Since separating itself from being the latter half (in name order only) of Czecheslovakia several decades ago now, the Slovak Republic to the east of the Czech Republic and north of Austria has emerged as one of Europe’s leading ski nations.
Ski guide books published in the country reveal that there are more than 300, mostly small, Slovakia Republic ski resorts, although some of these are in fact adjacent hillsides in the same village.
The Tatra and Giant mountains here are a little higher than those of the Czech Republic and half a dozen Slovak ski areas have lifts stretching up towards 2000m. This allows for verticals of over 1,000m to be feasible.
Slovakia’s ski resorts saw little modern development during the communist block era but in recent decades the arrival of private capital to invest, and Slovakia’s entry to the European Community has allowed for the country’s better resorts to invest in modern lifts, snowmaking and off-slope facilities.
However many of the country’s more famous ski areas have been attracting winter sports fans for at least a century, so they have a heritage that pre-dates all of the differing 20th century political systems.
Tatranská Lomnica, located beneath Lomnicky Stit, the second highest mountain in the Tatra mountains, is one of the Slovak Republic’s best known ski areas with a big vertical served by a couple of gondolas. Founded as a tourist destination with its first hotel back in the 1870s, the slightly more recent Majestic Grand Hotel Praha is one of the best ski hotels in Eastern Europe.
Jasna is another major centre with more than 1000m of vertical and more than 20 lifts, including a gondola added in 2009. This was an early pioneer in the winter sports industry that his grown to become one of the larger resorts in the region.
World Cup races were staged here back in the 1930s and the resort was actually part of a regional bid to host the 2006 Winter Olympics, losing out to Torino in Italy. The ski slopes are divided in to two main sectors on the north and south sides of Mt Chopok where there are three ski areas, Zahradky, Otupne and Chopok-North along with a snowpark and several freeride zones.
A third major ski area, Vrátna (Vratna Dolina), has a reputation for some of the best off piste powder terrain for those who wish to board or ski Slovakia, with again more than 1000m of lift served vertical, runs up to 3km (two miles) long and more than a dozen lifts on Chleb mountain, including a modern gondola and a quad chairlift which was installed in the late 1990s after the resort was privatized.
The ski area is also known for its great natural beauty and was made Slovakia's fourth national park in 1988.
Slovakia: latest snow conditions round-up
Summary of forecast snowfall and ski conditions for resorts in Slovakia. Fresh snow is forecast at 29 resorts. Powder is reported at 0 resorts and 0 are reporting good piste conditions.