Slovenian Backcountry Adventures

Slovenian Backcountry kozunakoles

kozunakoles profile athleteName: Jernej Šarkan

Age: 32

Instagram: @kozunakoles (means goat on a bike if you translate it from Slovenian to English)

Location: Slovenia aka sLOVEnia 🙂

Occupation: IT specialist, Scott Sports promoter, passionate mountain biker, and skier

What outdoor recreation do you enjoy doing the most?

I would consider myself as a general outdoor/backcountry enthusiast but mountain biking and ski touring are my 2 real passions.

@kozunakoles on Instagram
Calm before a havy storm in high Carnic Alps @kozunakoles on Instagram

Bike over the “warm” months and ski when the snowflake symbols appear on early TV forecasts ☺.

What’s the craziest thing that has happened to you while in the backcountry?

Well, if I’ve learned something from all the crazy things that have happened … Always have a plan b. Don’t go into the backcountry alone, check the conditions and go out there properly prepared.

kozunakoles2-injurySince I’m currently injured, I’ve had more time to reflect over the past few months. I’ve definitely experienced crazy things in my past and still will in the future.

That, I’m aware of.

I’m not often scared in the mountains, but I’m scared for my friends having an accident. I also worry about the dangers that are out of my control.

So to mention a couple of the crazy experiences I’ve had:

  • losing my backpack with all my winter gear in the high Alps
  • falling off a cliff with my bike and fracturing my shoulder in 5 places

After every crazy thing that happens I go over all of the safety precautions in my head that I already know.

So once again – go out there and play, but safety first and be prepared. Use your head and when you feel you are over the top – take a pause. Without taking a pause from what we love we wouldn’t acknowledge how much we love the things we do.

How is the outdoor recreation in Slovenia?

I would say it’s in extreme growth and there are for sure endless options to choose from. Soca Valley for example (@socaoutdoor) would be an ideal place to visit if you are an outdoor person.

soca valley

Not to mention my small little hometown of Trzic near Austrian border (#visittrzic).

Trzic Slovenia

Even if we look at Slovenian Tourist Board slogan for 2017 it says “Feel Green, Active and Healthy”. #feelslovenia – no more words needed ☺.

Is there lots of public land access?

Yes. There’s a lot of public land in Slovenia.

You will have almost no problem accessing it during winter months for any kind of outdoor activity (not many restrictions), but in the summer season things can get complicated especially if you’re a mountain biker with a thrill for high alpine tours.

high-alpines-kozunakoles

You will get fined for riding your bike on a hiking trail. Not that fines are big, but still…

 

Any weird restrictions that make it difficult to enjoy the outdoors?

Not many but still there are.

For example we have some strict regulations within Triglav National Park regarding biking, camping witch is totally reasonable.

Triglav National Park

Major problem lies within legislation as a whole. You are not allowed to ride your bike on a hiking trails or any other trails that are not specifically built for mountain biking (bike parks, single trail parks).

So from this you can assume most of our favorite trail are illegal – but guess what … ☺.

Main reason for that is a belief that mountain bikers do too much damage to the environment. But we are making progress … step by step. Sounds silly but guess what – we managed to win an award for best mountain biking community in Europe for 2017.

Slovenia is a hidden gem for sure!

high-alpines-kozunakoles2

With big mountain biking tourism potential. We need to make sure the government sees it to. Thanks to consortium and the Slovenian mountain biking community we are on a right path to make them realize that.

In late June we (not me personal ☺) managed to put together a first multi day enduro race called »Trans Julius« (www.trans-julius.com). It’s actually a three and a half day adventure within the heart of the Julian Alps for all enduro / all-mountain enthusiasts.

A great opportunity to experience Slovenia if you love mountain biking. And the project itself showed that things can be done and achieved when we have the right approach and go forward hand in hand. Talk, build, respect and ride are words that could push things into right direction.

 

If there’s one thing you feel is different about MTB in Slovenia than the rest of the world, what is it?

 

Slovenia is a very small but diverse country.

With Ljubljana airport in the “very centre”, everything is in reach within an hour.

I could say it has everything to offer.

Steep peaks, deep valleys, emerald streams, the sea… and the views are just breathtaking.

Don’t make me start talking about the trails again ;).

It’s a perfect place to adventure in. And beer costs only $2.50 in a pub or restaurant ;).

Are you loyal to certain gear or brands?

I managed to combine my profession with my passion in 2017. So yes … #Scott Sports I would say ☺

Scott promotor
kozunakoles-scott-athlete

 

What are your top tips for taking amazing Instagram photos?

 

Hmmm. I feel like I have nothing special to say.

Just enjoy your backcounty / outdoor activities and you’ll catch that glimpse of perfection that would make a great Instagram photo.

Enjoy the moments out there and make memories count.

Any advice for someone who is new to the MTB community and looking to start riding in the mountains?

As I said in the beginning… Go out and ride if you’ve found a passion for mountain biking.

Find your flow, transcend it into your daily routines, into your life.

It’ sucks you in btw.

It never gets easier it just gets better ☺. But still … Use your head, don’t rush into things and stay safe.

Talking from my own experience I guess ☺.

The only real passions are safe passions if you want them to last!

The only real passions are safe passions if you want them to last! Click To Tweet

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