“You crazy Slovenians, do you always need to hike? “ this is what I often hear from some of my friends that come out of the country. Whenever they describe us, we always come off as avid hikers, skiers, bikers, runners, dressed up in waterproof clothes and sports gear on a daily basis. Even when they sit in a cafeteria they can point a finger to us… and it is so true. If I think of most of my friends, sports is really who we are. I personally come from a sports family, my Dad is a three time Olympian in ice hockey. I wasn’t doing any of the sports professionally, but skiing in the winter, hiking in the summer and lots of other activities in between were a natural way of life over here. Raising our sons is not that much different – they both play ice hockey and miss every day when practices are not in session and besides that we hike, ski, bike, swim, paddle… during any other time we have available. Being active is something that is helping us also in these times of covid-19. I cannot think of a day in the past months that we were just laying on a couch doing nothing. We couldn’t make it – it is a natural force within us that calls us into nature and kicks us off those couches.
Sport is truly something that I would characterise as a part of being a Slovenian. Athletes are also our biggest heroes and people we are super proud of. They are the ones who make promotion for our beautiful little country – much better one than any of the politicians do. If I would talk about what our national sport is, it would be a hard thing to choose. We identify with a lot of them. It is true, first and most, we are a skiing nation. Usually we learn how to ski at the age of 3 – so even before we start walking properly, we are skiing down the slopes of our ski fields. We are all amazing in winter sports – although the last couple of years, winters were not really generous with snow. But we still somehow find patches were we ski, cross-country, sledge, snowboard or ice-skate. We also love watching sports and following all kinds of competitions. Slovenia as a country always ranks high up internationally in all of team sports – ice hockey, basketball, volleyball, team handball, even football occasionally. We are always proud of the results they achieve and party hard when they return back with medals around their necks. Villages usually host parties for their heroes – sport athletes that live over there. Every good result in Slovenia is a reason to throw a party. Summers are exclusively reserved for hiking and biking. While biking takes more stamina, hiking is actually what everybody does. Once in a lifetime you should climb up Mount Triglav, the highest Slovenian mountain at 2864 m, to prove you are a true Slovenian. Triglav is also on our national coat-of-arms, this is how serious we are about our mountains. Even when we go on summer vacation somewhere along the coastline, you can recognise a Slovenian – he will be the one hiking, biking, climbing, paddling, canoeing, windsurfing early in the morning when normal vacationers are still asleep.