In his constant pursuit of new challenges, wakeskating pioneer Brian Grubb paid a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina and headed for Olympic mountain Bjelasnica, 25 kilometers from Sarajevo. Nope, his goal wasn't to take a try at the slalom or downhill course. Instead he wanted to try to take wakeskating completely out of the summer environment and put it in winter conditions. And, to spice things up, combine water and snow riding for the first time.
His quest brought him to Studeni Potok (Icy Creek) on Bjelasnica plateau near the village Umoljani. What they found there was a snowy wonderland amidst untouched mountain wilderness. Icy Creek lies at the bottom of a snow covered valley, winding its countless curves through the thick white blanket. The locals also call the creek Dragon's Tail.
Legend has it that the dragon was moving towards the village and his tail left a deep winding trail that became a creek. The villagers prayed for salvation and the dragon was turned into stone with the shape of his head still visible in the rock at the foot of the hill to which villagers flee.
Preparing a combined snow/water course in heavy terrain and weather conditions was quite a task. When the crew finished setting up the rails, poles and the winch, it was Brian's turn to do what he is best at...ride. Pulled by the winch rope, he was carving his way through the deep snow at one moment, wakeskating in the creek the next, back to snow, then creek again – performing some of his favorite tricks all the while. It was a sort of mixture of wakeskating, snowboarding and...er, something that lacks a name?
"I wanted different speeds for being in the snow and then in the water. I had to be going faster in the water so I didn't sink, but then in the snow going that speed just felt really fast. So, it was kind of challenging, but once we got the line figured out, it was really fun to just session it,"Brian explains.
The biggest challenge Brian and the crew faced was the moody nature of the wild mountain. Weather was changing several times a day, going from heavy snowing to completely sunny in just few hours. As if this wasn't enough trouble, parts of the creek were frozen. But after seven days of freezing hardship, it all paid off. Brian was more than happy with the rides and tricks he pulled off, as was the crew with great shots and footage.
"We ultimately just wanted to inspire people to think outside the box and maybe to take a sport that you'd only see in the summertime into the winter and into the snow. We really had fun riding in these conditions and being here in Bosnia," Brian said, satisfied with the job well done.