Divided Bosnia introduces joint ski pass

Bosnia’s four ski resorts introduced a joint ski pass on Wednesday in a rare act of cooperation between the country’s ethnically divided zones.

Since its 1990s war Bosnia has been split into two entities — the Serb-run Republika Srpska and a Muslim-Croat Federation — creating frequent political and bureaucratic headaches. 

The mountains that circle the capital Sarajevo, which hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics, span the two regions and normally require separate passes for each resort. 

The new 10-day ski pass will open access to 100 kilometres (60 miles) of slopes across four mountains — Jahorina and Ravna planina in Republika Srpska as well as Bjelasnica and Vlasic, in the Muslim-Croat half.

“This is an important day for the skiers,” said Dejan Ljevnaic, head of the Jahorina resort.

“I’m proud of this deal since we have transformed our competitors into partners.”

While some skiers frequent all four mountains, many stay within their own regions, a legacy of the communal divisions that still haunt Bosnia a quarter of a century after its war.

“The initiative would be completely normal and logic in another country… but here it is news which both surprises and brings joy,” said Amar Ramovic, a skier from Sarajevo.

The resorts also hope the new pass will bring more money to their slopes, which have remained open throughout the pandemic. 

“It’s a great idea because it promotes four ski resorts in one go,” added Dejan Rosic, another 39-year-old skier in Sarajevo who plans to pick up a pass.