Slovenia often falls out of the horizon because we always have a different more up-to-date destination. If someone is headed to the coast, they are most likely to choose Croatia; who wants to go skiing, they head toward Austria, maybe Slovakia. A few years ago, people rediscovered Lake Bled, which went viral on Instagram with breathtaking photos so Slovenia could be put on the map again.
Less familiarity with skiing in Slovenia is also true. The primary reason for this is that the Slovenian ski slopes are small, and they are not as modern as they are at their brother-in-laws. If you want to try a new ski slope, Slovenia offers great opportunities - and within that, start with the one in Maribor - Pohorje ski resort. I'll tell you why.
Mount Pohorje is part of the Alps, where the tracks end at an altitude of 325 meters. Luckily, they start at 1,327 meters, and the 1,000-meter level difference already promises one-kilometre-long trails on which it is a whole experience a slide down.
Pohorje is heavily wooded, so many ski slopes pass through the woods. Due to the untouchability of the mountain, there are several legends that elves, strange creatures, and fairies also live in Pohorje. Who knows, you might run into one while skiing.
Where is Maribor?
Maribor - Pohorje (as its official name) is located in northeastern Slovenia and on the side of the Drava River. The hills and mountains around the city do not seem particularly high at first, nor does it seem like a classic ski resort, as we do not see slopes like the Tatras or the Austrian Alps.
- Address: Pohorska ulica 60, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia
- Distance from Ljubljana: 1,5 hours / 130 km
- Distance from Maribor: 10 min / 6 km
Why Maribor is popular?
The Maribor ski resort is the largest in Slovenia, so its popularity is understandable. Although there are several alternative ski resorts in the country, they are smaller or less well organized.
The location is not a classic ski resort in that visitors do not only arrive in winter, but summer and autumn excursions are frequent, during which we also visited the city of Maribor. The popularity of Maribor is clearly due to 2 things:
- It has the largest ski resort in Slovenia
- Night skiing available
Night skiing in Maribor
Maribor is famous for its evening skiing, which is not to be missed! The night tracks are available until 9 pm and cover 10 kilometres that no other track in the area can compete with.
Bolfenk and Areh
The Maribor ski resort has two centres: Bolfenk (on the left) and Areh (on the right). Both have a car park and can be reached by local public transport. Bolfenk is the older part of the track system, while Areh is more modern, slightly newer.
There is a bus transfer available between the two centres. During the weekend, the bus leaves about every 15 minutes, and the journey takes just about that much.
Maribor ski slopes
The 41.5 km long ski slopes follow a classic division so that each group member can find a suitable slope. Unlike several Slovenian ski slopes, Maribor Pohorje has a black slope. Maribor primarily offers a varied environment for beginners and intermediate learners, but even a truly professional skier can find their calculation here.
One of the reasons for this is that ski races are often held on-site. One of their best-known competitions is the Golden Fox - FIS Ski Cup, designed specifically for female skiers, for which an amazing crowd gathers every year, creating a fantastic atmosphere in the area.
Blue ski slopes
Blue ski slope: 23.5 km (13 tracks)
I recommend the blue tracks to those who are just started skiing and have recently made their first meters. Of course, there are opportunities to learn to ski on site, so if the kids are sliding for the first time now, that is not an obstacle either.
The blue tracks are usually wider, so the turns are not so hard, and the larger mass can be better divided. Many people ski on these slopes even without sticks. In Maribor, you will find 23.5 km of blue tracks.
Red ski slopes
Red ski slope: 13 km (10 tracks)
The red tracks are one harder nut, as they are either steeper or narrower than the blue ones for students. Here you need to be able to pay more attention to yourself and your skiers.
These trails often run into the woods, where you can test your skills on faster stages. In some places, there may be parts in less good condition and slightly bumpy, but the Maribor operation maintains these tracks on an ongoing basis.
At the ski resort, you can ski for a total of 13 kilometres on a red track (mostly divided into nearly 1-kilometer sections). The good news is that you can ski from the top of the mountain on either blue or red trails to the bottom without crossing.
Black ski slopes
Black ski slopes: 5 km (3 tracks)
Black tracks for professionals are already a serious challenge. There may be icy spots and quite steep and narrow lanes –all for 5 kilometres.
The most favourite slopes
- The longest black downhill is track 8 in the centre of Bolfenk.
- The most popular track is the 6-seater red track 23 with an elevator in the Areh centre.
