A higher love
Rebekka O’grady may have just stumbled upon skiing’s best kept secret, up in the Slovakian mountains
When you first glimpse the High Tatra mountain range, you can’t help but be in awe. These towering snowy peaks are straight out of a painting – but what was more astounding was, I would be skiing on them!
My partner, JP and I had travelled to Slovakia for our first taste of skiing, courtesy of Mountain Paradise, an Altrincham travel specialist that operates to the Tatra Mountains. From booking our flights from Manchester to Krakow, organising the transfer from Poland to Slovakia, to checking us into our four star hotel, the Grand Hotel Praha, we didn’t have to worry about anything.
We were staying in the skiing resort of Tatranská Lomnica, at the foot of Mt. Lomnický Štít. The hotel, built in art nouveau style in 1905, is positioned at the altitude of 908 metres, and our bedroom had stunning views across the picture-perfect landscape. When we thought that couldn’t be beaten, we visited the hotel’s spa, complete with a heated outdoor infinity pool, and we gazed out onto the snowy vista while enjoying a glass of prosecco.
After a superb dinner and breakfast the following morning, we strapped on the skiing boots that had been fitted on our arrival and prepared for our first skiing lesson. Mountain Paradise arranged ski passes for our stay and for us to have two lessons with Dusan, a highly qualified skier who has travelled the world. As part of their packages, they can arrange lessons with the local ski school, with no more than eight people per class.
We had Dusan all to ourselves – just as well considering my first attempt on the slopes saw me travelling at a snail’s pace. But with Dusan’s guidance (and incredible patience), my confidence improved and I was soon navigating a small section of the mountain unaided. Feeling suitably smug, we celebrated with an ice-cold beer at one of the après
ski bars at the bottom of the slopes. On average you pay no more than 3€ for half a litre of beer in the resort – which in comparison to other ski resorts around the world, is fairly good. Alongside the reasonable price of food and drink, we were never kept waiting for the ski lifts or queuing at the bar. We had time to enjoy the experience, without feeling rushed or overly touristy. It’s an ideal place for people like us, just trying skiing for the first time, families or those more experienced who want more space on the slopes to show off!
After each day of skiing we returned to the hotel, which has just been recently refurbished, to ease our aching muscles in the spa before dining. As half board guests, it was lovely to enjoy lunch at various eateries around the resort, but we also enjoyed the convenience of getting ready in our room and simply going downstairs for a drink and a game of chess before our three course meal at the restaurant.
Sadly our time in snowy Slovakia had to end. Hanging up our ski boots, we said goodbye to the slopes and began the journey back to Krakow for the flight home. As we passed through the mountain range into Poland, one thing we both agreed on was that skiing in Tatranská Lomnica seemed like a dream – one that we didn’t want to wake up from.
“From the hotel spa we gazed out onto the snowy vista while enjoying a glass of prosecco”