A true winter wonderland could be experienced this weekend at the Bjelasnica mountain, located 25 km southwest of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) capital Sarajevo, providing perfect conditions for winter sports reminiscent on 1984 Winter Olympics.
This weekend saw some 8,000 winter sports lovers who engaged in skiing, sledding, snowboarding, hiking and walking in the usual winter holiday atmosphere on Bjelasnica.
For 69-year-old Amir Mulic, skiing has been a companion and a true friend since his wife passed away 15 years ago. He starts his emotional story by remembering on the 1984 Winter Olympics that were held in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, the first Winter Olympics held in a Communist state.
“The time during the Winter Olympics were golden times, I remember skiing with my lovely wife Mara, we enjoyed so much because the organization of Olympics was brought to perfection,” Mulic started his story.
Bjelasnica Mountain, especially the ski trail named Babin Do, has a special place in Mulic’s heart because that is the place where he met his deceased wife for the first time and ever since, he comes to ski every two weeks during the winter season.
In the last couple of years, skiing became a favourite hobby for Mulic, his three sons and 5 grandchildren. Mulic’s family is one among numerus families that spend their free time on Bjelasnica mountain, far away from pollution and traffic jams.
That Olympics’ spirit is still alive proves the eagerness of Canton Sarajevo authorities to modernize the equipment with 16 million KM (9.84 million U.S. dollars) and expand offer that will attract hundreds of thousands of tourists to this BiH’s beauty.
Increase in tourist arrivals is already evident thanks to the new six-seaters that drive to Bjelasnica’s peak in only 5.5 minutes, instead of previous 13 minutes. Bjelasnica administration made efforts in bringing new technologies of artificial snowing with 30 new and 7 old snow guns on the trails providing an amazing ski experience to numerous skiers.
In the eyes of Canton Sarajevo Prime Minister Elmedin Konakovic, Bjelasnica will this year be one of the best regional ski centers and one of the most competitive in Europe.
In 2019, Bjelasnica will host 1600 young European athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 at the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF), a leading multisport event, EYOF administration. What makes Bjelasnica so unique for EYOF is because it offers a richness of nature at an altitude of almost 2,000 meters, challenging downhill and forest ski trails and because of its proximity to Sarajevo city center.
This event is important for Mulic’s oldest grandson, Damir Mulic, who will be 15 years old next year and will proudly take participating in EYOF’s alpine skiing completion here.
“I arrived to Bjelasnica in the early morning wishing to spend as much as possible time on the skies because I want to be like my grandfather who is a professional skier,” Mulic said, pointing by finger on his grandfather.
Alma Mulic, the youngest grandchild, confessed that sledding is her favourite winter activity here.
“My mother says that I am very young to join my brothers in skiing, even though I am five years old. I like sledding and I come here often, not only because of good food, but to meet new friends as well. I like this mountain,” little girl said, adding that she is eager to learn skiing as well.
Mass participation of residents practicing traditional winter sports will wake up the Olympics’ spirit once again, not only in people who lived during Yugoslavia, but in younger generations as well.