (but warm and comfortable) apartment in Liptovsky Mikulas. Both digs were booked at Hotels.com - with Quidco cashback too wink

Definitely a very interesting trip and a destination I would recommend.
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@mountainaddict, thanks for the info. Very interesting. Its definitely on the radar.
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That review tipped me over the edge.... Flights have been sorted to feb 2020

Thanks @mountainaddict
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Thank you @mountainaddict,
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Wow johndiamond - that's amazing! Is it flights to Poprad?

No problem LittleBullet - glad to assist. It's great that people have been so interested in a report on such an obscure snowsports destination Very Happy
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@mountainaddict, yeah been looking at jasna for a few years now, never got round to it and always struggled to find friends to go with.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@mountainaddict your review convinced me about the driving being manageable. Who did you get hire car from? Looked on auto Europe briefly but couldn't see winter tyre option

Couldn't get poprad from a local airport (would rather drive abroad than on UK motorways) Flights are Manchester to Bratislava. £54 return with Ryanair. Bags obviously on top of that but won't complain. Leaving on a Thursday return on following tuesday.... Jasna could be a new long weekend option for my little crew
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just had a look on Auto Europe - random dates for Jan 2020...

I clicked on the results for Global, which was the hire co. we ended up with via Auto Europe.

After you bring up the car search results, click on:
- Vehicle details.
- Rate details.

Then see 'Winterization Fee', which will say "Included for rentals commencing Nov 15 - Mar 31 . Winterization includes winter tires."

Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Global hire car it is. Thanks @mountainaddict
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@mountainaddict - thanks for the inspiration

Just got back from a 5 day trip to Jasna in Slovakia

Flew Manchester to Bratislava with Ryanair. Bratislava Airport is a nice, modern, compact airport which seems to work well. Luggage (including the snowboard bag) was waiting for us as we cleared passport control. Disembarking the plane to walking out of the airport with our bags took less than 15 minutes.

Hired a car with Budget, which was waiting for us a few metres from the exit doors. Winter tyres came as standard, which was nice. We drove three hours to our apartment in Liptovsky Mikulas (LM). As @mountainaddict said roughly 75% of the journey was on smooth, empty motorway, and the latter part was on pretty good ‘A’ roads. No hairpins or mountain passes on the route whatsoever so it was an easy drive.

LM is a pretty big town, with a large shopping centre. Tesco and Lidl have large modern stores in town. The old town centre is packed with nice little bars and restaurants. The whole area is undergoing a lot of development at the moment and there’s loads of accommodation. We booked a large, modern duplex apartment on outskirts of town (three bedroom, three bathrooms, large widescreen TV etc) for approx. £95 per night.

Another big plus is Tatralandia Park, which is like a centre parcs swimming/waterslide park in town https://www.tatralandia.sk/ . You can use your ski pass to get in there at a discount. The park also has a celtic sauna centre, which was really impressive.

Another apres-ski activity was target shooting at a gun range, which got a bit surreal. We expected air-pistols, but the instructor let us use a fully loaded live ammunition sniper rifle!

Best evening meal of the week was at Restart Burger just on the main route between LM and Jasna. €18 per head for main course, side, and beers. A beer in town cost about €1.50.

Local people speak pretty good English, and they are very friendly.


Jasna Skiing

I was seriously impressed with Jasna as a ski resort. Not a high mileage resort if you stay on piste, but it’s got several unpisted freeride zones inbounds, as well as some really nice wooded areas of trees so the amount of rideable terrain for more experienced punters is far higher than the km quoted on the lift pass. Lifts system is as modern as, if not more modern than the majority of resorts I have seen in Europe, and the mountain piste plan is good (I’d say as long as you can link turns, you could probably get round most of the mountain as there’s a blue, black, or red route for pretty much anywhere you want to go).

Plenty of terrain for a week, whatever your level


The mountain is basically split between the more Northside and Southside, linked by the Chopok cable car. For me the southside was a particular hit. Our second day saw us wake up to fresh snow and I had been told to get to the southside. I shared a large lift-accessible powder field (no hike required) with no more than 7 other riders/skiers…at 11am…during February half-term! We lapped that part of the mountain for about three hours, and got fresh tracks every time.

Only downside during our trip was they shut the upper mountain lifts off a number of times due high winds meaning we only had access to certain parts of the mountain, and definitely could not pass between north and south sides. This meant that those lifts left operating had longer queues than I would have liked. Whether this is a regular thing or I was just unlucky with the wind I don't know. Also I believe getting stuck on the wrong face at closing time means a €130 taxi ride home!

Lift passes were very cheap, especially if bought in advance over the gopass.sk website. I paid £122 for a four day pass (which covers some smaller ski hills in the local area, and can be exchanged for a day in the Tatralandia park too if you fancy a day off). I am led to believe a SEASON PASS starts at around €240, which is insanely cheap in my opinion.

Costs of eating and drinking are cheap in town, and cheap on the mountain too. A large beer on the mountain cost no more than €3, whilst a large pizza would set us back about €10 - €12 max.

There is accommodation in the ski resort itself but not a lot else, so at night it is pretty quiet. Free ski buses run between Jasna and Liptovsky Mikulas, and there is a large park and ride facility just outside of town. A taxi for the same route cost us €25 for a 9 seat minibus. There is parking at the resort (free), but it is limited so you need to be early if driving.

Would definitely recommend it to other snowheads, not just as a low-cost destination, but as a destination full stop.
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"...but the instructor let us use a fully loaded live ammunition sniper rifle! …" Not an experience you will forget quickly !!
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albob wrote:
"...but the instructor let us use a fully loaded live ammunition sniper rifle! …" Not an experience you will forget quickly !!


it was bananas. guy spoke broken English so instead of speaking he just kept on bringing out different weapons....glock 19, Walter ppk, assault rifles. it would not shock me if he had a bazooka in the back room. wish I'd worn a vest for the full on Bruce Willis in die hard look
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Hope to get there one day, sounds pretty cool.
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Very good trip report and comments. I've been eyeing / priced up jasna for a while, never got round to it.......

Anyone know what the snow reliability is like for end of Dec? I.e. Nye
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Fantastic thread.

Cheers all.
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LittleBullet wrote:
Very good trip report and comments. I've been eyeing / priced up jasna for a while, never got round to it.......

Anyone know what the snow reliability is like for end of Dec? I.e. Nye


I believe that is December considered very early season, but there is snow making on loads of the pistes

happy to answer any other questions people may have
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Hi, interested in this thread as helping my husband organise a long weekend away for his 50th. Where would you say is a good base in the Jasna area? Is there much in the way of Apres ski or is it very quiet?
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if you want apres look at liptovsky mikulas town centre. loads going on there at night and very convenient for getting to the ski resort itself.

jasna itself is quiet at night. there are a couple of disco bars slopeside for early evening fun...search crystal bar and happy end, but liptovsky mikulas has a lot more going on
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Just spotted your report johnd - so glad that you enjoyed it so much after being inspired to book by my original post Very Happy . I'm so pleased about that - would have hated you to have had a bad time.

That free freeride zone at the top of the mountain is excellent - it's great that you got some fresh tracks in.

It's just brilliant to try these unknown (to UK skiers) countries and ski areas.

Next time you go wink , Bratislava, Trnava and Trencin are definitely worth a look for an hour or two - lovely old buildings and some nice cafes for coffee and cake... NehNeh
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