Er, Where Exactly?
Jasná is a small village situated in central Slovakia in the Low Tatras mountains. Slovakia’s largest ski resort, Jasná Nízke Tatry, continues to fly under the radar as a snow destination. Savvy skiers and boarders intent on avoiding the crowded neighbouring Alpine slopes will not only be saving dollars but are free to roam across 50km of piste. The runs are complemented by snow making machines ensuring quality conditions each morning. For the thrill seekers, 12 precipitous, off-piste “freeride zones” open up once the mountains receive enough natural snow.
The mountain caters for all abilities with 6 black and 14 red runs available for the pros and advanced riders. A large area consisting of 14 blue runs is dedicated to the beginner and intermediate folk. The highest peak of Chopak mountain stands at 2,024m and the longest run stretches 6km. With 27 lifts across the resort, you’ll be zipping around the slopes in no time.
I stayed for one week in Jasná with Propaganda Snowboards. Their chalets are a short drive from the mountain. A typical day included waking up to a cooked breakfast by our host Alice, before gearing up and arriving at the mountain by 9am.
Alice was not only our host, but our resident snowboard expert and Jasná guide. Having a guide on the mountain is a personal touch and something that distinguishes Propaganda Snowboards from other companies who offer snow packages across Europe. With Alice leading the way, we were able to maximise our time on the mountain and ensure we were shredding the best areas each day. Alice also helped to point out the best places for lunch on the mountain. I’d highly recommend a visit to Mother Slovakia, where the lunchtime combo includes a soup and the main of the day for under €5.
Hit The Slopes
After a few days of riding on piste, fresh snowfall opened up some of the off piste sections one morning. Following the fresh tracks of our guide Alice, I was quickly navigating between trees, logs and creeks. A moment later, I lost Alice’s tracks and found myself hugging a tree. To my left, I heard a fellow snowboarder laughing at my predicament. He had obviously met a similar fate on an earlier run.
Now the last thing any boarder wants (other than injury or death) is to lose their snowboard off the side of the gondola. Sadly, I lost my board in strong winds coming up the southside. Watching it drop from the gondola with a helpless feeling that I might never see it again. Fortunately, my board landed bindings downwards and ended up stuck in the snow (otherwise who knows where it might have gone!). Having to track back down the mountain to retrieve my board, I at least had the opportunity to enjoy some free-riding in between boulders on the side of the piste.
The last lift is at 3:30pm. For those inclined to party once snowboarding is finished for the day, there are a few après-ski options once you come off the mountain. Enclosed rotundas with a bar in the middle will greet you as you come off the slopes. However, many locals will continue onto their cars and head home, leaving the bar virtually empty by around 5pm. On the off chance that some Slovakians come into the bar, join them for a few drinks as they take over the music playlist. Soon enough, you’ll all be dancing on the tables with the locals and forming a conga line around the bar.
Once the day on the mountain is over, you have plenty of nighttime activities to choose from. Head into the nearby town of Liptovsky Mikulas. Here, you’ll find a bowling alley, go karts, thermal pools (highly recommended after day 3 or 4 once those muscles are getting a tired), ice hockey, restaurants and a nightclub. The team at Propaganda are more than willing to help you find your way and may even come along for the night. A night out in Liptovsk Mikulas wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the infamous Club Tropicana where drinks prices are low and Europop rules the jukebox. The club is conveniently located only a short walk from Propaganda’s chalets, making it easy to stumble home.
What To Know
• Season – The winter season is usually from the beginning of December to the end of April. I travelled in early January (2016) and though early in the season, there was already a strong base across the mountain with snow-making efforts continuing to build up the skiable areas. The commitment to promote Jasná as a viable snow option is evident in the €200 million investment to upgrade the resort and facilities from 2013 – 2016.
• Pros & Cons – With 50km of skiable terrain, Jasná offers plenty of gentler slopes for beginners and intermediates and challenging terrain for the more experienced. You’re guaranteed value for money (a 6-day lift pass is approximately €178 when booked in advance), breathtaking scenery and a warm reception from locals.
Jasná slopes cover an altitude range of 943m to 2,024m on Chopak mountain. As such, advanced skiers and boarders may find the pistes limiting. Off-piste lessons and guiding are available though off-piste insurance is mandatory (this is to cover search and rescue costs) should you wish to check out the freeride zones.
• Après-what? – As mentioned previously, if you’re after après-ski, this may not be the resort for you. Options remain limited so you are best to head into the town of Liptovsky Mikulas which is close by.
How To Get ThereWizz Air offers flights from London Luton to Poprad Tatry. Jasná is a 40-minute drive from Poprad Tatry.
Ryanair flies from London Stansted into the capital Bratislava. From here, you can catch a 3-hour train to the slopes (Liptovský Mikuláš is the station you want). For train travel information, check this helpful link.
Alternatively, if you are already travelling in the surrounding area, Vienna is only a 1-hour bus ride from Bratislava. You can then hop onto the train to Jasná from Bratislava. Other nearby options to Jasná include Kosice Airport (3 hour drive) as well as Krakow in Poland (3 hours).
If choosing a package deal with Propoganda (refer below), they can arrange transfers for an additional cost.
About Propaganda Snowboards
Propaganda Snowboards has been offering snowboarding packages in Slovakia for over 10 years. The UK-based chalet holiday operator offers accommodation across four chalets in the area. Rooms can be booked individually or whole chalets can be reserved if travelling within a group. Packages include breakfast, transfers, shuttle service to and from the mountain, on-mountain guiding and shuttle services into the nearby town. Twin rooms start from £209.
Propaganda can arrange lift passes in advance with sufficient notice. Equipment rental can also be organised once you arrive in Slovakia. Propaganda’s latest snowboards are available to try when you get fitted for your skis/snowboard and boots.
*This is not a sponsored or affiliated link. All opinions and views stated are my own.
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