“When?” – “Next Monday.” – “Mhmm… Okay. Where we’ll meet?”
My last journey to Serbia started this way.

A friend of mine was going to Belgrade to meet his business agent for the area of Serbia and Montenegro and go along with him to visit a couple of ski resorts to present the new catalog and the devices manufactured  by the Firm he is working for.  And, maybe, collect some orders.

I’ve been in Serbia a few years ago, in 2006; at that time I called on a couple of the resorts that were in our schedule.

Different environment -not just the mountains, also the way the men we met think-, different dimension of the resort and some unexpected situations.

By some meanings I had the feeling of a journey back in time, the scenarios reminded me some pictures of the 70s I saw in a chalet in Italy. The road the took us to the first place was “long a winding” one; it ended in a small park that gives on the slope, yes, one slope. During the season the skiers park along the path and a bus takes them to the resort. No one complaints about this!
We climbed on the observation tower on top of a hill in the nearing. Two men told us about the goings and the plans for the near future; we shared our opinion on where a couple a of new slope could be developed.
I had a greet feeling: they were enthusiastic about what they were doing, they was trusting the vision they got of the growing resort.

The observation tower.

The first slope of the resort.

Skiing for free. The top of the T-bar skilift is at about 200 meters. No, I didn’t forget a trailing zero: 200 meters. The area has a special climate, the snow cover reaches every winter the thickness of two meters. There was a man doing some maintenance, he told us that when in Belgrade is -2 °C in Zejecar is -12 °C, when in Belgrade rains in Zajecar is snowing.

The main thing, the left me astonished, is that you can ski for free! Even in the evening: the slope is provided with artificial lighting.

We learned that this was a way to keep the youths away form the big cities where the start drinking and taking drugs. “It is a first step, they learn a sport, don’t waste time, when they become more capable, if they like, they go skiing in other place and we achieved our goal.”.

The slope and the T-bar skilift in Zajecar.

Let’s go south! Next day we moved to Montenegro. Since last time there was some new things, among the other the border: a couple of months after I was there, Montenegro became independent from Serbia.

We visited the Ski Center Bjelasica and met the managers. They have a few ideas on improving their resort.

Bjelasica ski center. The buildings for hospitality and offices on left side, an old two seat chearlift in the centre and a brand new six-seater chairs Doppelmayr on the right side

While travelling we had many talks about life in Serbia, about the ski resorts and of course I asked about ski patrolling …professional bias?
In a ski resort, Stara Planina, we met a member of the team that also act as a ski-patroller but he is charge of other matters.

I guess I can tell they feel the opportunity of such a service but it is something yet to come.
I spoke with them about FIPS and told them that when they would like and advice on the topic we will be please to share our knowledge. The businesscard exchange and sharp handshakes closed our conversation after a couple of thousand chilometers.
I could be wrong, but I don’t exclude we will hear form them.


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