Growing up in the Slovenian mountains set Bine Zalohar on a journey without a destination. A journey that’s taken him all around the world helping others see the wonders of the mountains that Bine has worked so hard to conquer. We sat down with the experienced mountain guide to talk about life after skiing freestyle professionally for over a decade, where he’s been as a mountain guide in the past year, and how he deals with putting himself in life or death situations.
Night Slides (NS): Bine, great to have you on, can you start by telling us a little about yourself, where you’re from and how you first fell in love with the mountains?
Bine Zalohar (BZ): Thanks for having me on Mark, I’m 32 years old and come from a little town called Kranj that lays close to the main Slovenian airport in the nest of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, Karavanke Alps and the Julian Alps. I write the Alps with a capital since they mean a lot to me; it’s our playground and habitat. Slovenia’s mountains are light coloured limestone, sharp and unpolluted gems. How can I not love these mountains!?
NS: It sure looks like a beautiful part of the world! Readers might know you from competing in the freestyle scene, but how’s life treating you after competing professionally for over a decade?
BZ: Life gets different after that. The whole freestyle scene is amazing and gave me the opportunity to travel the world and open my eyes. But to be able to get back to the same areas that I used to compete in and actually discover peaks around the resorts is even more magical. It’s a mix of current emotions and memories from when I was on the ‘hotel to snowpark’ daily grinds. I only wish I could stay in contact with all the people I have met over the years. At least we have social media right?
NS: Absolutely, what would we do without it! We’re all about the adventure of travel and exploration here at Night Slides, where has your work taken you in the past year?
BZ: My last 12 months have looked like this:
I started backcountry guiding in Japan;
Then it was over to Chamonix for ski mountaineering;
Over to Slovenia next to do some mountain guiding;
And then Croatia for some daily surf trips!
Then a long time mountaineering and climbing in the Dolomites, Austria, Slovenia and Corsica;
Before spending time mountain biking in Croatia, Slovenia and Corsica;
Next up was back to freestyle skiing in Austria;
And now I am back in Japan again. The main purpose is getting my clients into the best snowy conditions as possible and show them good times. That’s what it’s all about!
NS: So where in the world is your favourite destination to find the best, freshest tracks?
BZ: Lately, my heart is in Japan where I fell in love with the mountains and hills in Hokkaido. There is probably the best snow I have ever skied on. But I always admit to everyone that my favourite ski trip was Chile in 2012 filming for the Untouched project. If you are willing to resist the herd instinct you can find fresh tracks anywhere in the world. Everything depends on your budget, motivation and will to explore!
NS: We have seen recently that you’re spending time in the Northern Hemisphere winter in Japan, is this going to be a continuous project?
BZ: My next project now is to find good snow, continue my work as a mountain guide, stay healthy and in good relationship to people around me and explore the world. Job location depends on the offer. It could be Japan, it could be France. Anything can happen, but I have to say I am happy with current life. I always have been even though there is always room for improvement.
NS: That’s very true, and as you know, we’re spending time researching extreme sports athlete mental health. How do you deal with the strain of putting yourself in life and death situations?
BZ: Scared money, don’t make money they say. Like training physically, you have to train mentally. Both fields are connected. Learning how to deal with your own ego, fears and current thinking doesn’t come overnight. A lot of things have to happen before you are able to understand yourself, or at least part of you.
In my case, I needed to learn it the hard way. I have learnt a lot through my injuries, broken relationships, deaths, accidents and much more. I think mental strength is something that constantly develops and varies depending on current activities. I like to train myself being exposed to danger, love, friendship, fear, nature and social media. Each field needs a different mental state and being able to focus on a certain thing at a certain moment is very important. I tend to fail a lot on those small things that can make people around me very happy sometimes.
NS: Really appreciate your honesty Bine, thank you, that’s great insight you have. Looking ahead to the future, what do you have planned for 2019?
BZ: For 2019, my plan is to train myself on how to become an ultimate all-round skier. My goal one day is to be able to slide on a street rail, jump a booter in the park, slay pow turns like never before, find a flow in a freeride line and make one of the descents in Himalaya. In one season. I know I am on a good path. All I need is a bit more training and some luck. Luck is important.
NS: It certainly is and we wish you all the best for 2019, we’ll be keeping an eye on your progress!