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November 16, 2011

"The Sunny Side of Alps"

by Petra McDowell

Julian Alps, located in Slovenia, a tiny country bordering Austria and Italy, are the southeastern most section of great Alpine arc.  Differing in scenery from the Western Alps, the views of rugged limestone peaks can be enchanting as well as simply jaw-dropping.  A network of trails, various full range traverses, via-ferratas and countless mountaineering routes supported by well run hut system, offer visitors an experience long remembered.

The presentation will start with brief introduction of Slovenia and its culture followed by slideshow discussion of my explorations in the heart of Julian Alps, Triglav National Park, as well as overview of must-do hiking/climbing routes.  It will end with practical information for future visitors to the area.

Petra Pirc McDowell is a native of Slovenia who grew up in Julian Alps.  Being brought up as an alpine ski racer of old-school skiing, her early training involved spending summers in mountain huts, skiing undeveloped avalanche ravines under the big limestone peaks and learning to live in/with nature.

Petra has traveled all over Europe racing for Slovenian National Team and eventually landed in Salt Lake City to ski for University of Utah.  She returns to Slovenia often and spends as much time as possible in the mountains.  Delighted when her husband, Nate McDowell, got awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Slovenia, they lived there for 9 months in 2010 and shared the love of Julian Alps with their children, Hailey Anja and Sasho.

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