Driving into Slovenia from the North is so spectacular that even if you are not new it feels like the first time. Bovec is tucked away in the very Northwest corner of the country, where the Alps of three countries meet. Two high mountain passes wind down into the town – both giving you some denial that there could be a dropzone anywhere close by.
but now the news has spread far and wide – so even constantly changing travel rules and anxious border crossings cannot keep people away. Even with many fewer Americans and Antipodeans on the continent this season, the dropzone is busy – with people having travelled from every direction to be here.
Bad weather loads up at the start of the week, with constant heavy rain and rolling thunderstorms that punish the valley across two full days. After that it is sunny and hot, the kind of hot that makes you think of climate change as people dollop sun cream on themselves and hide in the shade through the middle of each day.
With a few days of not much at the start of what for many is the first aerial action of their year, people are making up for lost time. The dropzone is full boogie busy, with three aircraft – plus a helicopter to dangle from – providing lift capacity. Although being ready at a moments notice is the way to get things done here as although huge efforts are being made at manifest, communication of exactly who is doing what and when they are doing is an all-hands-on-deck affair from dropzone management, through the load organiser team and the jumpers themselves. Despite the challenges, the planes turn and people are getting their jumps done – which is the important part.
it is the offer of mountain flying that adds to what makes Bovec a special draw. Exiting from 4000 meters to quickly deploy and then form up into a snake formation for the purpose of flying sport parachutes down the side of an alp is quite a thing to be able to offer. Giving those less inclined to pursue foot launched aerial adventures in the mountains a way into this kind of thing is a valuable experience for a dropzone to be able to offer – even if the price point at which a morning of three flights (€85 each) means that it will likely settle in as a sweet extravagant novelty rather than a means of diving into real progression.
In a year of huge uncertainty with ever-changing travel circumstances, Skydive Bovec used the fairly solid virus response of Slovenia to their advantage and put on a full international boogie. It was frantic, as boogies often are – but through the efforts of all the staff and organisers it held together and can be considered a success in a challenging season.
and they do have a lot to offer. The town is picaresque and friendly, and the optics for jumping are as good as can be found anywhere. This can be a crucial time for a dropzone though – to deal with exponential interest in a measured way to keep the events all in the win column without things tipping toward chaos. The success of some well established events here means that this spot is firmly on the must-visit list for many skydivers of all levels. Hopefully they can deliver on the huge potential and we will see many more skillz camps and boogies take place in the future.