Skitouring in Bosnia

Grass skiing and other winter fun.



3/30/20224 min read

The original plan was to go to Ukraine, but people plan, Putin changes, so we quickly changed the program and went to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Pack our stuff, mentally prepare for the terror at the border and we can go. And we really enjoyed the border crossings and controls along the way!

1. day

Although totally exhausted from the all-night journey and constantly getting out of the bus for inspections, we head out to the parking lot in the Bjelašnica ski resort in the morning. It was originally an Olympic center and they are still trying to maintain some level here, but the empty hotels, to which not many tourists or athletes go, are slowly starting to fall apart again.

It's high season and apart from the slopes and the nearby food kiosks, it's a bit of a hotel ghost town. But we are heading up to the mountains. The cable cars here are super modern and today we don't have time to scramble our way up and we want to enjoy the descent. We had a slower start in the morning, and the packing for the trip didn't go very quickly either, and it's almost noon. We head up. One cable car ride costs 5 Bosnian marks, i.e. about 5 bucks.

We quite like the slopes below, but it's getting really windy at the top. Such an icy wind that likes to crawl under your clothes. We sit down completely frozen. Great start then. But the wind up here blew away all the freshly fallen snow, so that outside the slopes there was only an ice crust, from which the scree peeks out. But somehow we climb up to the remains of the slope (the top lift was not working) and then continue along the ridge.

It's still very windy, so we want to go back down quickly. We choose the descent based on the tracks that two other ski alpinists have climbed before us. We need to hit the right chute because one of them ends with a rock wall. Those in front of us apparently knew where to go, because we nicely swung into the gully and the forest, where the snow had not been blown and it looks like pillows. So we can check off the powder descent and see what happens next.

We spend the evening in Sarajevo. We will spend the night here in the hotel and tomorrow we will move to the village of Umoljani, where we will spend three nights in a guesthouse and walk around the area.

2. day

In the morning, after breakfast, a local driver arrived with a minibus, piled us all inside with our luggage and set off. Apparently he knows it well here and drives often, because he drives as fast as he can and still laughs and tries to chat with us.

He drops us off in a tiny village, where only a very narrow road full of switchbacks leads, and with the absence of guardrails, it is quite adventurous. The smiling owner welcomes us at the guesthouse, shows us everything inside, and is already making coffee in the kettle. He almost didn’t fit half of our clients in the cottage. They didn't look like they wanted to go out. But eventually they set off.

There is not enough snow at first glance. The draws on the surrounding hills and all the southern sides are almost free of snow. Grass and stones climb out of the remains. We will have to look for a way a lot and then hit a groove during the descent, where it will be at least a little more than around.

There is a little more snow at the top, but it's still not quite enough. We climb to the top of Saruk, from where we descend one of the gullys, which ends in a low growth. We zigzag and make our way through the forest like a jungle and the last section we descend on the plain. There seemed to be enough snow, but according to how our ski sounded, I would rather compare it to skiing on gravel.

We went down a lot into the valley, so it was necessary to get through some side valley back towards Umoljani. In addition, we discovered one northern side, where there was a little more snow and it was completely tempting to ride. And it was a blast. At the end of the day, we took it twice before we realized that it was going to be difficult to find a fresh line and so we went home.

3. day

Mokre Stijene and Vito were the targets, but both were northern slopes and the snow didn't look very cohesive. In addition, icy surfaces alternated with windswept dunes, so we opted for a retreat and set off for the slightly smaller Subar hill.

But there wasn't much snow there either, and the descent to the second valley seemed to be best with a little groove starting over a decent edge. I didn't really like it at first, but in the end it was a pretty cool slope. To make matters worse, we hiked and skied Drstva. There, the snow was frozen again and we were breaking into the ice crust.

Not much for the descent, but the sun was shining and we enjoyed the day outside. The mountains in Bosnia are karst, so they are characterized by various rock ridges and depressions. Or, on the contrary, completely flat plains between high mountains. So not exactly the terrain of dreams for skialps, because a large part is walked on the plain and it is more difficult to find navigable chutes that do not end in some kind of terrain trap. But it's always beautiful in the mountains, whatever they are.

At the finish line, the Visočica restaurant awaits us with a super owner who was so fond of us that he poured us his own schnapps for free and had a drink with us. Just the Balkans and its people. They are different, but they are very cool. After dinner, the owner of the guesthouse made for us, we went to bed.

4. day

I only have a few photos from the last day. In the morning, the bus took our things to Bjelašnica and we went there on our own. But the weather was super nasty. It was snowing, blowing, and as it was humid, it didn't have to be much below zero for it not to be completely pleasant. So we almost sprinted and as a reward we had a warm soup in one of the kiosks below the slopes. In the evening we leave by bus towards Brno. We have a little time in Sarajevo, so we visit the local brewery and have a Pljeskavica (ground meat steak) and the local beer Sarajevsko. Tired and pumped, we get on our bus and go home.