Situated on the Šar Mountain about 40 km from the capital Skopje, Popova Šapka is one of the most popular winter ski resorts in Macedonia covering the area of 35km. Ski slopes start at about 1700 meters with a maximum vertical drop of 1400m. Most ski slopes are above the tree line and the mountain is wide and more oval than the steep Alps so it is great for all levels of skiers. Both drag and chair lifts are available at the resorts (6 alltogether) and they are not of the newest kind so be prepared for old school slow-lifting. But don’t decide yet this is not for you!
Popova Šapka might not have the most state of the art lifts, but they have something no one else in Europe has, the Eskimo Snowcat Freeriding (first European Snowcat freeriding operation). They will take you up to 2600 m for the ultimate back-country skiing and snowboarding experience. They offer “wide open terrains, tree riding, couloirs, cliffs, banks, natural pipe canyons placed on total of 32 square kilometers. From adrenaline rides down the 50° “bowl” ride, or chilling in a safe fluffy 30° rides. So you can have a blast either being a pro or handling those intermediate resort slopes, and ( ) magic world of freeriding…”
If heliski is way out of your budget this just might be the solution for you. Even if they call it a “poor mans heliski” it is much more versatile, less dependent on weather conditions and more eco-friendly.
If you love good wine, want to have great food, and enjoy incredible nature for a reasonable amount of money this place is a great choice.
Useful to know:
Places to eat: Snow Patrol Lodge, Army restaurant, Monastery restaurant
Foods to taste: Gravče tavče (oven baked beans), Biberke (hot green peppers with garlic), Sirenje (local sheep cheese)
Wine: T’ga za Jug, Vranac
And to warm up your soul after a day of winter fun: Rakija (homemade alcoholic drink made of distilled fruits)
What about you? Are you more of an adventure skier, or you’d rather take it easy on the marked slopes and relax in the sauna in the hotel afterwords?