Smetovi, the local mountain, is a perfect place for children to learn to ski. In the first week of 2012 Zenica not only made the headlines in all major Bosnian papers but also channels like EURONEWS for the worst smog in the whole of Europe. Special disrespect goes to Arcelor Mittal, the worlds largest steal maker and owner of the local steal factory for not installing filters and creating more pollution than in the 80ies, when the plant was turning out 4 times more steal. To top it off they switched off district heating for days for thousands of households during a cold spell, because they needed more energy for steal production. But where there is darkness, there is bound to be light somewhere: that light is DPFK, a local initiative of sports teachers to get kids involved in sports and outdoor activities. Their highly motivated and qualified staff put on a great program to teach kids to ski. Within a week all kids, many of them beginners, were able to cruise down the slope without help. You saved my winter holiday! My daughter actually got two courses in one: skiing and Bosnian language, lunch included and personal pick-up service from downtown Zenica. Great value for money!
Equipment: Rent skis and boots from Scorpio Extreme Sports Club. No need to transport the stuff through half of Europe.
Extreme Sports Club Scorpio is an experienced and well-established tour operator for all kinds of adventure sports. They must be good, because in the remote location where they are located, half-way up Smetovi mountain about 5 km from downtown Zenica, is not exactly the beaten path for the tourist crowds. Their speciality is putting together tailored group programs of several days where you can discover Bosnia and Hercegovina and at the same time go for your personal extreme sports limit. Their camp in Zenica includes indoor and outdoor climbing opportunities and a huge playground.
The fastest way to escape the city is taking a 10 km ride straight to the top of Smetovi mountain. At an elevation of roughly 1000 meters you are in a picturesque nature setting with well kept picnic areas and a competely different climate zone than downtown Zenica. The mountain lodge (planinarski dom) offers cheap rooms and drinks for the traveller. A beginners ski lift operates in winter time. This area is great for walking and mountain biking sheperds paths. My wife`s uncle told me once there is a spring up there somewhere in the hills, that is supposed to support male fertility or something like that. I have not found it yet, please send me an e-mail if you see it.
Zenica features brand-new European standard sport facilities including a track stadium and an indoor arena with new mall and hotel attached. The football stadium is being renovated at the moment. Recent sport events include the Balkan Games (a Balkan political union would be even better, but that's a different story), World and European Basketball and Football qualifiers, World Boxing Championships for women etc. So if you want to see your home national team loose in the fourth largest city of a country with 4 million inhabitants, come to Zenica!
If anybody from Mittal Steel reads this: The indoor pool proudly called "Swimming club of the Zenica steel works", near the entrance of the factory could need some money for a general overhaul! For Christ's sake sponsor them by paying some of the people you laid off recently to fix the place!
Equipment: Passport good idea if you get arrested in a football riot.
Goggles for swimming (plenty of chlorine).
Bilino Polje is the home football stadium of NK Čelik from the city of Zenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina.The stadium was built and opened in 1972. It was used in Bosnia and Herzegovinas first match, a friendly played against Albania in 1995 with the final result being a 0-0 draw.