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Watts skis Slovakia’s High Tatras resorts

25th February 2017, by Dave Watts

The High Tatras from the highest lift-served point

The High Tatras from the highest lift-served point

After two days skiing Slovakia’s biggest resort, Jasná in the Low Tatras mountain range, I moved on to the High Tatras and skied two areas there.

But on the day I arrived in Slovakia I had already taken a tiny 15-person, 75-year-old cable car to Lomninicky Stit, the highest lift-served point in the country at 2634m.


This ancient 15-person cable car takes pedestrians only – there’s no skiing from the top of the 2634m peak in the background

You ride it for the views only as you can’t ski from this rocky peak; it is very popular so you have to book your ride time in advance and are allowed only 50 minutes at the top. The views over the surrounding mountains and down to the slopes of the Tatranská Lomnica ski area are spectacular.


View of the the long, narrow Tatranská Lomnica ski area from the top of the cable car

Saturday afternoon saw me skiing that Tatranská Lomnica area. It has a vertical of around 1300m but is very narrow with only 12km of slopes. Nevertheless, it has decent variety. At the top, a slow double chairlift (after a short hike up from the gondola below) serves a black run and a small freeride area. Below that a modern gondola serves two red runs. And below that again a couple of fast modern chairlifts (a 6-pack and an 8-pack) and an old gondola all serve very easy blue runs back to the base area. I skied nearly all of it in 90 minutes or so in very poor visibility and on fairly busy slopes.


The lower slopes of Tatranská Lomnica are easy blue runs

Saturday morning I had been to Strbské Pleso 23km away and skied that small area of just 9km of mainly red pistes. For most of the time, we stayed on the two top red runs, served by a 6-pack, because they had good snow (including a little fresh overnight) and we were able to go at top speed because they were very quiet.


The base area of Strbské Pleso

Both areas are covered by the Jasná lift pass but there is no bus service from Jasná so to visit you need a car or taxi.

Between the two areas is Stary Smokovec which has a funicular up to the Tatranssky Dóm where spectacular ice carvings are made and displayed each winter. I’m told there’s a good restaurant there too.

The High Tatras resorts are much older than Jasná and so are the resorts, which are spread out and served by ski buses. There are some lovely traditional-style buildings (see photo) alongside some ugly blocks built during the period of Communist rule (which ended in 1989).


Many buildings are in this traditional style

I stayed in the Grandhotel Praha which was built in Art Nouveau style, opened in 1905 and has spectacular views over the resort and slopes. It is a mix of faded glory and modern plushness and has an excellent outdoor infinity heated pool with Jacuzzi jets, indoor pool and sauna/steam room area.

On the Friday evening I enjoyed a candlelit dinner up the mountain with rides up and down in a snowgrooming machine converted to be a ‘Snow Taxi’. It was one of the best meals I had in Slovakia and I particularly enjoyed the starter of smoked duck breast and foie gras. It was in the Pizza and Pasta mountain restaurant where we also eat the next lunchtime when is was transformed into a busy self-service; but the home made and freshly cooked pasta was delicious.



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