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December 10, 2018

Bohinj – Heaven for ski touring

Avtor: Martin Šolar

Ski touring, the discovering of the so-called obscure mountain world on skis, is growing in terms of popularity and acceptance. Winter in the mountains, ski touring equipment and one’s determination are all interconnected to an endless circle of experiences offered by Bohinj in the winter time. In the winter months, when you get a view of the snow capped mountains above Bohinj, you get the chance to experience the mountainous terrain in a completely different manner.

The Julian Alps become a vast terrain packed with ski touring trails and the conditions here are simply the best. Bohinj is believed to be one of the cradles of ski touring in Slovenia and has a distinct advantage against other Alpine areas, due to its natural conditions. The ski touring skiing season both in Bohinj and Julian Alps is fairly long, as it starts in December and finishes in April or in the following months. Ski touring is best during peak season in March and April when the snow is compact, lit by the sun and there is no avalanche danger. The mountain range vistas start off with the foothills of Mt Črna Prst, Mt Rodica and Mt Vogel – the so-called Bohinj-Tolmin mountains. But one has to be careful nevertheless, and it is best to start at Vogel, a dedicated ski slope with ski lifts operating for more than 50 years, offering a great starting point for ski touring.

Bohinj’s Mt Komna probably offers the most picturesque and diverse ski touring area in the Julian Alps. This high plateau with an altitude of around 1,500 meters is a great starting point for touring in all directions. One can choose to take the easy and short ski touring trails, (Kal, Lanževica), short and difficult ones (Podrta Gora, Mahavšček), or the remote ones, such as Krn and Kanjavec.

Mt Komna has a mountain cottage open for public year round where one can get a proper night stay and suitable care. The pastures of Fužina north above Lake Bohinj provide areas of mountain pastures, quiet and secret forests which turn out to be a genuine piece of heaven for ski touring. The valley behind Kopica with Zelnarica, Vogel, Debeli Vrh and Ograda. Aspiring possibilities for ski touring, amongst which Kanjevec takes the number one spot – the longest ski touring trail around here offering 15 km of trails with 2000 meters difference in altitude. One can ski all the way to Stara Fužina if conditions are suitable.

The mountain range around Bohinj ends with peaks above the Pokljuka plateau. One can get to the plateau fairly easily (there is also public transport available) and the place itself offers numerous ski touring trails amongst which the steep Mt Viševnik and the wonderful snow pyramid Mt Veliki Draški Vrh are the most popular. There are really plenty of opportunities for ski touring in the mountains of Bohinj, and the more advanced and fit touring skiers can opt for the so-called Triglav Ski Touring Traverse – nearly all of it stretches at the mountain areas of Bohinj. The traverse starts off at Mt Vogel via Mt Komna to the Valley of the Triglav Lakes, then continues its route via Mt Hribarice all the way to Velo Polje pasture beneath Mt Triglav and only at the last part when going of from Kredarica to the Krma Valley leaves the area of mountains of Bohinj. These difficult 3-4 days ski touring expedition offers accommodations at mountain cottages open year round at Mt Vogel, Mt Komna, and Kredarica. In between, one can rest in the winter rooms or bivouac shelters in the Valley of the Triglav Lakes and at Velo Polje pasture.

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December 10, 2018

Hiking in Winter

Winter brings peace and quiet to the mountains. Cows’ and sheep’s bells are replaced by the silent steps of deer in the snow, and the vivid colours are replaced by more subtle tones. But hiking in winter has its traps. When there are higher temperatures in the valley, the mountain world can already be quite wintery in autumn. The first snow falls quite early in autumn and temperature oscillations make trails icy, thus causing the danger of falls that can be fatal. If you have a lot of experience, if you have checked the weather forecast, chosen a secure trail, if you are in shape and have appropriate equipment, then you are probably prepared to hike in the mountainous world. But you still need to consider some instructions given by the Bohinj Mountain Rescue Service.

GOOD PLANNING IS KEY

Trails are covered in snow in winter, there are no markers, so it is very important to know the trail and the terrain. Due to the snow cover, skis or snowshoes should be used for hiking in winter. Without them, you can quickly get into trouble – the hike extends and requires a good physical condition. And you have to consider this when planning the hike.

