The Vršič mountain pass is an extremely popular base for ski touring, as it offers easy access directly to many of the Julian Alps’ two-thousand-meter peaks.
Are you an adrenaline enthusiast?
Skiing on ungroomed but natural slopes is a combination of alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, and hiking. If you love peace and untouched nature, then perhaps ski touring is just what you need! If you want to go to the mountains in winter, you will definitely need all the necessary equipment for winter mountaineering and specially adapted ski equipment for the descent itself. Skis need to be light and have special flexible fittings for going uphill. They shall also be equipped with a special notch for attaching the skins to prevent slipping. Boots shall be light and flexible with a non-slip sole and a rough profile. You will also need telescopic poles, a helmet, first aid, and a set of avalanche protection equipment. It is particularly advisable to wear a locator beacon when ski touring in case you are caught in an avalanche.
What is the charm of ski touring?
The peace, the connection with nature, and the feeling of unlimited freedom!
Ski touring is characterized by climbing a hill without a lift, unmarked slopes, experienced skiers, and untouched snow. It must be approached with great care, with responsibility for safety, and, above all, with the right equipment. The weather forecast and the level of avalanche risk are also important factors in deciding when and where to go on a ski tour. Special uphill skis can also help you get up the hill, but where this is not possible you will need to rely on snowshoes or crampons, an ice axe, and other mountaineering equipment. Both ascending and descending, you need to be constantly on the lookout for snow-covered caves and crevasses and be alert for avalanches, which can be fatal. The best time to go ski touring is in winter or spring, depending on snow conditions and air temperature.
On more difficult terrain it is best to ski with a certified and experienced guide, especially on unfamiliar terrain. Mountain guides have expert knowledge of the terrain and weather conditions, but a good guide will also help you improve your skills on icy terrain and achieve a higher level of ski touring knowledge.
A list of compulsory equipment that you can borrow in Kranjska Gora:
- Ski touring skis
- Ski bindings
- Ski boots
- Locator beacon
- Airbag for avalanches
- Climbing skins
- Ski goggles
- Ski crampons
There are many opportunities for unforgettable wild skiing in the Zgornjesavska Valley. There are countless trails for beginners and steep slopes for experienced skiers who want to try the most extreme ridges in the Julian Alps. The most popular ski touring trails lead from Mojstrovka, the Kot mountain pass, the ridge behind Cmiro, and Dovska Baba. Skiing from below the Kriška Wall and from Kredarica to Krma is also fun.
V Zgornjesavski dolini priložnosti za nepozabno divjo smuko ne manjka. Poti je nešteto tako, za začetnike kot strmih za izkušene smučarje, ki so željni preizkusiti najbolj ekstremne grebene v Julijskih Alpah. Najbolj priljubljene turno smučarske poti vodijo iz Mojstrovke, Kotovega sedla, grebena za Cmirom in Dovške Babe. Zabavna je tudi smuka izpod Kriške stene in s Kredarice v Krmo.
TEAM RESET RECOMMENDS THE FOLLOWING TOURS:
Krnica Valley and Zatrep Krnice (1,920 m)
One of the most beautiful ski touring tours runs along the Krnica Valley to Zatrep Krnice (below the Krnica Wall – 1,920 m) in the shadow of the spectacular peaks of Prisank, Škrlatica, Križ, and Razor. The starting point of the tour is easily accessible as it starts just above Jasna lake, where you can also park. Just before the bridge over the Pišnica river, turn right into the Krnica valley and follow a fairly gentle path that continues along the river all the way to the Krnica lodge. If you are a beginner or you are going with younger children, the tour, of course, if you finish at the Krnica lodge, is really the ideal option for you. The trail is sloping and well-trodden, except of course right after a snowfall. The hut is open on weekends in winter, but you can also walk or sledge your way to the lodge.
From the lodge, continue along the valley on the forest path and follow the signs for Križ all the way to the forest boundary – when the forest turns to heath. Here the path becomes steeper and ends just below the Kriška wall. The area itself is avalanche-prone and is known for its numerous landslides, so be extremely careful. If avalanche warnings have been issued, finish the route at the Krnica lodge. Return to the valley in the direction of the ascent.
Vršič mountain pass (1,611 m)
Vršič is a mountain pass that provides direct access to the Julian high mountain range, making it a popular starting point for ski touring from the surrounding peaks. You can drive to the 1,611 m summit, where numerous two-thousand-meter mountains are practically in the palm of your hand. In winter, when there is a lot of snow, the road is often only partially plowed, so you have to park that much lower and walk to the top of the pass. If there is a lot of snow, the road is only cleared as far as the turn-off to the Krnice valley, just above Lake Jasna.
