Marko Grilc Sets up a Park Session at an Abandoned Resort in Slovenia

Imagine having an abandoned resort all to yourself for you and your homies to shred anything. In Slovenia, that's what Marko Grilc set up for his posse. Clemens Millauer came in from neighboring country, Austria, to get in on the fun at Kanin.
Accessing an abandoned resort is no easy feat. The daily carpooling began with these two Range Rovers and 15+ crew.
All loaded up, time to crawl these rovers up the switchbacks to find the snowline.
The park crew, riders, and media transfer over to the snow cats that will bring us the rest of the way.
The abandoned Kanin lodge sets isolated in the clouds as we arrived after the two hour journey from the valley below.
The shape crew was up there for two weeks before the shoot started and kept killing it while we were there. Much respect for those guys.
A straight shot over from the U.S., and only having 48 hours to experience Grilo's perfect playground, Red Gerard spared no expense in getting after it. Frontside air against the back of the abandoned lodge.
There was a banked slalom set up going through Kanin's gondola house. Grilo and Red work to keep their speed.
Leave it to Red Gerard to bring the mischief. It was all over once he found this fire extinguisher. Nothing or no one was left untouched.
Trying to thread the needle of this obstacle, Grilo gets blasted by the steam of the gondola's engine, aka Red Gerard's mischief.
Introducing Slovenian homie and snowboard coach for the Croatian team, Ziga Rokovec. Ziga met Grilo at 16. He was influenced by Grilo because of his snowboarding style and kindness towards him and the other groms of Slovenia's shred scene.
Having the resort to ourselves, left the possibilities endless. Ziga, brought his urban game to tail press through these gondola wheels.
The sun is out boys, time to bring the fun back outdoors. Red Gerard in pursuit of Grilo.
Lining it all up, Ziga Rakovec joins in on the fun, and jumps off the roof over Red Gerard and Grilo.
All these fun things to ride, set Grilo and the crew up for quite the appetite. Fortunately, Luka Krajnik and Jure Jerele had feeding the troops and keeping the good times vibes alive covered.
Break time. Footage review keeps the crew on point.
Red is hyped to hang with Grilo, anytime, anywhere, especially this time in Grilo's homeland. When Red described Grilo he said, "I am amazed at his career, how humble he is, and that he is always down to help the youth."
Caboosing a line of Wildcats, Red Gerard serves one up, proper.
Red Gerard grand finales his Slovenia shred experience hitting this booter on his way out to the Soča Valley below.
A start of a new day. A view of Kanin from our house in the village. Look in closer and see a closed gondola line, abandoned lodge and the massive booter the park crew shaped.
Grilo always on point with his style, on and off hill.
Tim-Kevin Ravnjak,hailing from Ljubljana, Slovenia, is an 2018 Olympic hopeful. TK is competing to qualify in all three freestyle snowboarding events.
TK describes, "When you hear about Slovenia, you definitely don't hear much snowboarding related. Even though our country is very small, it is also very geographical diverse. Up in the Alps, we have amazing terrain for extreme winter sports. Whenever I get to snowboard at home, I am always the happiest."
Ziga came to get down for the right causes. He shares, "With this project, I hope Kanin and the valley of Soča river will start to revive. I love being the part of this story because it is great for the region's growth and it puts Slovenia better on the map of snowboarding."
After this much time in Range Rovers, I wanted one by the time I got back home to the U.S..
Homeboy was stoked to make the lip and every berm smooth as possible with his magic broom.
A new addition to the crew, neighboring countryman, Clemens Millauer came over Austria. In Clemens accent, "What do you zink the speed will be like Grilo?"
Only one way to find out. "Grilo, dropping."
This is the biggest jump Slovenia has designed to date. How stoked do you think Marko was to hit this massive of booter at a resort he grew up riding?
No way any snowmobile in Slovenia would be able tow riders back to the top. This cat had a hard enough time with this steep, slushy slope. Digging deep.
Clemens showed up at the abandoned resort up after Red Gerard left and completely smashed it the two days he was there. You'll be seeing a lot more of Clemens in the near future, as well as in the Grilo's new movie, aiming to launch 2018.
Slovenia's involvement in snowboarding runs deeper than you think. Andro Kajzer has filmed for numerous Burton team movies and other edits.
From high up on the gondola tower's ladder, as the late afternoon wind kicked in, I was to hang on and capture Grilo gapping out to this rail.
Clemens Millauer plants his hand with ease against a scene that pretty much sums up this Kanin shred experience.
Marko "Grilo" Grilc. Holding it down with pride as a legendary ambassador for the Slovenian snowboard scene.
TK admits, "Being up there on Kanin, seeing it abandoned made me a bit sad that we have something so beautiful, but is no longer being used to it's full potential. The whole area just has amazing views and the terrain just offers countless options for being creative and adventurous." Tim Kevin Ravnjak over the T-bar's bullwheel.
It took a few individuals to make this all happen. A lot of passionate people here; riders, cat driver, park crew, and media. Very awesome to see what can happen with the right idea and a dedicated crew.
And Poof! We were out. Video and photos are the living proof of a place worth keeping. Bring back Kanin!
Back into the city. Here's one of my favorite locations in Ljubljana, so far. The Dragon Bridge with the Ljubljana Castle standing out above.
Amazing cultural and snowboard experiences await you in Slovenia. The Ljubljana River leaves a reflection of the city life to enjoy.

