Whether one ascends or descends the breathtaking mountainous landscape on foot and skis or feels the body come alive floating in the region’s warm geothermal waters, the High and Low Tatras is the perfect place to cleanse, unwind and get back to nature. This year the region’s capital ‘Poprad’ is one of the European cities of sport for 2023
Where else can you view brown bears in the wild, stay in a two-room hotel next to a solar high-altitude observatory at the top of a 2,634m summit, walk inside the Tatra Ice Dome in between an ice sculpture depicting the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, witness the last-working mountain sherpas of Europe carrying supplies up to huts, or ski on the same slopes as the world and Olympic champion Petra Vlhová?
Petra Vlhová’s story reads like a Hollywood movie script, ‘hometown girl skies to victory on the very slopes where she learned to ski as a child, before going on to become the Alpine World Cup Ski champion’ and Olympic Gold medallist in Beijing.
Well, this is not fiction but the true story of this Slovak winter sports sensation, who made history by becoming the first person in Slovakia to win the overall Alpine Ski World Cup title.
As she lifted the ‘Crystal Globe World Championship trophy, Vlhova told the press:
“I won also for my country. It means a lot”.
She is an incredible role model for Slovakia and fiercely proud of her Liptovsky Mikulas origins and the mountainous region of her birth which set her skiing from an early age and she has never looked back.
She also stated in a recent interview: “It’s impossible to describe my feelings by words. Returning to Liptovsky Mikulas always warms my heart, especially after being away for a longer period. There is only one home – and for me, it’s Liptovsky Mikulas and the spectacular Liptov region.”
The lofty peaks of the Carpathian Mountain range, which start to rise in the westernmost part of Slovakia and reach their zenith in the High & Low Tatras, should be on everyone’s bucket list regardless of which season one decides to travel, yet winter is truly magical. The region holds the unofficial title of ‘The roof of Central Europe’.
What is certain is that Vlhova sets a great example, whether consciously or subconsciously, of being able to truly enjoy nature in a sustainable way and this of course prompts and promotes others to follow in her footsteps.
Petra Vlhova is a history maker in her discipline, her achievements transcend sport by also raising awareness of health, wellness, and sustainability in general, but more specifically for her hometown region of Liptov, the neighboring High Tatras, and the rest of Slovakia.
The Tatras offer the ideal, natural opportunities for winter sports, and yet if you ask most skiers where they tend to go for their annual ski break, the western Alps dominate – France, Austria, and Switzerland being their go-to destinations.
However, by expanding their ski horizons just a little further east towards Slovakia, they may well be pleasantly surprised by the ease of access, well-groomed slopes equipped with snow cannons, and value for money, even though there are geothermal waters to bathe in.