| ||ACTIVITIES and EVENTS|
Skiing is by far the most popular sport in Slovenia, and every fourth Slovene is an active skier. There are well-equipped ski resorts in the Julian Alps, especially at Vogel, which has impressive ski runs overlooking the Bohinj Valley. The ski season lasts from December to March.
Hiking is almost as popular as skiing. There are 7000km (4340mi) of marked hiking trails and 165 mountain huts - which is quite considerable for such a small country. The full grandeur of the Julian Alps can be experienced in Triglav National Park at Bohinj. Veteran mountaineers should tramp the Slovenian Alpine Trail, which crosses all the highest peaks in the country.
There's excellent rough and tumble white-water rafting on the Soca River; the town of Bovec makes a good starting point. The uncrowded roads around Bled, Bohinj and Otocec beg to be bicycled.
The International Summer Festival is the nation's premier cultural celebration, featuring music, theatre and dance performances in Ljubljana and Bled during the months of July and August. Maribor's Lent Festival, in late June or early July, celebrates foklore, culture and music. The Cows' Ball (Kravji Bal) in Bohinj is a kitschy weekend of eating, drinking and folk dancing in mid-September to mark the return of the cows to the valleys from their high pastures. It doesn't get any more Slovenian than this.
January and March bring ski competitions - the January Women's World Cup Slalom and Giant Slalom Competition is one of the major ski events for women, held on the slopes southwest of Maribor. In March, the Ski Jumping World Championships host three days of high flying in Planica. In between the two, there's a rite of spring called Kurentovanje, held every February for 10 days up to Shrove Tuesday. This is the most popular Mardi Gras celebration in Slovenia; most of the festivities are centered in and around Ptuj.
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