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After a break of two years, a group of us decided it was time to reach for the snowboards again for a weekend in Chopok, Slovakia. This was my first time in Slovakia, and after snowboarding in Korbielow and Zakopane in Poland a few years back, I was expecting something very similar with regards to infrastructure on the slopes. So I was pleasantly surprised by the gondolas and chairlifts that we found and the carefully groomed pistes. There has obviously been considerable investment here and we will definately be returning.

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It felt really good to get back on the board and into the high altitude fresh air again. Since my last boarding week in Austria, I have lost a little weight and have been visiting the gym regularly which clearly paid off through my lack of aches and pains after 2 1/2 days of continuous activity. I shall keep this up now that I have experienced the difference it makes!

The weather was fantastic on the first day and the views clear from the top. After this, unfortunately the top became a howling snowstorm for the remaining two days which proved interesting when leaving the shelter of the gondola station! Being blown down the slope before getting a chance to get your snowboard attached is a very disconcerting feeling! Still, it boosted the belief that we were ‘hardcore’ boarders, even if we were all terrified for the first few hundred metres down the piste. Needless to say, once a day at the top was sufficient. I’m glad we made it to the top when the skies were clear on the first day – the views were spectacular…

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Temperatures dropped to -10C yesterday which was fine, but it did numb the face somewhat after 20 minutes of fast downhill boarding. The only reasonable way to warm up at the bottom was with a varené víno – a glass of hot wine. The downside was that too many of these, and either you became too courageous on the slopes, or started to lose concentration and ended up face-planting on the ice. The latter happened to two of our party who came home with very sore ribs!

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We stayed at the Via Jasna Apartments about 9km from the ski lifts. The hotel was very nice with a spa on the -1 level which had a variety of saunas and steam rooms, as well as a large 8 person jacuzzi. Perfect after a full day of fresh air and exercise. If you don’t mind the drive and leaving early (around 07:50) to get a parking place, I can recommend this as a base. We rented an 8 person apartment for ca. €350 for 3 nights incl. breakfast. Here is a map of the main ski area to give you some idea of the variety of slopes – not the Alps, but ideal for a boys weekend away!

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