I went on a trip to Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina with Joss Christensen last winter. Joss won the Olympic gold medal for slopestyle skiing in Sochi, Russia a few weeks before our trip to Bosnia. I wanted to contrast his experience there with the history of Sarajevo in the 30 years since their Olympic games. 

We lit the torch at this podium from the Olympic ski jumping venue. We blew up a van transmission. We were told Utah is worse than Bosnia. Joss was bit by a stray dog. We ate pizza and drank beer for $3. We laughed, we guaced out, we moved snow, we shot photos. It was kind of great. I can’t wait to go back.

The whole feature story is in the October issue of Freeskier Magazine and I’d love for you to read more about this trip that opened my eyes to the depth and importance of the history of the people of Sarajevo. Oh yeah, there’s a bunch of rad skiing too.

Skier: Joss Christensen

Trick: Blunt flip (backflip grabbing the tail of the ski)

Location: Malo Polje / Igman Olympic ski jump venue


A Word About Coffee:

Coffee was a big difference I noticed between Bosnia and the US. It’s not just the stupidly obvious observation that coffee is different in Europe (“Da coffee is different in da Europe” - there’s a doctoral thesis right there) and it’s not that I really know much about coffee either (I’m certain I have spent the majority of my life drinking unfairly traded inorganic coffee). It’s that the culture of coffee in Bosnia is very different as a result of how coffee is made here.

The Bosnian word for coffee is “kafa.” It is made in a small, often stainless steel pot called an “ibrik.” The method of using the ibrik here is identical to how Turkish and Greek coffee (where their ibrik is called “briki”) is made. A specific type of ground coffee is spooned into the ibrik along with any sugar desired (I like mine sweeter than my wife) and topped off with enough water for one cup of coffee. This is boiled on the stove over high heat for approximately 8 minutes, until the skim of congealed coffee grounds begins to bubble up. This entire mixture, grounds and all, is poured into a cup, so that when you finish drinking it, a thick dark brown sludge remains at the bottom.

How does this change the culture of coffee drinking? I’m used to making coffee on the go, using it as a way to wake up or be alert in the morning. I’m used to making it quickly and carrying it in a thermos, or purchasing it at a coffee shop or Dunkin’ Donuts.

But people don’t use thermoses here. When one makes coffee, it takes the full 8-10 minutes. There are no standing, to-go coffee shops in Banja Luka. Just cafes, where you must sit to have coffee. It is a nice difference and there’s a sense of enjoying one’s coffee more, because you are taking your time. That’s the more mature, expansive, worldly interpretation of this coffee culture difference.

But sometimes I just want quick DD drip coffee to wake up and start working.

amycao fiftythreenyc


Bosnian mining accident

Exhausted, dusty but happy to be alive, 29 miners were pulled out one by one Friday from a trouble-plagued coal mine that collapsed a day earlier in central Bosnia. They left behind five men, presumed dead under rubble deep underground and beyond the reach of rescuers.

Emergency workers had dug through more than 100 meters (330 feet) of collapsed mine tunnels 500 meters below the surface to reach the trapped men.

Families of those who were left behind broke down in tears as authorities closed the pit entrance. (AP)

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