Monday, 24 January 2022

Looking to Hit the Slopes? Vučići Ski Trail, Passion Project of Ogulin’s Skiing Enthusiasts

A wonderful story comes our way from Ogulin, a town in north-western Croatia where a group of skiing enthusiasts run what’s arguably the most welcoming skiing resort in the country

Located in Vučić Selo, only 1.5 kilometres from the centre of Ogulin, the ski trail Vučići and all its facilities are completely free to use, reports Novi list/Danijela Bauk.

‘Resort’ is a bit of a stretch, actually, as the piste is only 450 metres long with a 100-metre sledding slope nearby. Small in size, perhaps, but larger than life, given the enthusiasm of Ogulin Ski Club members who run the show. 

Eleven years ago, some 50 lovers of skiing formed a ski-club in Ogulin and decided to spruce up a slope where locals were known to ski even back in the mid-20th century. Their call to action was an unfortunate event in 2011: a fire that destroyed the Olympic centre Bjelolasica, a skiing resort where many residents of Ogulin had first learned how to ski.

Wanting to ensure the youngest generations in Ogulin have somewhere to learn skiing or simply have fun sledding while Bjelolasica was undergoing renovation works, they reached an agreement with local landowners to turn parts of their land into a ski run at no cost. In return, the ski club members vouched to maintain the grounds all year round.

Bit by bit, what was supposed to be a little local project turned into a well-equipped facility attracting visitors from all over the country. Members of Ogulin Ski Club gradually upgraded the trail with drag lifts and lighting, and borrowed a snow gun from Vrbovsko in Gorski kotar.

These days, the ski club counts 150 members, about half of which are children. Some 60-70 people are active members and spend their free time volunteering at the Vučići ski run, explained head of Ogulin Ski Club Darko Vučić.

‘Whenever we are open and if the weather conditions allow, the slopes can be used from 5 PM to 9 PM on workdays, and from 10 AM to 9 PM on weekends. There are always at least four members on site, we care for safety, supervise drag lifts, and since the pandemic started, we’ve been checking Covid certificates at the entrance. In the pre-Covid era, there was no one at the entrance, because entry is free, we don’t charge and we never will. That’s what we decided at the beginning, that’s how it’ll always be. We wish for people to come to us, to ski and sled, and if they’re satisfied, to leave a donation, whatever one can afford’, said Vučić.


They also run a skiing school for children and adults, but can only accept locals at the moment as the weekend crowds don’t leave space for any additional lessons. They certainly don’t lack interest: there are inquiries from Karlovac, Rijeka, Zagreb, Slavonia, Dalmatia… Owing to the Vučići ski trail, Ogulin is turning into a proper winter destination; there’s been an uptick in accommodation bookings in the area on the days when the trail is open, especially on weekends and during school leave.

According to Vučić, they get about twenty days of skiing a year given the current conditions. ‘We’re not that high, we’re at an altitude of some 300 metres above sea level, but now that we’ve borrowed a snow gun from Vrbovsko, we’re hoping for the season to last a bit longer’, he said, adding that the skiing season in Vučići would likely extend to a full two months if they had another snow gun to maintain the trail.

Novi list also talked to Marko Polić, a skiing instructor from Ogulin and a member of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service.

‘You know what makes this ski trail so special? There’s no anger, no aggravation, no stress. When you go to Sljeme or Platak and pay for the ticket, you’re annoyed by every bump on the trail, by the queue for the lift… Those who come here don’t stress over anything, they’re relaxed, they don’t mind the crowd, the mud, or an occasional bump on the trail. Energy is what counts, and there are only positive vibes here. Yes, we’re donation-based, but if you can’t spare [a donation], it’s okay. We’ll treat you to a cup of tea or mulled wine, treat the kids to some biscuits; our faces are smiling and that’s what people are drawn to’, said Polić.

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Platak Ski Resort With Sea View Opened for Skiers and Sledders

January 6, 2021 – The ski season is finally open. Platak ski resort, a popular excursion and winter site on the Snježnik mountain slopes, has opened its ski and sledding tracks.

This popular ski resort located in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County is only 30 minutes away from Rijeka and about two hours from Zagreb. Also, it is only about ten kilometers away from the sea, so in the winter months, you have the opportunity to ski and sled on Platak on the same day, and then go down to the sea for lunch and a walk.

Platak is the only Croatian ski resort with a sea view, which allows visitors to enjoy two Croatian beauties at the same time – the mountains and the sea.


Platak on December 14, 2020. The sea can be seen in the background. / Source: Platak Facebook

As National Croatian Tourist Board reports, thanks to the new snowmaking system that the Platak Regional Sports and Recreation Center received last season, the Platak ski resort opened its doors on Saturday, January 2, 2021. Skiers can ski from 9 am to 4 pm on ski slopes Radeševo 1, Turistička staza (tourist track), and on a previously open track along the conveyor belt at the foot of Radeševo. Sledders can sled on one of several sledding tracks.