Words and Photos: Chris Wellhausen

From the highest of mountain peaks, along the countryside, to the capital city of Ljubljana, Slovenia is a beautiful, environmentally well kept, and preserved country full of interesting people. It's mostly a mountainous country, bordered by Italy, Austria, Hungary, and the Adriatic Sea. The snowboarding here is super fun as well. This is the place that Marko "Grilo" Grilc grew up and learned to snowboard.

I made my first visit to Slovenia, meeting up with Grilo for a TWSNOW story six years ago with Ethan Deiss and Zak Hale. We toured the country and searched out the snowboarding culture in a place that hasn't had a lot of exposure. Throughout Slovenia, there are four resorts their snowboard community frequents; Vogel, Rogla, Kranska Gora, and Kanin.

The landscape of Slovenia is breathtaking. A perspective from Vogel’s tram over Lake Bled. PHOTO: Chris Wellhausen

ADVERTISEMENT

What we found was a passionate scene and one that welcomed us in with a lot of stoke. Grilo showed us the best of times, to say the least. The terrain parks of Vogel and Rogla emitted scenes of vibrancy, youth, and growth. Riding the other resorts was really enjoyable. Their architecture, freeride and urban potential along with the easy access to all of these resorts within a relatively short drive from the metropolitan city of Ljubljana. This entire experience put a fresh perspective on the excitement of snowboarding and travel. There’s also quite a few amazing contributions Slovenian snowboarders have been responsible for in our global snowboard community if you didn’t already know. Riders like Grilo, Tim-Kevin Ravnjak, and Cilka Sadar have each made their mark in Big Air, Slopestyle, Pipe, and becoming Olympic hopefuls. On the other side of the lens, cinematographer Andro Kajzer has filmed for Burton team movies and other edits.

Slovenian countryman, Marko “Grilo” Grilc. PHOTO: Chris Wellhausen

Grilo travels the world for shredding far more places than most snowboarders, especially filming for his projects, The Grilosodes. Besides numerous visits to North America, usual locations in Europe, he’s produced Grilosodes in Morocco, South Africa, Australia, and Dubai.

Last season, I was with Grilo on a photoshoot in British Columbia. As we were catching up, we spoke about his new movie project and locations he'd be including in it. He definitely expressed wanting to showcase riding from Slovenia. He proceeded to inform me that since our 2011 visit that the resort Kanin had closed down, left abandoned, and he had arrangements in motion to build a dream park set-up. I knew the moment that Grilo mentioned the idea of setting up a shoot at Kanin, I wanted to make sure TWSNOW was involved again.

A start of a new day. A view of Kanin from our house in the village. Look in closer and see closed gondola line, mid mountain lodge and the massive booter the park crew pushed. PHOTO: Chris Wellhausen

With an elevation reaching 7500 feet and snow records describing an average of 430 inches seasonally, you can understand why Kanin was more of the freeriders choice in the Slovenian resorts. The terrain features and the aesthetics of the landscape around this place are also unreal. A unique snowboarding experience that this resort offers is that is borders Italy and you can ride over to the joint resort of Salle Nevea.

For two weeks before our arrival, Grilo had a park crew shape features. He invited a tight crew of Slovenian riders, as well as bringing in Red Gerard from the U.S., and Clemens Millauer from Austria. The stage was set for one hell of a good time. Scroll through the gallery above for a glimpse into what we experienced.

Check out more photo features here. 

ADVERTISEMENT