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Red Corner: Post-War Skiing in Sarajevo
War has a way of tarnishing even the most spectacular of travel destinations. Sadly, long after a war is over, the very mention of the country in which it took place often leaves a bitter taste in one's mouth, so bitter that the very thought of visiting it on vacation hardly enters one's mind.
The city of Sarajevo is one such place. Site of the Winter Olympic Games in 1984, the city became embroiled in civil war from 1992–1995. Sadly, ski areas such as Jahorina served as staging areas for Bosnian Serbs lobbing artillery into Sarejevo and took on far more sinister roles than should ever be associated with bunny slopes and powder.
Today, such resorts are trying to reclaim their former innocence and glory. A recent article by Mirna Skrbic hints that they are on their way. This current season has seen the highest number of skiers hitting the slopes since before the war. Attracted by fine skiing and great deals (one-day lift tickets for $18), tourists are slowly starting to rediscover the fine conditions made so famous by the Olympic Games. The concept of ethnic skiing-where the Serbs and Croats ski at separate resorts-is also starting to fade, albeit slowly.
It's an encouraging sign that those who fought against each other in a horrific war, are now starting to ski together. Skrbic offers some interesting political insights regarding this as Bosnia, and consequently its ski resorts, comes to terms with itself and its people.