The ski season is finally open, and skiing and sledding enthusiasts have already occupied Platak. According to reports from the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, a total of 522 tickets were sold yesterday by noon, and a large number of visitors came to enjoy sledding and walking. Also, about 40 centimeters of snow fell last night, so visitors enjoy a real snow idyll.


Platak ski resort / Source: Platak Facebook

You can also ride ski bikes (snow bikes) and snowmobiles on Platak's trails and forests. In order to ensure skiing for up to 50-60 days a year, a new snowmaking system worth HRK 23 million has been introduced. It includes 14 snow cannons, a new accumulation lake with 50,000 cubic meters of water, an engine room, and cooling towers.

In its unique wooded environment, the Platak Regional Sports and Recreation Center offers a handful of other facilities that can be enjoyed throughout the year. Among those are hiking trails, promenades, bike routes, unexplored paths, barbecues for rent, sports fields such as disc golf courses, bowling alleys, football fields, basketball, beach volleyball, and badminton.

There are also nine bike trails, a bike park with two trails (downhill and flowhill), and the possibility of a panoramic cable car ride.

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Friday, 18 December 2020

Snow Queen Trophy Ski Race to be Held on Schedule but Without Spectators

ZAGREB, Dec 18, 2020 - The FIS international ski federation and National Civil Protection Authority have officially approved the 2021 Snow Queen Trophy, FIS World Cup Ski race on Mount Sljeme in compliance with the most stringent epidemiological measures and without any spectators, FIS announced on Friday.

In accordance with current anti-COVID measures in Croatia, the Sljeme race will be held  on 3 and 6 January without spectators and guests and according to FIS rules for this season there will not be any public draw of starting numbers that was traditionally held in Zagreb's main square.

This will be the first time that the race will be held without audience and in an effort to limit contact between competitors, additional protective mechanisms have been introduced with "balloons" separating teams, the media, organisation teams without mutual mixing between balloons.

All participants have to produce a negative COVID-19 test no older than 72 hours and monitor their health on a daily basis in their FIS COVID-19 passports.

All the competitors and their teams arriving in Zagreb will be previously tested and accommodated in The Westin Zagreb which will closed to other visitors. Hotel staff will also be tested while reporters will be accommodated in another hotel.

This is the 15th edition of the Women's Slalom race with the winner being proclaimed as the Snow Queen. The Women's Slalom race is scheduled for Sunday 3 January 2021 with the 1st run starting at 12.30 pm and the 2nd run starting at 4 pm.

The 12th Men's Slalom on Sljeme will start at 12.15 on Wednesday 6 January and the second run will start at 3.30 pm.

Monday, 9 November 2020

Slovenian Ski Resorts Expect Croatian Tourists Despite Pandemic

ZAGREB, November 9, 2020 - Slovenian ski resorts are preparing for a full season in conditions of the coronavirus pandemic, counting on foreign tourists, including those from Croatia, in the wake of announcements that the epidemiological situation will calm down within a month.

Last week, the association of operators of ski resort transport devices sent epidemiologists a proposal on how to ensure safety for domestic and foreign skiers on ski slopes and in their facilities at a somewhat smaller capacity than in normal seasons.

Besides the standard recommendations, they suggest increasing the speed of ski lifts and cable cars in order to avoid crowds and lines which would increase the risk of infection. They also plan to ensure a sufficient distance between visitors inside their facilities and on terraces.

The gondola lift at Kranjska Gora can transport 2,400 persons to the top of the ski slopes in one hour at 3.4 metres per second, and if the number of passengers allowed per gondola is halved and the speed increased to 5 m/s, we would still be profitable, Blaz Veber of the Kranjska Gora ski resort has told Slovenian Television.

He is counting on Croatian tourists as usual. "We hope that, by adhering to all the recommendations, our winter season can start in mid-December. We are counting firstly on our domestic guests and skiers from Croatia."

Due to the situation in the UK, this year Kranjska Gora cannot count on UK tourists, who have been among the more numerous visitors, or on skiers from many European countries which have many coronavirus cases and are therefore warning against risky travel abroad.

However, Slovenian ski resorts are confident the strict lockdown in Slovenia will be lifted in about a month and that they will be open, although barely at a profit and with far fewer tourists, notably from abroad.

"Until now, Croats have been the third most numerous visitors during the winter season and thanks to them we have always been full from Christmas to January 10. If the health situation develops as we expect, I believe they will remain faithful, like Slovenians were faithful to Croatian destinations on the Adriatic this summer," Veber said.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Valamar Crosses Croatia's Borders, Purchases Austrian Hotel

Croatia's popular Valamar has expanded beyond the country's borders in buying a hotel in Austria.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Could Croatia Ever Become A Quality Ski Destination?

Could Croatia ever possibly compete with skiing giants like nearby Austria? Yes... and no.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Best Croatian Skier Out For Six Months

Young Croatian skier Leona Popović will not have fond memories of her first performance at the Winter Olympics, after she suffered a heavy knee injury after a fall on Thursday.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Ivica Kostelić Saying Goodbye to Competitive Skiing: I Wanted to Come Here one More Time

Austrian Marcel Hirscher defended his world champion title in slalom after winning on Sunday at the World Championship in Sankt Moritz