Hvar Skiing from the Peak to the Beach of Europe’s Sunniest Island

Total Croatia News

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A|l photos copyright Miro Stec, apart from Jelsa by Miranda Milicic Bradbury

January 3, 2019 – Hvar skiing? Yes really. The hotels allegedly offer a free stay if it snows, and some ski from the peak to the beach.

Having lived on the edge of Siberia in temperatures as low as -32 C, I was already very used to snow. Unlike many residents on Hvar, where the island’s famous temperate climate seemed to keep the snow at bay while other islands were covered in white powder. 

But I was shocked (not as much as the locals!) when I woke up this morning seven years ago. The alarm had gone off early, as we were hosting the first Hvar Business Breakfast at Hotel Riva in Hvar Town. This was an attempt to bring the bigger Hvar businesses together for better promotion, and most of the big guys said they would attend, so it was an important event. 

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And when I got out of bed, I saw this through the window! I had NEVER seen Jelsa anything close to that. There was just enough time for my wife Miranda to take this great shot and then we all huddled into the Jeep. 

It was a good job that we were in a Jeep with its four-wheel drive, for there was no chance that a regular car could pass the main road from Jelsa to Hvar. We were slipping everywhere until we went into four-wheel-drive. The three of us were incredulous as we drove slowly – never had we seen Hvar like this. The sunniest island in the world. Didn’t the hotels offer a free stay if it snowed? 

I always thought this was a neat marketing gimmick. Snow is only likely in January or February, when there are almost no tourists. I did check with the hotel PR department later, and they informed me that yes indeed guests do get a free night, but only if it has been snowing during the previous seven of their stay… not quite the same thing. 

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And then, just when I thought it could not get any crazier, we watched open-mouthed as a snow plow came the other way, clearing the snow from the road. A snow plough on Hvar! We are all too amazed to take a photo, and the moment was gone. It was only later that I learned that Hvar has a permanent snow plough on the island, owned by Croatian Roads, and the driver makes the pizzas in Vrbanj. Being a snow plough driver on the sunniest island in Europe must be akin to the workload of Santa Claus.

But the big story of the day was taking place far above us… 

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Freak conditions bring out different reactions in different people, and such a snow bonanza on an island totally unused to snow could mean only one thing – Hvar skiing. 

Photographed by Miro Stec, Jovito and Berti Vrankovic fetched their skis and headed to the Kolumbic ranch close to the Sveti Nikola peak of Hvar. To go skiing on Hvar would be pretty cool indeed, but to do what these guys planned was infinitely cooler. 

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For the Vrankovic boys skied all the way from the peak, right down to the beach at one of Dalmatia’s favourite beaches, Dubovica. 

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Miro took these snaps of them on their unique 5 km journey. 

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It was not long before they were picked up first by the national, and then by the international media. Visit the Cliffbase site for the original post. Hvar skiing was a hit!

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The Hvar skiing of 2012 was not a one-off, however. The winter of 2005 also provided another great skiing opportunity. Here is the first free ski ride Gospa od Zdravlja ( close to Sveti Nikola) – Sveta Nedjelja church, made by Miroslav Stec.

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Spectacular pictures on a normal trademark sunny day, but the sight of the famous Sveta Nedjelja vineyards under snow adds a little extra. 

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Skiing is of course not the main sport on Hvar, and Sveta Nedjelja is one of the top destinations on the island for rock climbing. Miro and his Cliffbase team have been busy creating a sensational addition to the rock-climbing scene, and we will present Ferrata Via Avalon later this week. 

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