Skiing, sliding and skydiving in Jasna: a budget Slovakian ski holiday that grants a little luxury
- Credit: Archant
Prices are a fraction of the Alps so a ski holiday needn’t break the bank, but Slovakia still hits the heights, says Emma Bartholomew
With a view of the clearest blue skies flanking soft snow covered peaks from our table at the gourmet restaurant watching skiers bounce rhythmically past, I couldn’t help a little gloating feeling that the meal we was about to eat would set us back at least treble the price had we been sitting somewhere similar in the Alps. We were in the Von Roll - a restaurant named after the old chairlift whose mechanics it’s been built around –in Slovakia’s biggest ski resort Jasna, which boasts 80km of pistes in the Low Tatras.
After an exhilarating morning skiing, it felt like a real luxury to hobble in via unwieldy ski boots, and warm up next to the cosy stone fireplace, for waiter-serviced fine dining.
Here the home-made pasta, with rocket and olives set you back just 8.50 eur and the stone baked pizzas are just 10 euros – incredible prices when you compare that a plate of self-service burger and chips could cost at least double in the Alps.
With hundreds of millions of pounds having been pumped into upgrading the lifts and resorts in the Tatras by Tatry Mountain Resorts, skiing here is a stylish affair, with state of the art cable cars and bubble cover chair lifts.
Wizz Air’s new flight path from Luton to Poprad Tetry, which just launched in November has now made this place super-accessible for Londoners, in terms of both ease and cost.
Luton was just a 20-minute train journey from Kings Cross, and after a flight of just over two hours, it’s just a 40 minute taxi ride from the airport on to Jasna.
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As a family with twin teenage sons, we found the resort brilliant for families and intermediate to advanced skiers with a great selection of red and black runs to the top of Chopok with fantastic snow during our February stay, perhaps preserved through the chill air this high up and the lack of traffic.
For beginners there’s one long blue run all the way down to Lucky - pronounced Looch-key, as we discovered on our daily bus commute up to the resort – and although this stretch does get quite packed out, my sons had a lot of fun practicing little jumps off to the side of the slopes.
From the cable car up to the top of Chopok, if you head over to the south side there’s another entire realm of empty red and black runs, where we were able to bask in relentless February sun.
Don’t let the apparent lack of marked pistes on the map put you off, as the itinerary runs are well worn and lead over to a really great selection of groomed slopes.
With a dump of fresh snow the south side would come into its own, with the whole area marked out as a free riding playground.
The resort of Jasna itself is tiny with a small cluster of hotels and chalets, and the area on the whole is absolutely unspoiled because of restrictions on building in a national park – on our first day here we felt as though we had stepped back to a purer time devoid of billboards.
We stayed further down the mountain near the city, Liptovsky Mikulas, getting the half hour bus ride up every day from the legendary Tatralandia water park.
The largest in eastern Europe, our days of amazing non stop fun continued from the ski slopes to the water slides - which had me screaming in genuine fear as I whooshed down in pitch black, not knowing where I was about to be flung next - although my 13-year old twin sons took it more in their stride.
We even had our dinner here at Tatralandia, dressed in our costumes.
There’s a bar in the middle of the swimming pool, and a state of the art sauna area downstairs where the super-hot sauna provides relief for aching muscles.
If you don’t fancy skiing one day you can forego the slopes for the water park and use your ski pass to get in, where entry is usually around 20 euros.
Non-stop night time fun can also translate to the Hurricane Factory, just a five walk away from our little cabin at Tatralandia resort, where you can see what it’s like to sky dive, blown up in the air in a special cylinder.
Accommodation at Tatralandia is based on different themes around the village from red Indians to the cosy Norwegian-style log cabins we stayed in.
If you had a car to get In provisions you could self-cater, but the prices are so reasonable in the lovely alpine style restaurant on-site that we indulged ourselves every night on the likes of sauerkraut soup, at a very reasonable 3 euros with the price coming down to just two euros with the Tatry Go Pass card, a Nectar-style type of reward point card.
A buffet-style breakfast is also served at seven euros a day, where you can fuel up before jumping on the bus right outside to the ski slopes.
Everything from the price of lift passes, accommodation, food and ski hire is so reasonable here in Slovakia, meaning a ski holiday needn’t necessarily break the bank- especially when you’re paying for a whole family.