- Red 16 is also popular, but unfortunately, some of it is usually closed towards the end of the season in case of little snow.
- Several snowboarders highlighted the red tracks 12 and 18.
- Track 20 is one of the most popular among families with children, so there is a longer lineup during the day. (Areh Center)
- Tracks 21 and 22 are also popular with beginners.
Less popular slopes
Blue tracks 13 and 14 are described by many as horrible. The tracks should be bridges between the two centres, but they have no steepness, so you can usually just walk through them - in about 20 minutes. At track 15, many skiers were also mad.
Maribor - Lifts, gondolas
There are 22 lifts in Maribor to help you get up - and if you get scared, it helps you to get down. Of these, only 1 is a cabin, 5 is a sit-down, and the remaining 16 lifts are plate, or magic carpet. Based on several reports, usually, you do not have to expect to stand in a long line.
If you want to go off-road, try next to the red track 23.
The ski resort has undergone several improvements for the 2019/20 ski season, mainly affecting the infrastructure. Snow cannons and a snow-making machine were bought to eliminate situations where lower-lying tracks had to be closed due to little snow.
With 30 new snow cannons, this can no longer happen. According to the statement of the company operating the track, which is also the local public transport company, they can cover the tracks with snow even at a temperature of 25 degrees.
I am not saying the idea of skiing in a swimsuit would not be unique, but do not take this for granted.
Ski school - Maribor with Kids
Ski schools can be found in both centres.
An alpine school called “Smucarska sola Ilke Stuhec” was launched in Pohorje, where ski education, among other things, is provided. Of course, there is serious education during the ski season, but it is good to know that even in summer, they do preparatory work through different camps.
They are offering programs that are exciting and unusual not only for the kids but also for the older ones or young-minded parents:
- adventure park
- maze in a wheat field
- extreme water sports for solo people and teams
It is also possible to get your tickets in Maribor. Daily tickets and season tickets are available, all of which come with discounts for children, students or seniors.
However, the track is available on the Snowpass Card system, which allows you to try slopes from Switzerland through Germany to Austria.
The Maribor ski resort is accessible with an average entrance fee: of EUR 33 for an adult and EUR 19 for children.
- Adult: 33 euros
- Child: 19 euros
* A person is considered to be an adult if they reach the age of 19, and a child is considered to be under the age of 15. You can get student tickets between the two ages.
Seasonal pass, tickets
The annual pass is valid daily during the season, with unlimited use. The price of a pass is greatly affected by when you buy it.
For example, if you buy a pass in January (a year earlier), it costs € 370, if, in August, it costs € 410, and if you wait until after November, you have to pay € 500.
- Adult pass: € 370 - € 500
- Student and senior pass: between € 310 and € 420
- Children's pass: between € 210 and € 280
You can also buy a pass (Pohorka), which is cheaper but can only be used on weekdays, not weekends and holidays. This will save you roughly € 100.
When is the best to go?
You can visit the tracks from December to March, but due to their low position, various slope closures have been common. Although there are snow cannons, there have been many poor evaluations of the quality of the tracks in the absence of snow in March.
We will see if snow cannons and snow generators from the next season make a real difference. In any case, before you go, take a look at the local webcams, so you will not be surprised.
- Webcams for the slopes can be found here.
What can you do in the area?
Due to the University of Maribor, countless young people live in the city, so there is no shortage of nightlife. It may be less exciting for families, but if you go with friends, you can choose from several dance venues in the evening.
You can also see four castles in the city: Maribor Castle is located directly on the banks of the Drava, so it promises to be the most beautiful of them all. However, there are not many attractions in the city, it rather invites you for a pleasant stroll.
It is not difficult to find accommodation in Maribor. Thinking for six months in advance, you can find accommodation in the area for as little as 17 Eur, but it indicates the cheapness of the place that you can book a four-star hotel in the centre for 50 Euro/person/night. The largest selection is available at booking.com.
It can be a pleasant weekend getaway if you want to try out a new ski resort that is constantly being renewed. Even if you are a beginner, it is an exciting destination.
Slovenian caterers are nice; although there is a wait for ticket purchases, there is no queue at the elevators. The tracks cater to everyone, whether beginner or advanced. Unfortunately, due to the mild winter, trails can be closed due to a lack of snow.
It is a cheaper destination than Austria, and you can also change the steam dumplings for something new in the hut. Try it; head to Maribor!
Have great skiing!