Sunday, January 9, 2011

Igloo Village Krvavec

It takes a cable car ride up the mountain and a nighttime snowshoe hike to get to the Igloo Village but once there, the adventure truly begins! You're welcomed to the Igloo Village with Eskimcek, or Eskimo shot, at the bar. This is not your average bar – unless you're used to sipping Apfel Strudel (hot apple cider spiked with Malibu) while sitting on a sawn-off tree trunk covered with soft sheepskin. Music is playing in the background, the room is lit with candles, funky figures are etched into the walls, and the bar is one huge ice sculpture.

A short tour reveals a series of igloos connected by a labyrinth of tunnels. A central tunnel links the sleeping area with the bar and igloo restaurant. From the outside the Igloo Village looks like a huge pile of snow with a few entrances. The rest is connected by "underground" corridors. The sleeping area consists of 6 standard individual igloos and the "ice igloo." The ice igloo is decorated with ice sculptures set into the floor and walls and a huge queen size bed covered with isolation material and sheep skins. You also receive a special expedition sleeping bag (-30° C). Temperature in the igloo is between 0 and 4° C.

Next, it's time for snowbiking! A snowbike is a bike with skis instead of wheels. After a short lesson and a few practice runs, we're ready for the couples snowbike competition. You must run up the ski slope with your snowbike, hop on, and make it down the obstacle course without wiping out, hitting, or missing any cones. A knocked over or missed cone automatically adds 30 seconds to your time. Tag your partner and they're off and running. We had some serious competition and ended with a time of 1:33.

All that running and snowbiking leaves everyone starving. It's time for dinner of cheese fondue with bread, meats and vegetables in the igloo restaurant. After dinner, we relax in the bar with a couple bottles of Medot champagne to share amongst everyone.

With the slopes now completely clear of skiers, why not tube down the empty slopes? Our guide held our tube steady as we both climbed on head first. Whoosh! We'd fly down the hill all the way to the bottom of the ski lift, grab the tube and head back up for another run. The whole tubing experience was magical; I felt like a child as I laughed and screamed my way down the trails.

We wound down the night with snowmobiling and then finally relaxing in the sauna. Our igloo guide recommended that after 20 minutes in the sauna, it really increases circulation to take a dive in the snow in just your swimsuit. While Tim did make snow angels, I was nice and toasty (I even warmed up my thermals in the sauna). We zipped our expedition sleeping bags together and climbed in. We were both surprisingly toasty and didn't want to get out of the sleeping bag when the sun began to illuminate the igloo in a blue light in the morning.

After waving goodbye to the igloo village, a hot breakfast is waiting for us at nearby hotel Tiha Dolina. Our igloo adventure was an amazing and fun experience!