Europe, July/August, May/June, Travel Guide

Guide to Kobarid, Slovenia

Sunday 9 February, 2014
Looking towards Mt Krn. Photo: Klavdij Rakuscek

Looking towards Mt Krn. Photo: Klavdij Rakuscek

WHY GO?
Stunning terrain, grassy meadows, snow-topped mountains, beautiful rivers and easy retrieves.

WHERE IS IT?

WHAT’S IT LIKE?
The town of Kobarid is the epicentre of outdoor sports in Slovenia with accessible launches and some of the best out-and-return flying in the world.

In season ‘parataxi’ shuttles run up to launch – it takes 45 minutes along a gravelly road and costs €12 to reach the main take-off at Stol. Parataxis leave the landing field at around 10am in convoy, but it is possible to go later if there is a group of you. Not many pilots drive up so hitching is almost impossible. The landing field is next to Bar Teja, a social hub of foreign and local pilots in the summer.

After flying Stol during the day, catch a ride with the same parataxi shuttles to the Kobala launch, just 20km down the valley, and fly right through to the evening. Shuttles also pick up pilots from the Kobarid campsites every morning.

FLYING CONDITIONS
This is Alpine flying without the drama of the French Alps. The highest peak in this part of the Julian Alps is a lowly 2,200m.

The landscape varies from forest to pastures and the slopes and peaks provide triggers for technical low flying while cloudbase typically ranges between 2,000-3,000m giving pilots the opportunity to go high and far.

Conditions are rarely turbulent and the climbs are a mellow 2-4m/s. Late July and August is when records are set, with smooth, fat climbs. Stol can give you very nice smooth soaring conditions in the afternoons when there is usually a SW wind.

WHEN TO GO
May, June, July or August give both good flying and a pleasant holiday climate

ALTITUDE
Launch: 1,400m
Landing: 230m
Base: 2,500m

HANG GLIDERS
Slovenia is home to one of the largest HG scenes in Europe and this site is ideal for hang gliders. The shuttles often have HG racks. There’s adequate space for set up, a steep grass runway and a dedicated landing area.

MUST BE FLOWN
Newcomers to XC should find the 20km route from Stol to Tolmin manageable. Stol to Kobala and back is an FAI 55km out-and-return suited to leisure XC pilots. An extended 100km flat triangle version suited to seasoned XC pilots is Stol to Gemona (across the border into Italy), back to Kobala, then return to Stol. When the weather allows, the peak of Krn at 2,244m just 10km away provides stunning views, humbling rock faces and a vantage point from which to head off in any direction.

DANGERS AND ANNOYANCES
Unlike other Alpine sites, the conditions here change slowly, cu-nims rarely take a hold, and perversely, the valley winds go with the flow of the river, not against (as they do everywhere else) but they are usually light. Don’t fly here when the north-east Bora wind blows, instead head to Matajur, which faces north east.

ACCOMMODATION
Private rooms (€15 a night), hotels (€35), and camping (€10) are all available within a short distance of the LZ.

GUIDES AND COURSES
Jelkin Hram is a paragliding residence, shuttle service and school.
UK ex-pat Brett Janaway runs xTc Paragliding.
Camp Gabrje is a pilot-focused campsite a little out of the valley and is a good base of independent pilots.

Independent pilots will be asked to show an IPPI card stage 4.

TAKE THE FAMILY AND RAINY DAYS
White water rafting, hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, vineyard touring, WW1 museums and lively restaurants and bars make this a good place to bring the family. An hour’s drive away are the famous Postojna Jama and Škocjan caves, the biggest accessible cave systems in the world. Venice is two hours away by car.

WEATHER INFO
Stol becomes accessible from late April, as soon as the snow has melted from the track. From that point flying runs through to October. April and May are cooler with stunning views of the mountains as a backdrop. June and July can be hot and prone to stability. Unlike the rest of the Alps you won’t find a huge micro climate here but the central Alps often catch fronts travelling across Europe, keeping Slovenia flyable when many areas aren’t.

Check the weather at www.meteo.si and Meteo Blue.

GETTING THERE
Fly to Trieste in Italy then take a 40-minute train ride to Most na Soči. From there it’s a 20km cab ride to Kobarid.

Alternatively fly to Ljubljana and take a 90-minute coach ride to Kobarid, or travel by train via Bled and Most na Soči. From Venice, Kobarid can be reached by train, but car rental is easier.

CONTACTS
Local club, Adrenalin
Jelkin Hram
XTC paragliding
Camping
Free Flying Association
Tourism info


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