CHEAPEST PLACES ON EARTH
Bosnia for Ski Bums
Jahorina will knock you right out of your bindings with its Olympic-caliber slopes and its rock-bottom prices.
Cab ride: $35
You can fly to Sarajevo International Airport, 15 miles northwest of Jahorina, from most major cities in Europe and the U.S. (from $700). The taxi ride to Jahorina is just under an hour. Cabbies often whip around the mountain's switchbacks, making for a nail-biting drive.
Ski rentals: $15 per day
Ski shops and hotels at the base of Jahorina rent skis and snowboards for around $15 per day. Ski Rental Peggy is a local favorite; the shop stocks such cool brands as Atomic and Blizzard, and there's a rustic café and bar next door (011-387/57-270-210, peggy-jahorina.ba).
Apple treat: $3
Koliba, a restaurant with simple cowhide benches and waiters who take orders on PDAs, serves some of the best meals in Jahorina. Specialties include cevapi, ground beef and lamb croquettes in a pita, and tufahija, a stewed apple filled with lemon, nuts, and whipped cream (011-387/57-272-100, termaghotel.com).
Ski lesson: $22
Jahorina first made it onto the map in 1984, when it hosted the women's Alpine events of the Sarajevo Olympics. Today, a one-day pass costs $22; a week is $124--that's only $37 more than a day at Aspen. Above the tree line, Jahorina has some intense runs: The moguls below the Ogorjelica lifts will work your knees. The slopes by the Poljice T-bar are great for beginners. At the nearby VLSKI ski school, instructors charge $22 for a one-hour lesson (011-387/65-998-616, vlski.com/eng).
Ski lodge: $66
Slope-side accommodations cost about $100 per night. The Hotel Nebojsa has a large disco and a glassed-in winter garden (011-387/57-270-500, hotel-nebojsa.com, from $66). The rate at the chic Termag Hotel includes access to the hotel's outdoor skating rink and Turkish bath (011-387/57-272-100, termaghotel.com, from $144).
Bosnian beer: $1
The road that weaves up the mountain is lined with small family-owned stores that sell German and Croatian chocolates, bottles of Bosnian Nektar beer for $1, and $3 round plastic sanke (sleds) for kids. The lights along the main run below the Poljice T-bar stay on most nights for sledding.
Hot wine: $2
Skiers can warm up with Turkish coffee or mulled wine, spiced with cloves and cinnamon, at one of the cafés just below the Ogorjelica summit. From the deck of Zacarani dvori ("Enchanted Palaces"), the Bosnian foothills seem to stretch to the horizon (011-387/57-233-096).
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