When an RFP for a project covering adventure sports in Slovenia for National Geographic’s Travel department came across my desk, I knew right away that this would be, above all else, a fun opportunity. We created a pitch deck that outlined how we would approach capturing different adventure sports in different geographical landscapes. That included skiing, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. We would create a 2 minute film showcasing Slovenia’s diverse landscapes and adventure playgrounds, and also create the stills and writing that would accompany this online placement.
The team at Nat Geo loved the concept and we were off and running!
This project actually stretched out over more than half a year due to the fact that we wanted to cover both winter and summer sports. Last winter, Dane Henry and I packed our skis and cameras and flew out to meet some skiers at the Vogel Ski Resort, Slovenia’s highest resort, which is located right outside of Triglav National Park. We met up with our talent skier, Matevž Lukić, and our snowboarder, Marina Pribošič-Kajdiž. One of the first things Marina mentioned casually was that her sister was competing in snowboarding in the Beijing Olympics that evening. It was clear from day one that Slovenians are talented outdoor athletes! Sure enough, that day Matevž and Marina crushed it despite the fact that Vogel mountain was currently one big block of ice!
About five months later, Dane and I on the way back to Slovenia to spend a full week immersed in the Alps, the rolling forested foothills, glacial-fed rivers, and the karst plateau bordering the Adriatic Sea.
Our climbing and hiking talent were the husband-and-wife duo Petra and Luka Stražar. Our kayakers were Luka Reberšak and Sara Seprenyi. And our mountain bikers were Tjaša Gorenc and Jani Hercog. Not only was everyone fantastic company, they were all incredible athletes! The ability to do these sports at a high level seemed to be part of every Slovenian’s blood—which is probably the result of the fact this country is such a world-class playground for adventure.
One of the best moments of the trip was spending our final night with Silvo Karo, one of the greatest climbers and explorers ever. To hear his stories about climbing and adventure just spoke to how deep the love and respect for wild places runs among Slovenians. He even gave me a signed copy of his book. (Thanks, Silvo!)
Slovenia is a tiny place, but it’s full of amazing and diverse landscapes. The bitter irony for Dane and I was that we were so focused on working that we didn’t actually get to do any of these amazing sports, which means that we’ll have to come back on our own terms. I’m positive I will return with my family for our own biking, climbing, hiking, and skiing adventures.
Check out our short film on the National Geographic website, and the accompanying story, including this photo gallery, written by my good friend Andrew Bisharat. Thank you to Dane Henry for his work as DP, and Jure Niedorfer as our AC. Thanks to Brittany Gibeau for helping to produce this project on the Novus side. Huge thanks to Petra Brajnik, our fixer in Slovenia without whom none of this would’ve happened.
And finally, thank you to the great team at National Geographic and the Slovenia Tourism Board for sponsoring this project. Looking forward to more creative adventures like this in the future!