Slovakia for Skiing

Not quite as gung-ho as her older sister Imogen (aged five), who first tried skiing a couple of years ago, Scarlett, we sense, needs conditions to be on her side in order to enjoy the experience.After a super-quick, half-hour taxi transfer from the airport and a good night’s sleep in a decent-sized room (with kids’ beds slotted in beside our double), we gorge ourselves on the excellent hotel breakfast buffet at the 4* Hotel Grand, before embarking on the time-consuming task of getting four of us into our gear, ready to go to the ski hire before ski school. Ski boots on and skis at the ready (impressively good equipment), and after some humorous moments in slippy ski boots on snow, we get the girls to ski school just about on time for their group lesson, and rush off to make use of our two hours of skiing for the day.Reports from the girls are luke-warm after their first lesson, due to a fairly large class and no one else speaking English. We quickly book great-value private lessons for the rest of the week, reckoning it’s worth the investment to make sure the girls catch the skiing bug. And they don’t look back…

Slovakia for Skiing Photo Gallery



OFF-SLOPE FUN

But our holiday isn’t just about skiing- in fact, it’s an all-round fun winter holiday. A trip to this neck of the woods definitely warrants a visit to one of the mind- bogglingly gigantic aqua parks in the area- the closest being a 20-minute taxi drive away. Tatralandia aquapark ( ) boasts an artificial surf wave and a swimming pool where you can dive under the water to see fish in tanks, aquarium- style, plus a wellness centre, cafes and bars, athermal pool, waterslides and pools with kids’ play parks in them. Another aquapark within striking distance is Gino Paradise ( ), which has tatralandia.sk gino paradise.skno less than five outdoor thermal pools, including one with a bar in the middle, plus other similar facilities to Tatralandia. You can imagine the fun the kids have! If you don’t have the energy for this, the hotel’s pool, outdoor hot tub and sauna are perfect to help revitalise tired legs.We also enjoy a walk on the picturesque path that winds around the little lake behind the hotel and build a snowman – something we’ve failed to do in our hometown London in recent years, due to lack of snow, but so magical for the kids.And you can’t beat an atmospheric ride in a piste basher up the mountain in the dark to a restaurant for top-notch dinner at the upmarket Von Roll restaurant that sits by the ski runs at 1,670m.Another must-do activity is the hour-long tour of the vast Demanovska Cave of Liberty (an enormous 1,800m of which is open to the public) at Slobody, 10 minutes’ bus ride away from our hotel, which is awe-inspiring. We imagine it as a magical underground fairy world as we go round.Even a trip up in the gondola for lunch on the mountain proves a hit with the girls, and we find we’re not wincing with pain at the price of it – food and drink in resort is roughly on a par with London prices, and beer is very cheap!

SLOPING OFF

So how much skiing do we adults get? There’s a bit of a lack of childcare where kids can be dropped off and left, but we’ve heard the resort is on the case with getting this sorted, which would give parents of young kids a bit more skiing time. Or you could go with friends and take it in turns. My husband sneaks out one morning for a few runs while the girls enjoy a craft session in the excellent kids’ play area at the hotel. And I get up early one morning to do the ‘Fresh track’, where you buy a special ticket to ski certain runs before most of the lifts are open. I feel quite smug being back in time for breakfast in the hotel after speeding down empty corduroy pistes, though you can have breakfast up the mountain as part of the deal.But give it a year or so and the tables will have turned. The kids will be whizzing past us on the slopes and we’ll be struggling to last the pace! So I’m going to cling on to those precious memories of our little ones experiencing the wonder of all things snowy. ‘But mummy, how can every single snowflake be different?’ Imogen keeps asking, trying desperately to imagine this amazing feat of nature.

FACT FILE

Six nights in a double room at the Hotel Grand Jasnâ costs from around 851 euros B&B in January; grand jasna.sk.

We flew with Wizzair (wizzair. com) from London Luton to Poprad Tatry. Tickets cost from £36.99 one-way.

Taxi to resort costs around £30pp.

An adult six-day lift pass costs from 178 euros.

Visit jasna.sk and visitliptov.sk/en for more info.

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