Culture, Travel & Sport

Summer skiing? Head to Serbia

Despite record snowfall across much of Europe this winter, the northern hemisphere ski season is currently drawing to an end. While a few high-altitude resorts will remain open until early May, skiers who want to pursue their passion throughout the summer will be left with just a few options: glaciers in France, Switzerland and Austria, which offer skiing 365 days a year, or an expensive trip to South America.

A little-known ski resort in emerging Europe however can also now add its name to the list of summer skiing destinations. Kopaonik, in Serbia, recently unveiled the longest artificial ski slope in Europe, nearly a kilometre in length and served by its own chairlift.

The piste is made of Neveplast, a product used on artificial slopes around the world made of synthetic bristles designed to resemble a similar surface to hardpack groomed snow.

“Neveplast was born with the intent to give everyone the possibility to ski year round, close to urban centers and at very low cost. Neveplast slopes in cities and on the mountain are considered gyms for skiers where novices can learn to ski and snowboard, enthusiasts can practice their preferred discipline, and where the competitive athlete can train exactly like they do on snow,” reads the Italian manufacturer’s website.

The company is also behind a ski track in Jelenia Gora, Poland, used for year-round cross country ski training and a dry slope on the roof of a power plant in Copenhagen, which will open to the public this summer.

Kopaonik is on the border of Serbia and Kosovo, and in winter offers 55km of tree-lined pistes. There are few crowds: the resort is very well designed and the lift system, which has seen investment in recent years, including a new six-seat chair-lift, keeps queues to a minimum. Accommodation is good value, and there is plenty to choose from. Access, however, could be a problem: it’s almost five hours from Belgrade, longer from Podgorica. Prishtina is in theory far closer, but as you are not allowed to cross the border directly from Kosovo to Serbia, you need to go via Montenegro.