Many of you may be unaware that Bosnia has some really great skiing. Olympic standard skiing in fact. Remember Torvill and Dean in a cloud of purple skating to gold medal success in that sea of perfect 6.0s in 1984? That Winter Olympics was in Sarajevo. There are 2 mountains within a 20 minute drive from the centre of Sarajevo that have some excellent skiing.
Having spent Christmas skiing in Sarajevo last year and New Years in the French Alps this year, I feel fairly qualified to judge the two. And as this is my blog and I can do what I want to, that is exactly what I am going to do.
Bosnia: Really very nice. Newly refurbished, all the mod cons, plenty of living space. Exactly what I'd expect on the French Alps. (Ledena Krajlica in Jahorina).
France: Well, ok I guess. Not sure if I expect more from French accommodation, but really it was quite cramped, nowhere near enough living space having crammed as many people as possible into the chalet. Lots of covered over bits (spare beds and mattresses piled into our room, that sort of thing). Kept running out of hot water. More what I'd expect on the Bosnian slopes if I'm being brutally honest.
France: Its the Alps. The skiing is amazing and extensive. Les Gets was good for beginners, with some small nursery slopes with small child friendly ropes to pull up slopes (even a not yet 3 year old Lukey managed this one). They also have a few 'magic carpets' to help save parents arms from dragging really quite heavy boys up the slopes.
Bosnia: Not as extensive, but still good. Jahorina also has a nursery slope with a rope lift to hold onto which small children can manage. Recommended that you stay on the slopes if you don't have a guide though, not all the mountains have been fully de-mined yet.
Bosnia - rumoured to be having a much needed update. Last time we went they were the old style 2 man, take out the back of your knees, no padding, freeze in the winds as you head up variety. Probably best described as character building.
France - someone told me that some of the French ski lifts are not only covered but are heated! The Bosnians would fall about in hysterical laughter at such levels of wussiness. Not in Les Gets though, but they are padded making it much more comfortable on bottoms and make for an easier getting on and off procedure.
Ski School Teachers
France: 'You want to be taught? By me? But no, I am here so you can follow my pert bottom down the slopes and zen I can look at you with disdain as you do not know how to ski. I might condescend to wave my hand at you to tell you zat was so so. You want actual instruction? Pah (complete with shrug). But come on, you have more admiring of me to do before the end of ze lesson.'
(actually I am being a bit mean. The ski school for the kids was brilliant, once the boys got into the idea of being left there for a morning they learnt a lot and loved it. I'm really talking about the schools for adults here).
Bosnia: Ski school is cheaper. You can afford one-on-one lessons with the lovely Dragan. This is much better for learning. Dragan's sister (a fully qualified nursery teacher) is also available for teaching small children. Don't know much about the group lessons but judging from the ability some of the groups we saw, put money on a Bosnian skiing star emerging in a few years time.
I have small children. What do I know about Apres Ski? But, the French bars and restaurants all looked pretty great from the outside. The Bosnian ones have very funky cow hide covered benches and welcome kids. And serve homemade blueberry juice.
France: None that we noticed.
Bosnia: Paddy Ashdown (who is a really, really good skier) and the ex-Chelsea footballer, Mateja Kezman (I appreciate this may only be of interest if you are actually a member of my family but we found it exciting, although he wasn't that pleased to be reminded of his Chelsea days which were not what you might call covered with glory).
Either way, we have been spoilt. Skiing has proved to be a real hit with the small ones. Adam throws himself down the slopes and can't wait to get back onto skis. Luke, still with that toddler belief that everything will be alright and someone will catch him at the bottom, just stands there as his skis take him down the slope, and amazingly enough someone does always does. It's nice to be 2. Now, just to work out how to afford to take them again...
First carnival of the New Year is up over at A Modern Mother's and I strongly advise grabbing yourself a coffee and heading over there to see what the rest of the British Mummy and Daddy Bloggers have been up to over Christmas and New Year.