Kopaonik, Serbia

Photo: MK Mountain Resort

November is right around the corner. That means one of your favorite seasons is quickly approaching. It’s not the holiday season. Family gatherings are sometimes more trouble than they’re worth. It’s not winter either. You’d usually take any of the other three over this cold, dark one. It does bring snow, though. The ski season can’t begin without it.

You usually stay local at the beginning of the ski season. Sugarbush in Vermont. Sugarloaf in Maine. Whiteface in New York. But those mountains seem to be opening later and later thanks to global warming. So you’re looking farther—a lot farther—away this year. You want guaranteed snow, sunny days, and few crowds.

So you’re heading to Serbia. Yes, Serbia. The Balkan country is known for its long, cold winters. Snow arrives early here. The top of Kopaonik, the country’s largest mountain range, is already covered. Snow showers and snow-making equipment will quickly fill in the slopes and blanket the Balkan beeches that line them. Its ski resort, also called Kopaonik, is one of the largest and most modern in Southeast Europe. Plus a cozy lodge is just steps from Malo Jezero, a lift that lights up for night skiing.

That lodge is the Grand Hotel & Spa. Its minimal rooms have lots of wood, including wide floorboards, simple furniture, and tree motifs. Its relaxing spa offers Finnish and infrared saunas, an ice salt cave, a Russian bath, and an outdoor jacuzzi pool. Hearty meals—beef carpaccio with black truffles, homemade pappardelle with Kopaonik porcini, and grilled trout—are served in the Garden restaurant. While the Forest Bar serves coffee and wine by an open fireplace. A view of the slopes is included, of course. Let it snow.

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