Every so often an assignment comes along where a story is presented but a much richer tale gets discovered. This month we were assigned a shoot in Kosovo for Skiing Magazine with our great friend and writer Tim Neville. We immediately understood that there was something more to the story than a ski destination. Tim has spent a good deal of time in the Balkan countries and promised, “Europe… 150 years ago”. This, combined with a very recent war. We were in.
Together with our guide and interpreter Fatos Lajci, we lift skied, met with local mountain people who lived through the war, spent time skiing with kids, and finally went on a hut to hut ski tour in the very huts Fatos is building to support mountain tourism. As we knew it would, a much larger story, both tragic and extraordinarily positive, developed.
We met a man none of us will ever forget, Osman Shala, who showed us the very journal he wrote during the war. He shook us with firsthand stories of war and the hell he and his family went through – but he also made us laugh and marvel at his optimism. Best of all, he welcomed us with a warm smile and strong coffee to his mountains. As we left, he pointed out the trail to take to get into the backcountry, and he was anxious for us to return to tell him how the skiing was.
Tim Neville’s full story, with our images, will run in Skiing Magazine later this year. Tim, who regularly writes features for the likes of Outside and the New York Times, has stated that this was the richest story he has ever researched.
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What a fantastic adventure! Congrats you guys! Can’t wait to see the whole thing on the pages of Skiing.
Looking forward – welcome back in summer to visit our cross border trail – Peaks of the Balkans! Our people in Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro work together, to show you the beauty of this area.
Nice story, And I envy you for the trip.
However, I think you mispelled this guy’s name.
His name might be Osman, not Osama.
There are no Osama names in Kosovo.
I’ll check the name for you as I want to be sure it is correct. It’s what the writer took in his notes. Hang tight. Thanks.
You are right, we checked and it is Osman. Thank you for the correction.
Ski touring in Kosovo has increased as an activity and it looks like it is going to be even bigger. There are more resources to get information for the tours and there are more companies that offer these services.
NIce story enjoy.