Saturday, February 10, 2024
Albania skiing with goats and chicken
Topped off my 2023 by skiing in Albania. A bit early season... but friendly people, great restaurant, beautiful scenery. and lots of other skiers on the slopes with goatees and fresh eggs. Ski Pista Bigell, in Dardhe, near Korcë.
The ski area is bigger than the pictures show, due to lack of snow only the "RC Courchevel" magic carpet lift was running. Lift ticket was 10 euros, not sure how long I could have skied with that. But there was unlimited hike-up-by-yourself options.
It was not easy getting here. I mean it was easy to get here once we knew where we were going. But ... it was not easy to figure out if there were ski areas in Albania, and if so, if they were open. Skiresort.info has a nice list of ski resorts for each country. Their list of Albanian ski resorts is odd, though. Bigëll – Dardhë is the only one they have some actual information on. The other possible resorts are just listed but without any information, along with a note "Unfortunately, we do not have any detailed information about this ski resort". I googled all of them for quite some time, but could find nothing. Ski Pista Bigell, however, friendly answered phone, spoke perfect English, and said they were open! They did apologize for having only the training lift open, though, given lack of snow. Well, it was early season (December) so that's to be expected.
I was so happy that there was a slope, and that it was within a reasonable driving distance.
As an aside, this and my previous day's skiing in Mavrovo, North Macedonia puts my country count to 64 I think. What I'm missing within Europe is Moldova, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Kosovo, Gibraltar, and ... the Vatican but I could be missing some micronations. Principality of Sealand? And anybody have connections to the Vatican, I heard it goes up pretty high?
Mavrovo was great, by the way. The only place in Macedonia that was open, but a ton of fun and they had plenty of snow. Other areas like Popova Shapka seemed even bigger and interesting but were not open yet. See the other article for more details!
More pictures, starting with the lift:
The ski lodge:
Goats and chicken:
The view of the goats, with the ski lodge and lift behind: