Based on the recently published International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism 2018*, 18% of the Slovak population perform skiing or snowboarding, which ranks us 11th worldwide. Slovak skiers and tourist from abroad spend 5 million days on skis per year. In 2000, it was 1 million less.
“The need to see our resorts developing is a very important feedback of our skiers. We are well aware of it, considering also the fact that skiing is one of top sports in our country. And not only because of the success and popularity of Petra Vlhová. Increasing numbers of clients who visit the resorts in the Tatras show it too. There are more and more kids who participate in youth races, the number of ski courses is growing, ski clubs are being more active and have ideal training conditions in the Tatras,” said Dušan Slavkovský, the general manager of the resort of Vysoké Tatry. “However, further development of resorts which are located in the territory of national parks is considerably limited by missing zonation. It needs to be adopted and present clear rules. This is the most important step for the future of the Tatras now,“ added Mr. Slavkovský.
The biggest and most visited Slovak ski resorts are located in the Low and High Tatras and contribute to the development of winter tourism in Slovakia significantly. The resorts of Jasná, Tatranská Lomnica and Štrbské Pleso are built in national parks, which makes it almost impossible to discuss their further development as long as there is no zonation.
A BIG SURVEY AMONG SKIERS: “WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN WITH SKIING IN THE TATRAS?”
When discussing the future of skiing in the Tatras, opinions of skiers were not taken into consideration before. The operator of the biggest resorts in the Tatras, the TMR company used the ski season of 2018/2019 to make a big survey among skiers who were using the services in any of the biggest resorts in winter. The survey was made online via the GOPASS customer programme between 20.1. and 15.3.2019 and joined by 2,539 respondents.
When asked what skiers miss in the Tatras most, the respondents chose the options with more ski pistes (34.3%), more car parks (21.6%) and more modern cableways (11.4%). A better quality of services that has been discussed in social media so often was marked by 11% of people asked. About 9.1% would be happy about a better public transport access to resorts.
When asked which of the resorts in the Tatras needs to develop most, most respondents supported the restoration of the skiing tradition in Starý Smokovec (30%). The development of Štrbské Pleso (26%) and Jasná (25%) were mentioned too. As for Tatranská Lomnica, the respondents are probably aware of terrain limitations that complicate potential enlarging of the resort because this idea was supported by 18% of the people asked.
RESORT OF TATRANSKÁ LOMNICA
The intention to restore the original resort of Jamy and its training pistes for youth and ski schools as well as night skiing has been submitted in Tatranská Lomnica. A car park and a train stop are included in the plan too. The project of a new cableway and a ski piste above the Botanical garden that has already been approved in the past is topical again. Both suggestions would help spread skiers on a larger area and improve traffic in Tatranská Lomnica. 61% of the respondents think that Tatranská Lomnica needs to develop urgently. 10% are satisfied with the current situation.
RESORT OF ŠTRBSKÉ PLESO
A plan to build 6 new ski pistes with the total length of 4 km, a park-and-ride lot, a restaurant and a new snowmaking reservoir in Štrbské Pleso has been submitted. The plan includes 3 new cableways that would transport skiers not only to the central car park but also to the railway station and the bus station. 64% of the respondents think such resort development is inevitable and they support it. Only 10% are satisfied with the way it is now.
RESORT OF STARÝ SMOKOVEC / HREBIENOK
The intention to restore the ski resort of Starý Smokovec has been submitted along with the plan to connect it via a cableway with the resort of Tatranská Lomnica, which would make both resorts more attractive and help solve the traffic situation. The resort which is meant mainly for families with children should offer enough blue pistes and cableways, a ski school for kids and a new sledging track and a cross-country skiing track. The locality that hosted the World Cup in the past should be upgraded with a snowmaking reservoir and new car parks. The restoration of the ski resort in Smokovce was supported by 65% of the respondents. 10% are satisfied with the current situation. Almost 19% of the respondents could not express their opinion. Only 6% think that skiing does not need to be restored in Smokovce and it is enough to solve the traffic situation in the area.
RESORT OF JASNÁ NÍZKE TATRY
A new ski piste – no. 15 Luková – Otupné and a new snowmaking reservoir are planned in the most visited Slovak ski resort – Jasná. The TWINLINER funicular has been problematic for long and that is why a new cableway was suggested 4 years ago to operate to the area of Priehyba and replace Twinliner in all respects. The mentioned development activities were supported by 62% of the respondents, 18% suggest that traffic problems should be solved in Jasná. 12% of the respondents are satisfied with the existing situation.
Tatry mountain resorts, a.s. (TMR) is the leader in tourism in Central and Eastern Europe; it owns and operates attractive mountain resorts, amusement parks, restaurant facilities, sports services, shops and hotels. In the Low Tatras TMR owns and operates the resort Jasná Nízke Tatry and hotels Wellness hotel Grand Jasná, Boutique Hotel Tri Studničky, Chalets Jasná De Luxe, Hotel Srdiečko, and Hotel Rotunda. TMR is also the owner of Aquapark Tatralandia, the largest Slovak aquapark with year-round operation, which besides water entertainment includes Tropical Paradise, a special tropical indoor hall with sea water, as well as Fun Park, and accommodation in bungalows and apartments of Holiday Village Tatralandia. In the High Tatras TMR owns and operates the resort Vysoké Tatry with mountain areas of Tatranská Lomnica, Starý Smokovec, and Štrbské Pleso, which TMR co-manages. In the High Tatras TMR also owns hotels Grandhotel Praha Tatranská Lomnica, Grandhotel Starý Smokovec, Hotel FIS Štrbské Pleso and Mountain hotel Hrebienok. TMR also owns a 9.5 % share in Melida, a.s., which leases and operates the resort Špindlerův Mlýn in the Czech Republic. TMR also leases and operates the ski resort Ještěd. In Poland TMR owns a 97% share in the mountain resort Szczyrkowski Ośrodek Narciarski S.A. (SON), a 75% share in a company that owns and operates Silesian Amusement Park (Śląskie Wesołe Miasteczko) and a 7.3% share in an amusement-educational project via the Polish company Korona Ziemi Sp. z.o.o. TMR also owns and leases hotels Slovakia, Kosodrevina, Liptov and Ski&Fun Záhradky a Bungalovy to third parties. By the end of 2017, more than EUR 300 mil. had been invested into development and modernisation of TMR’s resorts. TMR shares are traded on three European stock exchanges – in Bratislava, Prague, and Warsaw.