History of skimo events
in the Low Tatras

   The history of ski mountaineering races in the Low Tatras began in the 1930s. In 1934, the first races were held on the slopes of Ďumbier in the area of the M. R. Štefánik´s Hut. The "Grand Prix of Ďumbier" races were held in downhill and giant slalom. The competitors had to carry their skis to the starting point on their shoulders or tied to a backpack. It was not yet a race in today's understanding of ski mountaineering, but racing on the slopes of the Low Tatras has permanently taken root here.

   Only much later (1973) Ing. arch. Milan Marenčák drew the attention of the then ski mountaineering community to the suitable terrains of the northern side of Ďumbier. Skiing on steep and exposed terrains was slowly gaining a foothold in our country, and so Milan Marenčák's vision gradually took on the concrete form of a race.

   The first ski mountaineering race in the Low Tatras on Ďumbier took place on 18-20 March 1977. Their organizer was the climbing section TJ Lokomotíva Banská Bystrica and the main organizers of the preparation and implementation of the race were brothers Stano and Vlado Melek.

   The race was a two-day race, consisting of two stages, which included a giant slalom of teams marked by time gates. The competitors spent the night in bivouacs, which each team prepared after the first stage in the vicinity of M. R. Štefánik's hut. A sleeping bag for bivouacking, climbing rope, crampons, ice axe and first aid kit were part of the compulsory equipment and were carried throughout the race. The race was run in teams of three people in a rally system for a set time limit. Teams lost or gained points for not meeting the time limit, for bivouac and slalom placings, which then decided the overall standings. 

   The races on Ďumbier and gradually other races in other mountains of Slovakia introduced a new sport discipline called "ski mountaineering". The sports public got acquainted with this sport quite quickly, from year to year there were more and more active ski mountaineers, but the biggest development was recorded only since the nineties, when it was already possible to buy complete ski mountaineering equipment in our shops.

   The area of Ďumbier and actually the whole central part of the Low Tatras belongs to very popular skimo routes in Slovakia with a lot of ascents and descents of different difficulty categories.


Stanislav Melek, www.pribehzvanyskialpinizmus.sk
Photos and documents: archive Stanislav Melek ©

Panorama of Ďumbier, Chopok and Dereše with the M. R. Štefánik´s Hut
Slalom in Mlynná dolina in 1934
Map of the first ski mountaineering race Ďumbier 1977
Part of the route of the first ski mountaineering race through the northern cirques of Ďumbier in Bystrá and Ludárová valley
Start of the first three-member team of the ski mountaineering race Ďumbier 1977
Ascent of the three-member team along the eastern ridge to Štiavnica