I love skiing and I wanted to try somewhere different that’s off the beaten track shall we say. My wife and I decided to go for a weekend skiing break to Kopaonik in Serbia. People had been telling us that this resort was becoming a rising star as an alternative ski resort.
It’s the beginning of December and everywhere is covered in snow. The cars packed with all the essentials and we make the 8 hour journey along partially cleared roads to the resort. Because of its ever increasing popularity as a major skiing destination in the country, the transport links are well looked after. However it is essential to have winter tyres and snow chains fitted to your vehicle, the latter especially when you get closer to the resort.
Kopaonik lies 1770 m above sea level with its highest point, Pani Peak rising to an impressive 2017 m. The ski resort has 22 ski-lifts, with 3 more under development as I write. There are 12 easy ski runs, 5 medium, and 2 hard, so it really does cater for all levels and abilities. Ski passes are available in the town center at kiosks or at you accommodation, if you are lucky enough. We paid 70 euros for two full days of skiing for both of us, which I think is excellent value for money.
We stayed at the 3 star Hotel Junior in a twin room for two nights for 98 euros. The room was modern, airy, and warm, with all that we required in it, like a satellite TV, fridge and an excellent bathroom. There is also a bar, restaurant with a terrace to enjoy your meals when the sun is shining. Other facilities are a games room, gym, and disco. Wireless internet access will cost you 3 euros per day; but I like my holidays without those kinds of distractions. The hotel is situated in a quiet part of the resort, just a short drive to the center.
My primary reason for choosing this hotel was its proximity to the Bela Reka (Beginners level) ski-lift/slope. There is also a private beginner’s slope at the hotel with a ski school for those requiring instruction. I was ready to hit the piste, so with ski passes bought and suitably attired for our skiing adventure to begin, we hit the slopes with vengeance.
Once we reached the top of the beginners slope, we just had to stop for a moment and take in the one of the most spectacular views I have ever witnessed. The sun glistened on the snowy clad peaks, whilst the heavily snow-laden trees groaned under the snows weight. The snow is deep and crisp, ideal skiing conditions for a barely confident skier, such as myself. Having negotiated ourselves back down the mountain safely, it was a quick break for a warming coffee and then it was round two of our skiing expedition. We spent most of the day on the slopes, just enjoying the freedom and relative un-crowdedness. There’s space here for everyone, even at the busiest of times. In the evening we enjoyed a superb meal at the hotel’s a la carte restaurant, before finishing with a night-cap of cooked, sweetened rakija, one perfect remedy for a peaceful night’s sleep.
One word about après ski: it really depends where you stay. The center can get lively at night especially with the amount of younger people ever increasingly opting for a ski break holiday. However, this is most definitely a family resort, popular with locals and overseas visitors.
Most overseas visitors will fly into Nikola Tesla Airport (Belgrade) and be transferred to the resort by coach as part of a package deal arrangement. For those of us who live more locally then the car is the best option, especially if you like some winter driving.
The next day was more of the same and just as enjoyable. You could travel to other ski-lifts within the resort very easily by car but we decided to just try this one place for now. There’s always going to be a next time especially when your skill levels increase and you want the challenge of a medium or hard ski run. With our skiing break now over we headed home.
With the skiing market becoming less and less affordable in some of the more well-known European resorts, Kopaonik really offers a viable alternative. It seems that the word is getting out, as more and more visitors travel to Serbia for their skiing holidays, when they may have previously chosen France, Austria or Switzerland. You can see why, as this resort offers really good value for money and the variety to test the beginner or the seasoned skier. Kopaonik: my perfect skiing destination from now on, without a doubt.