Thankfully the drive to meet Peter Kollár at his hometown of Žilina was a much shorter affair then the two previous marathons. My Four Countries in Four Days Ski Tour was a really cool idea, but being solo, the driving distances took its toll on me for sure.
The wrap-up for my trek was to be the Soul Slide Telemark Party, the brainchild of my hosts Peter Kollár and his lovely wife Eva Kollárová. This year’s edition would take place at the Slovak ski station of Kubínska Hol’a.
We had our rendezvous in the parking lot of a Lidl, the ubiquitous Euro supermarket chain. Soon we were at his smart apartment where Eva whipped up a delicious light meal. Pivo’s, a couple of shots, and wine rounded things out nicely.
Later, Peter suggested he and I head down to visit his local downstairs bar located conveniently in his apartment building. One of the best parts of ski travel being situations just like this: sitting down and imbibing an unfamiliar brew while connecting with residents, trying to learn a little bit about them, to try and get to know even a small slice of their lives. Doing so in a funky local bar is best of all.
But, once back upstairs I had trouble sleeping, tossing and turning all night. Dazed, I woke, run down, worked, and with a wicked flu.
The original plan was to ski Jasna, the popular Slovakian ski area, but Peter read the situation and suggested we go straight to the Tele Party location of Kubínska Hol’a so I could check into our slope side accommodation at the newly constructed Green Hotel.
Once there, I crashed hard till the afternoon but was able to rally to get a few runs in towards the end of the day. The cool wind and overcast felt good on my overheated body.
Immediately I met Matvej Matvejcic and his daughter. Matvej, an awesome stylish skier, was an old friend of my funhog ski bro Mario Garella, the Lone Telemarker. So we skied together and shot photos next to the beautiful ghost trees that lined the pistes of Kubínska Hol’a.
The conditions were great but blustery cold up towards the top – riding the low-slung poma’s a welcome way to travel uphill.
Back down at the base restaurant, I started meeting the incoming tribe ready for the lively, cheerful vibe that goes hand in hand with tele fests around the world.
My old Italian bro, the Lone Telemarker showed up with his ski partner and colleague at The Hague European Patent Office, Fredrik Aslund. They drove in with a third friend, all the way from the Netherlands. Talk about committed telemarkers!
The tele party started that night at the comfy Green Hotel with obligatory ski films, camaraderie, joviality, and booze. I met a cast of characters, all telemark devotees.
Knowing the next day would be big and needing to feel better, I called it an early night, retired to bed and watched Lance Armstrong’s Oprah confessional live on my iPhone. It was strange to see this in Slovakia at 3am. Lance is a dick.
Cold and snowing a bit, I met Matvej and daughter and we made our first runs together. The crew – in traditional woolen dress, were curtsy turning, having a blast. I spied Peter giving an on-snow interview for Slovak Television. It was all happening. After a bit of a break I hooked up with the Patent Office crew.
Mario knew a line so we followed him into the ghost trees – great skiing here, just fantastic.
Down at the base, Peter had it all going on: ski testing, beers, dancing, shots, and food consuming. It was a Telemark Party Slovak-style. And what style it was…
This year, Peter’s Soul Slide Telemark Party will be from the 24th to the 26th of January 2014, once again at Kubínska Hol’a.
Peter really tries to model his Party after the raddest Tele-Fest of all: La Skieda. If at all possible, especially to all my Italian tele buddies, I would highly recommend attending this awesome fest in an Exotic Ski Land!!!
Get on it!