I’m going to tell you a story about our wintersport holiday!
…wintersport holiday. Can you tell we live in Holland?
Since we’ve just come back from our month long adventure in Cambodia and Vietnam, we really only had two goals: snowboard & snowboard cheaply.
Turns out, Eastern Europe has plenty of good snowboarding if you’re willing to sacrifice piste kilometers, and since we were looking at a 3 day trip that’s exactly what we decided to do.
Shane originally found Jasna, Slovakia on an Apple News article talking about “little known ski areas” – something to that extent. Once Jasna was on the radar, I started researching.
Turns out, there’s not much out there on snowboarding in Slovakia.
I’m here to change that, folks! So here we go.
For real, if you don’t know about this site then you need to. It gives you the whole run down of how each mountain ranks specifically for snowboarding. It’s how I found Livigno, Italy last year and where I generally start planning trips. For us, anything 7 and above is a winner!
How to get there:
There are three nearby airports: Propad (Slovakia), Krakaw (Poland) and Vienna (Austria). Propad being the closest, but appeared to only be serviced by carriers originating in the UK.
For us, coming from Amsterdam, the best option was to fly to Krakaw and drive ~3 hours to the mountain.
We flew with KLM for ~180 euros per person including 1 extra checked bag for the gear. KLM allows you to check a ski or snowboard bag with not additional fees, which is quite handy.
A car rental from the Krakaw airport from Wed – Sun was ~60 euros, which we were thrilled about! What we were not so thrilled about was the 200 euro fee to cross the boarder from Poland to Slovakia. If you rent a car in the Netherlands you could literally drive the thing TO Slovakia and they could care less, so this was really a surprise for us.
Consider yourself warned! If you rent a car in Poland you will be charged a fee to cross the boarder!
Where to Stay:
This was a tricky one for me. We were trying to keep it cheap, so staying on the mountain itself was definitely out. You can stay in what looked like gorgeous ski in-ski out lodges and spas on the mountain, but you’re also going to pay a hefty sum for that.
We also are grown-ass adults and weren’t trying to stay in a dirty run-down hotel. Balance, ya know?
We settled on Penzion Routunda which is located smack in the center of Liptovský Mikuláš; the closest town to Jasna Chopok – the main mountain. 160 euros got us 4 nights in a 1 bedroom apartment with free parking, enough room to store the gear, and enough kitchen to cook breakfast before we headed out.
Staying in the center of Liptovský Mikuláš was a great option. There were plenty of restaurants for dinner and a grocery store nearby. You, of course, won’t find your typical après-ski, but for us having some cold beer and a snack at home before we ventured out to dinner worked perfectly.
Ahh.. and on to the good stuff. The mountain itself!
Jasna Chopok is located ~15 min driving from Liptovský Mikuláš. A ski bus is available, but we could never find a clear ski bus map with pick up locations or times so we decided to drive.
The first day we were a little late out the door – lifts opened at 8am and we were on the road probably at 8am. If you want good parking, don’t do that.
It was fine. There is parking (P4) at the bottom of the mountain and a shuttle bus that takes you up, but the shuttle is jam packed and only ran every 45 min (?!?!) and when you’re tired and ready to go, you’re tired and ready to go!
The next day we got our sh*t together and were in the P1 parking lot – the closest one to the main lift – by 7:15am.
As for the snowboarding… it was perfect for a 3 day trip.
This is the first year that I can truly say I’m a proper snowboarder. I can finally handle my own and enjoy a good fun park!
…there were no fun parks in Jasna.
Ok so there was one small section, but the only access was a terribly slow lift or the bain-of-a-snowboarders-existance: the tow rope.
I would say most of the pistes were intermediate level. Shane, who’s been snowboarding for much longer than I have, might say otherwise. Regardless, after three days we had fully explored the area, and if we stayed longer we might have been bored.
I would also like to disclaimer that my opinion on this would probably be 100% different had we had fresh snow. The entire back-side of the mountain was essentially off-piste, but since there was no new snow it was all ice and unusable.
We were able to sneak out a few good powder runs on the first day after ~10cm from the night before, but to get there, we had to brave the white out…
Was Jasna worth it?
A 3 day lift pass was 90 euros per person – a fraction of the cost for a 3 day pass somewhere in the alps. Our total expenses (excluding food and drink) were 620 euros including our surprise boarder-crossing fee. The average dinner for two (including drinks) was ~20 euros. Compared to your average ski holiday in Switzerland, Austria, or France – it’s a steal.
I would also highly recommend Jasna to anyone who’s learning, or who might take kids. There’s plenty to keep those who are more experienced entertained, while letting the newbies gain some confidence.
And of course, had there been fresh snow, the off-piste area would have been amazing! Instead, I stared at it with envy from the gondola…
Biggest downside? No funpark. I was looking forward to landing some sweet jumps (and by jumps, I mean baby-sized jumps)! Maybe next year.
But, Shane found a dog (he named him Pablo) so it couldn’t have been all bad, right?
OH! And here’s the video of our Jasna adventure!