Pisoderi Ski Center: Greece’s Best Kept Secret
As winter encroaches on our sun time and the list of entertainment options dwindle, some things stay the same. The birds keep chirping, the flowers grow and on this remote corner of Greece’s northwest, life blooms as surely as the snow is white. And that is exactly what Pisoderi is all about. You’re unlikely to have heard of it, other than some passing reference to Florina, its closest settlement. And that is definitely a good thing. Wedged in between FYROM, Greece and Albania, the Verno mountain overlooks the magnificent Prespes lake to the south.
If you are a nature enthusiast, Lake Prespes ought to satisfy your inner Durrell. There are 9 endemic fish species living in the lake, while the wetlands bring home several bird species on their migratory routes.
Florina itself would be a destination pretty enough to enjoy on its own. The fact that it’s at 15 km from the ski centre is just gravy. The cherry on top is of course, Lake Prespes and its magical aura. Naturally, this is a decidedly rural and agrarian endeavor. Away from pretty much all signs of civilization, you’ll finally be able to hear your own thoughts. And as well you should. Mount Vernos sits at an altitude of 1650 metres. The ski centre boasts 12 ski slopes, of which, a couple are pretty rough. All 12 slopes are Olympic sized. There’s also a chalet at the foot of the track. There are 5 lifts to take you to the various slaloms, including the newly built Oxoia, which is hard and treacherous, and ideal for experienced skiers.
The area around is dotted with mountain hamlets like the lovely Vigla and the homonymous Pisoderi. Acting as a base camp, they are right next to the ski center. They provide the basic amenities like hotels and ski equipment, as well as the ubiquitous taverns. That’s where you’ll come back to for those hearty meals after a day of skiing and hiking.