Public company Skijalista Srbije will invest 1.5 billion dinars in Kopaonik mountain this year. Most of that money will be spent on equipping of three new tracks, installation of two new ski lifts and relocation of one of the existing, as well as on an upgrade of the artificial snowing system.
In the location of Karaman ridge, instead of current four-seat ski lift, a new six-seat lift will be installed with the capacity of 3,000 skiers per hour. In that way, the capacity will be increased by 600 skiers per hour, while the ski lift will be foldable instead of being fixed. It should be pointed out for the lovers of skiing and this mountain that the starting station of the new ski lift will be moved closer to the starting point of Pancic Express ski lift, which it will resemble. The length of the ski lift is 1,219 meters, it will move at the speed of 5m/sec, which means that the peak will be reached in four minutes.
New fixed ski lift Krst is also being built. Its capacity will be 2,018 skiers per hour and its starting station will be in the zone of the Valley of Sports, while the exit station will be in the vicinity of Krst ski buffet. That job has been entrusted to Austrian Doppelmayr. In addition to aforementioned ski lift, two new ski tracks have also been made. This ski lift 673 meters long will be transporting skiers from the first to the final station in 4.5 minutes.
As people at Skijalista Srbije announced, existing Karaman ridge ski lift, which is only few years old, will be moved to the location of Suncana Dolina (Sunny Valley). This is justified by the fact that the number of skiers and their interest in that popular ski track have grown in the meantime.
New season, old prices?
- All works will be finished prior to December 1 and the ski season can start on that day. I hope that hotel managers will learn the lesson from the last year and lower the prices this year. Our citizens do not need visa any more and can go skiing wherever they want and, if hotel managers lower the prices, I hope that many citizens and foreigners will come to enjoy themselves on Kopaonik because this mountain offers tourists something brand new this winter - said Minister of Economy and Regional Development Mladjan Dinkic. He added that the ski season would not depend any more on weather conditions since the artificial snowing system was covering 70% of the mountain.
An additional upgrade of the system for artificial snowing is planned to be done by the beginning of the season, and the system should cover additional 20 km of tracks.
Skijalista Srbije Director Nebojsa Skoric said that the works were financed partially from loans and partially from the budget. He is of the opinion that the loans will be repaid from the profit of that company, which should grow from year to year.
Aforementioned investments, as Skoric explained, do not concern only the ski infrastructure, but also the public utility one. He said that that area was planned to be connected to the gas system in 2011.
According to Dinkic, the works on a completely new water supply system should commence next year since Kopaonik has always had a problem with water.
Certain number of workers who participate in clearing the terrain and building the new tracks are engaged through the public works programme. Total of 60 workers have been employed, 30 from Raska and 30 from Brus. For realization of the public works programme, for both municipalities, total of RSD 9,067,000 have been approved.
Beside them, the opportunity for employment has also been given to Kraljevo-based Amiga and the workers of water power engineering companies from Cuprija and Smederevska Palanka.
Skiing across the road
According to the words of Skoric, a tendering procedure is underway for selection of the company to deliver the equipment for artificial snowing for Gobelja ski track.
- Having in mind that we also need a new accumulation system for that artificial snowing system, we will not commence the works before spring 2011. Then, 100% of ski tracks on Kopaonik mountain will be covered by artificial snow.
In addition to the fact that the commenced works will be continued next year, another innovation is being prepared for the mountain tourism lovers. As the Minister of Economy and Regional Development announced, the location of Marine Vode will also get a brand new look.
- The plan for the next year is that three new tracks be made in the location of Marine Vode and that 2 or 3 passerelles be built to make it possible for skiers to cross the existing road. That will be the first time in Serbia that skiing across the road is enabled. In that way, the ski track, which is in a very good condition, will be extended and it will get a new four-seat ski lift. A ski lift between ski tracks Gobelja and Jaram is also in the pipeline - Dinkic announced.