“The only thing worse than a weekend is a holiday” is a popular saying among fathers of young children, especially before the kids turn two, and we have to admit there is a grain of truth in it. If you decide to go for fatherhood at a more mature age and are not one of those supermen who can successfully juggle all the various aspects of their life with a permanent smile on their face, I am sure you will quietly agree. It can get hard. Parents need that special shot of hormones to bond better with little children and make a connection before they start asking for balls, Barbie dolls and toy cars. Unfortunately men do not get those at childbirth, so we tend to find it more difficult to handle the little screamers.
But things soon turn for the better and the more kids start to get involved in the activities of their parents, the easier things go. So Tinca and I decided to put our dear daughters Mija and Ula on skis at a very early age. We started with plastic ones for lumbering around the apartment, transferred to Hello Kitty and finally graduated to Elan skis. Before the kids got their parallel turns fully dialed, we simply had to take them into deep snow. So we put them on touring skis (Mom, why does my heel go up and down?) and went for a “thki tour”, as 4-year Mija puts it. Ula has lost her right to classic Alpine skis, now it’s just kids’ Ripsticks. One for all! Mija is still too small to skin on her own, so we had to invent an infinite human powered ski lift that moves along with her. This gave us a new winter playground that we simply cannot get enough of and it has been keeping us happy ever since, with the occasional hiccup in the form of crust or wet snow.
Since we are a seasoned camper van family, we decided to expand our usual repertoire of summer travels with a winter ski touring adventure. We started small, with a weekend in Jezersko, for me one of the most beautiful parts of the Slovenian mountains. With all its natural beauty and true winter conditions (it is one of the coldest places in the country), Jezersko is the perfect playground for all types of winter and mountain sports, cross country skiing, sledding, ice climbing and ski touring. In early winter the places to go include Goli Vrh, the slopes of Pristovški Storžič and Virnikov Grintavec and further up towards the Košuta ridge. Later in spring the snow settles enough to enable access to higher ski areas around Ledinski Vrh, Skuta, Grintavec and Kočna. The best destination for a family with tiny ski tourers were the pastures below Pristovški Storžič. The gentle slopes and spectacular view of the wild beauty of the Grintavci range in the background made for the perfect setting. Of course there was a bit more to it then a simple ski tour with a friend. The “I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, it’s hot, it’s cold, I’m tired, are we there yet...” kept coming strong all day long. But in the end the effort paid off. All the girls could say before they drifted off to sleep as we drove to our next destination was: “It was a beautiful day”.
Traveling by camper van is a magical experience for kids of all ages and winter just makes it that much more special. It is certainly a beautiful and complex experience. Try it!
Tina Di Batista, IFMGA mountain guide
Tomaž Jakofčič, IFMGA mountain guide