Two words (skiing, Bosnia) you wouldn’t expect in the same sentence? Well, think again, because these two words go hand in hand and they do that pretty well actually. 🙂
When you think of skiing for New Year you think of Austrian Alps, the Dolomites, French huge skiing resorts and so and so on. So did I (except I didn´t think of Switzerland because it´s way out of my price range) until I started sending some inquires in September. I wasn´t that demanding-apartment for 4, relatively close to the slopes, two bedrooms, normal demands. Answers I got were all very alike: Unfortunately we have no vacancies for this period, You mean this year?, or I got unreasonably high prices – record holder 4000€ for a week. 🙂
And all this time I had one wish, we all know the place, we´ve all seen videos from ´84 Olympics where the women’s skiing races were held, but have never really considered it as a serious alternative. So I started googling JAHORINA. The most helpful page proved to be www.jahorina.org. Here you get all the information you need: about the ski resort, opening times, accommodation, informative (and very amusing forum :)). So I did the usual, writing an email that by now I could type with my eyes closed, but only this time in Serbian (Jahorina is a part of Republika Srpska right next to Sarajevo). The answer I got was so surprising (after getting all those negative ones), they offered me several options, but we decided for the M&M house (their recommendation), right next to the slopes for 900€ for 6 people. So, the decision was made – New Year on Jahorina.
The day of departure was almost here and there wasn´t any sign of snow. The weather forecast was good so we decided to go. When we got there, there was probably about 10cm of fresh powder (not even close to being enough for skiing). But we fell in love with the place immediately. We had an entire authentic “kučica” (the closest translation is chalet) to ourselves. It had everything we needed – a big living room, two separate bedrooms, in-house ski-room, kitchen, bathroom and a fireplace. The first night it started to snow and it snowed for two days. We got roughly 70 cm of snow and headed out to ski. We bought a 4 day pass for only 60€. Compare it to Austria, Italy, France, Switzerland or even Slovenia and you will see that this is cheap. A 6 day pass is 85€. So, you get great value for money.
The ski resort has three completely new detachable 6-chair lifts (Poljice, Ogorjelica-with bubbles and Prača). With them you can cover almost the entire resort. The skiing options are endless, from long to short runs, steep to a bit flatter. Maybe a slight downside is that there isn’t really an appropriate beginner’s slope. They are still working on artificial snow system, but they improve something every year. At the moment a new cable car from the town Pale is in plan. For more information check: http://www.jahorina.org/forum/index.php
The best thing about the place is, you can never get bored: Sarajevo is a half an hour drive away (if you get fed up with skiing), you have many wellness options in numerous hotels Apart Hotel Vučko: http://www.aparthotelvucko.com/ and Hotel Termag: http://www.termaghotel.com/#close being the best.
We loved the food: anyone who knows the “balcan” cuisine will understand: čevapčići, pljeskavice, uštipci, čorbice… (translating it would just ruin it, take a look at our pictures or google it and set to images). The best part are the prices. Here you can eat out, drink well and still you don’t end up broke. 🙂
My recommendation is go in late February or even March. Why? Bigger chance of good snow conditions, and even cheaper accommodation prices.
And we can’t wait to get back (well not this year because we’re doing a one year around the world trip), but we will, we will.