Vršič is known for its avalanche danger, so in winter, before you set off, be sure to check the weather forecast and the avalanche danger level.
When there is a large amount of snow and the road is not cleared, you can take a tour to the pass directly from Kranjska Gora along the road itself and the many road cuts that intersect the Vršič serpentine. If the path is already trodden, the tour itself is not difficult, but it is quite lengthy. You can stop at Miha’s home or the Lodge on the Forest, which are also open in winter, and of course at the top of the pass itself, at Tičar’s home, Erjavec’s lodge, or the Postman’s home.
From Vršič to Mala (2,333 m) or Velika Mojstrovka (2,366 m)
Skiing from Mala Mojstrovka is one of the most popular ski touring destinations in Slovenia. The view from the top, which is located at 2,333 m above sea level, is fantastic on all sides and repays all the effort put into the climb. The starting point of the tour is at the top of the pass at an altitude of 1,611 m (provided, of course, that the road is clear and passable). The ascent begins to the west, along a steep avalanche scree slope towards the mountain saddle of Vratca (the mountain saddle between the two Mojstrovkas), where you turn right and continue along a ridge that you must follow all the way to the top.
The route is steep but not too difficult. Basic winter mountaineering skills, an ice axe, and good quality ice skis are a must as the path along the ridge, especially in the exposed narrow part, is often icy and dangerous for slipping. Caution should not be overlooked.
The descent follows the direction of ascent, but extreme caution is required in the narrow part of the ridge above the Vratca mountain pass. The descent ends on the avalanche scree ‘Plaz’, after which you ski back to Vršič.
Velika Mojstrovka and Župančič’s gorge
Velika Mojstrovka is less visited, probably because it requires a little more effort to climb. It is also slightly higher than its smaller cousin, Mala Mojstrovka, as the summit is located at 2,366 m above sea level, but it offers even better views of all the major Slovenian two-thousand-meter mountain peaks in the Julian Alps. There are several routes leading to the summit.
The ascent up the Župančič gorge requires a bit more mountaineering skills and, just like the ascent up the Mala Mojstrovka, it starts at Vršič and follows the scree in the direction of the Vratca mountain pass, where you turn straight towards the rocks and later right into the Župančič gorge, where you continue all the way to the ridge of the Mala Mojstrovka. Above the first protected section, we turn off towards the basin between the two Mojstrovkas. In a slight ascent, cross the slope below the Velika Mojstrovka wall, continue to the right, and climb to the left of the rock jump to the summit.
Descend southeast, keeping to the left, to reach a small valley descending from Mala Mojstrovka and leading back to the Vratca mountain pass. The descent also ends on the avalanche scree ‘Plaz’, where you slide back to the Vršič Pass.
Tamar Valley and Kot mountain pass (2,300 m)
If you are a beginner or have a family with younger children, the Tamar trail can be one of the best experiences of your holiday.
You don’t need any mountaineering equipment other than ski crampons to get through the valley to the lodge in Tamar. Park at the Planica Nordic Centre and set off on foot, sleds, or ski touring skis along the Tamar Valley towards the Tamar lodge. The trail is moderately steep but well-trodden and fortified with snowmobiles as it is an extremely popular tourist destination. The valley is surrounded by the Ponce mountain range, which offers fascinating views and is well worth the effort. If you want to avoid the crowds, which are quite heavy, especially at weekends, we recommend that you set off in the evening, under a full moon, with headlamps. Dress appropriately due to the low temperatures in the valley. The risk of avalanches is extremely low up to the lodge in Tamar.
The Tamar lodge is open throughout the week in winter. We recommend you try their homemade dishes or refresh yourself with some excellent mulled wine. This is definitely a must-stop or destination on your itinerary.
Kot saddle is a ridge connecting the Jalovec and Mangart mountains. Due to the extremely unstable and avalanche-prone slope, the time to go ski touring from Kot mountain pass is usually in spring, and in more stable conditions also in February and March. The tour starts behind the lodge in Tamar, where you will pass under the walls of Travnik and Šit. The valley we climb becomes steeper and narrower until we arrive just below the magnificent Jalovec mountain, where we turn onto the vast slopes on the eastern side with a great view of the Loška Koritnica alpine valley. Continue along the ridge until the point where it is no longer possible to continue on skis. This is also the final destination of the tour.
The descent from the Kot mountain pass is in the direction of the ascent. Due to the excellent views and the good altitude difference, it is one of the best and most beautiful ski tours in this part of the Julian Alps.