Slovenia is a part of the Alps Massive and it’s share includes Julian Alps, Kamnik-Savinja Alps and Karavanke with dozens of peaks rising above 2000m. Famous adventurer, explorer and mountaineer Reinhold Messner, in it's summary of biggest ascents on Everest done by year 2000, attributes 8 out of 32 ascents to Slovenians. This little nation of 3 million people is definitely hitting above it's weight. It is probably a result of long mountaineering tradition, perhaps mentality and genetics, but maybe also diverse and demanding mountain terrain in their homeland.
First world written record of ski touring was made in 1855 when skis were used to deliver mail in Californian Mountains. Slovenians followed very fast with first record of a ski touring trip made in 1895 and by 1914 ski touring course was done for mountaineers, guides and hunters. Tradition continues today in shape of great mountaineering infrastructure through alpine huts, maintained bivouacs* and above all active ski touring community.
Reinhold Messner attributed 8 out of 32 biggest ascents in Everest to Slovenians – illustration of it's long and successful mountaineering tradition.
Even as an anthropological curiosity, any feel for Slovenian lifestyle would be incomplete without a perspective of its mountains. Ljubljana, the capitalof SLovenia feels like a ghost town on weekends. It’s the time wne most people go out to the countryside and spend time in nature. and the mountains - a tradition that starts at very young age Just last week on a ski touring trip to Jalovec we saw a kindergarten from Ljubljana doing a daytrip with kids to Tamar Alpine hut. Apart from the kids discipline it was striking to see how comfortable and autonomous these kids were at -5 sitting in snow pouring each other tea and taking out sandwiches from meticulously packed backpacks.
There are more than 60 peaks in the area with significant terrain changes where elevating gains are anywhere from 500m to 2000m.
If we follow Proust’s wisdom that true voyage of discovery is not necessarily about seeking new landscapes, but gaining new perspectives then ski touring in Slovenia checks both boxes. There is more than 60 peaks in the area with significant terrain changes where elevation gains are anywhere from 500 to 2000m. It's highest peak Triglav is a part of a point-to-point ski trip facilitated by maintained bivouacs* and mountain huts and is known as Slovenian Haute Route. Whether it is the landscape or moving your mental limits the right mountain is somewhere in the area, and it keeps on inspiring trip after trip.
Inspiring adventure travel, in our view always sits in the sweet spot that combines a great outdoor place, understanding of culture and a physical activity. Having some Slovenian blood in the team may make us subjective on the matter, but it seems that, as Viki Grošelj would put it, international alpine experts write and pronounce name Slovenia with respect. So it is only fitting that a trip to this country without seeing the mountains would miss a big part of understanding both the place and the people. Seeing the mountains at their best is about leaving a quiet trail in the snow with the skis and getting a perspective and respect for where we are – mighty mountain land. That’s something that Slovenians would do.
A bivouac shelter is any of a variety of improvised camp sites such as those used in scouting and mountain climbing. It may often refer to sleeping in the open with a bivouac sack, but it may also refer to a shelter constructed of natural materials like a structure of branches to form a frame, which is then covered with leaves, ferns and similar material for waterproofing and duff (leaf litter) for insulation. It is sometimes called a bivy for short.
The word bivouac is French and ultimately derives from an 18th-century Swiss German usage of beiwacht (bei by, wacht watch or patrol).