With better organization and infrastructure, Bosnia and Herzegovina can become a desirable and one of the top destinations for all adrenaline sports lovers. One of them is snowboarding, certainly one of the most popular in the winter period.
A group of enthusiasts and lovers of sports on board, including Ronald Grozdanovic, nurture this discipline and work on its expansion and popularization.
This 40-year-old Sarajevan, from his youngest days drove a skateboard, and before the war, he was also engaged in sports gymnastics. Also, he has been skiing since he was three, and from using a skateboard, love for the snowboard was born.
– I got the first snowboard in 1991. I’m skiing all my life. Snowboarding, which I’m doing is refered to as Off Piste Backcountry, i.e., it’s skiing on unregulated terrain and mountains that do not have infrastructure and vertical transport. We have appropriate tour equipment, a snowboard that is split in half, just like you have tour skis. We have a team of five to ten people, depending on who is free. In accordance with weather conditions, we plan tours, that is, conquering some peaks in a semi-alpine style – explains Grozdanovic.
According to his experience, the most demanding ground for the snowboard in B&H is the Prenj Mountain, also called the “Bosnian Himalayas”. It is complex because the tops are inaccessible and tours usually last for two or three days, and on the way up it is mandatory to lodge in one of the hiking houses.
– The distance to the top is demanding, by itself. Bjelasnica and Visocica are one of the most beautiful terrains. Besides its peak, which is connected by vertical transport and olympic downhills, Bjelasnica has another important peak called Krvavac. It is gorgeous, although it is not often mentioned, and actually is its highest peak, and offers countless options. The third top of Bjelasnica is Hranisava, which looks to the side towards Hadzici. Sometimes we use vertical transport to go to Bjelasnica, and then we use tour equipment and go over Krvavac peak and we descend to mountain lodge Stanari. It is a beautiful location, magical nature, and is especially fairy-tale like in winter conditions. In that house we sleep, and the next day we go to Hranisav and we descend to Ljubovcici, says the snowboarder.
When it comes to destinations in Herzegovina he stands out Čvrsnica, Prenj, Vranica, which offer countless options. However, as he points out, the biggest problem in our country is the absence of a sector dealing with the control of avalanches, because avalanches are the biggest enemy of snowboarders.
– I lost several friends in the avalanches, and I myself was trampled on several occasions. When you go to a locality, everywhere in the world you get a daily report from a meteorological station dealing with the avalanche field, whether you are an alpine climber, walking in the mountains, hiking or backcountry skiing. Every morning you can call the center and they give you a report that follows the conditions from the beginning of precipitation, at which temperatures the snow has fallen, under which winds, which are layers. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, these things we do ourselves, and therefore this sport is very dangerous – he says.
Unexplored and not so well known sites are valuable everywhere in the world where a group of ten to 20 people ski with a guide. Everywhere in Europe and the world, this has already turned into mass tourism, where at one location there is a high concentration of skiers and snowboarders, which is why our country has the potential to become a desirable destination.
– We have tops that have not yet been used for skiing, so there are clients who would be interested in these arrangements. In principle, they could name those peaks and that downhill line, which is normally done in the world. It is very desirable for a small group of skiers to stay in nature, which makes Bosnia and Herzegovina ideal – says Ronald.
Snowboarding is relatively expensive sport and it is not for everyone. Ronald explains what makes the necessary equipment.
– It consists of a tour snowboard that can be disassembled and serves from a vertical ascent. There are so-called skins, skins that are glued beneath the snowboard, so you can go uphill. There is also avalanche equipment, which is the most expensive, but safety is always in the first place. It consists of a transceiver – avalanche locator that you must carry on you, probes to search for the injured and so-called avalanche airbags that keep and hold your head outside, if an avalanche hits you. The complete equipment costs between five and ten thousand euros – says Ronald.