You should consider that days are shorter and that distances take more time than in the summer. Huts are closed, except for some individual ones – Koča na Komni, Koča na Lipanci, Orožnova koča na planini Za Liscem, Voje and Uskovnica. The Koča pod Bogatinom alpine hut will be open from the end of February until the end of March. The tracks to those huts are mostly walked in winter, except in heavy snowfall. However, you always have to check the situation before the hike.

ALPINE HUTS, OPEN IN WINTER TIME

  • BLEJSKA KOČA NA LIPANCI ALPINE HUT (1.630 m)
    Planinsko društvo Bled
    m: +386 51 633 769, +386 51 621 021
    e: [email protected]
  • DOM NA KOMNI ALPINE HUT (1.520 m)
    Planinsko društvo Ljubljana – Matica
    m: +386 40 620 784, t: PD +386 1 23 12 645
    e: [email protected]
  • KOČA POD BOGATINOM ALPINE HUT (1.513 m)
    Open every day from: 23. 2. – 24. 3. 2019
    Planinsko društvo Srednja vas v Bohinju
    t: +386 4 8280 305, m: +386 31 341 821
    e: [email protected]
  • OROŽNOVA KOČA ALPINE HUT ON THE PLANINA ZA LISCEM PASTURE (1346 m)
    Open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and on holiday
    Planinsko društvo Bohinjska Bistrica
    m: +386 51 442 550
    e: [email protected]
  • MERJASEC ALPINE HUT ON VOGEL (1.535 m)
    Vogel d. o. o.
    t: +386 4 5729 712, m: +386 51 644 316
    e: [email protected]
  • USKOVNICA MOUNTAIN HUT (1.154 m)
    Planinsko društvo Srednja vas v Bohinju
    m: +386 31 341 814
    e: [email protected]
  • VOJE MOUNTAIN HUT (690 m)
    Planinsko društvo Srednja vas v Bohinju
    m: +386 41 234 625
    e: [email protected]

WHAT IS PROPER EQUIPMENT FOR WINTER HIKING?

Carry enough clothes to will protect you against the cold and the wind. You also need a lamp and a fully charged mobile phone. Use sun protection too – glasses and sun protection cream. Wear appropriate shoes that should enable the option to attach crampons, though they are only useful if you also use an ice-pick. This equipment is not helpful if you don’t know how to use it. We also strongly advise not to use any replacements for crampons.

CAREFULLY FOLLOW THE WEATHER CONDITIONS

You must also to follow weather conditions. Snowfall and wind are the main reasons for snow slides. Therefore, you should carry an avalanche beacon, a shovel and a probe. This equipment does not guarantee that you won’t be surprised by an avalanche, it’s merely a tool in case you get caught under an avalanche. If this happens, it is most important that you get help, so you should not hike alone and all hikers must be appropriately equipped and trained to search for missing persons under an avalanche.

We recommend that winter hiking is done in the company of an experienced guide or mountain guide. A bivouac offers emergency shelter. But this should not be our goal. There are many bivouacs, but they mostly serve as emergency shelters. They don’t offer food and are not heated. Since these huts don’t have any keepers, if you want to stay in a bivouac, it is important to clean up when you leave.

Please hike wisely. If you don’t have sufficient experience, hike with a mountain guide. For those of you who would like to explore the mountains, Bohinj Mountain Rescue Service recommends attending appropriate courses and lectures related to safe hiking in winter. Don’t hike alone and before any expedition, notify your relatives and friends. Before departure, get information about which trails are passable, because even less demanding trails will be strenuous enough and you will be able to enjoy winter hiking without taking unnecessary risks and exposing yourselves to danger.

SNOW SLIDE DANGER IN THE AREA OF TRIGLAV NATIONAL PARK

The levels of danger base on the European 5-level danger scale. The data about the danger of snow slides are only informative. The data have been obtained in the field from automatic meteorological stations and Triglav National Park supervisors.

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