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Wild winter wellbeing in Slovenia

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

"Serenity, calm and peace surround us as we snowshoe slowly through the fresh white forests. Every now and again tracks appear from out of the trees, crossing in front of our own. A hare, followed by a fox, evading and hunting, their stories told through the snow, left for us to decipher...."

We stop and gather small dry, cracking twigs for our stove, melting snow to make tea and finding our own quiet places to reflect, write, draw or simply listen. Sound is different here, with the snow absorbing almost everything, except the occasional calls from woodpeckers, and the hardiest small birds that stay throughout the winter.

We know the way ahead is un-travelled since this last snow settled, there are no traces except our own and the animals around us.

As we walk, we are reminded of the feeling of looking out the window and seeing snowflakes begin to drift gently by, hoping they would stick. Or excitedly dragging a sledge up your nearest hill and whooping down until the snow starts to melt away. The anticipation of a school - or even a work - snow day, filling the air with palpable excitement. These small moments of winter nostalgia contribute to our childlike delight, here in this blanket of deep, perfect snow.

Soon we emerge at a clearing, with shepherds huts scattering the plateau and the mountains are quietly revealed in all their awe, inspiring joy as we marvel in wonder together. The alpine meadows are hidden way below our feet, where life still continues through the secret tunnels of voles and mice, as we cross the snow’s surface.

"Working together, we move as a team, with each step helping the person behind, building friendships through our act of collaborative walking. It would be almost impossible alone, but together, we move, swapping places where needed and sharing the benefits of our own steps..."

Arriving at a welcoming alpine hut, we bring a burst of cold freshness into the room, as we glow and warm by the fire. There have been some challenges, of course, but we share them together over a comforting meal, returning outside only to experience the ephemeral Alpenglow rewarded to those who stay, as the sun sets, we take refuge, until tomorrow...

Connecting with nature

This coveted time, spent in the snow, invites us to connect with nature, ourselves and each other, embracing the positive impact winter can have on our wellbeing.

Snow reduces ambient noise by up to 60%, which is known to encourage feelings of serenity and connectedness.

Although overall noise is reduced, immediate natural sounds are in fact enhanced, enabling us to connect with nature more directly than at other times of year.

This doesn’t just relate to sounds but also presence, when we can see and follow animal tracks and traces in the snow, we can tell their stories and understand their journey’s in ways that are hard to access once the snow melts.

Snowshoeing is also an incredibly mindful activity, requiring togetherness and synchronisation with both ourselves and others in our collective journey.

Breaking fresh trails, enables us to reflect on our route choices and decisions in ways that are totally different to snow-free environments, connecting with the dynamics of snow and our surrounding conditions fully and sensitively, bringing flexibility of goals, acceptance and gratitude to all that we do.

Moving slowly

It is estimated that the first snowshoes were created 4000-6000 years ago and were made from wood, woven baskets and sometimes fur.

Although modern snowshoes are mostly made from plastic and aluminium - although some still prefer traditionally crafted shoes - journeying using the ancient method allows us to connect with the historic inhabitants of these snow-covered places.

"Embarking on Wild Winter Slovenia does not require any special skills or prior experience, and the techniques needed are simple to learn. We will spend time together, slowly building our skills, with kindness, encouragement and fun, with the pace of learning adjusted to ensure the whole group is enabled to enjoy the full experience."

Our route will take us through historic, pristine alpine pastures, with their characteristic shepherds’ huts, through peaceful valleys and into Triglav National Park’s largest forested area, Pokljuka.

Along the way we will experience comfortable hotels, with sauna’s, ice-rooms and a touch of luxury for our first and last nights’, alongside simple, cosy and traditional mountain cottages, where the alpine spirit of Slovenia makes its home.

"There truly is no better way to experience this impressive plateau formed in the last ice age, when winter transforms it into a spectacular wild winter landscape."

The magic of Slovenia...

To learn more about the trip you can visit our Wild Winter Slovenia page here:

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