Brezovica ski resort includes some 39,000 hectares of high alpine terrain and forests, and offers an average of 128 ski-able days a year. The new investment will mean it can host 15,000 skiers simultaneously.
Things are about to change for the sport in Europe’s newest country as developers plan to rebuild and vastly expand the industry there.
Then last April, a French consortium signed a contract with Kosovo’s Trade and Industry Ministry to bring Brezovica back to life; the plan was so ambitious that many locals weren’t sure if it was true. A group of some of the world’s biggest leisure resort development firms — MDP Consulting, the engineering firm Egis and the Compagnie des Alpes, the world’s largest ski area management company behind French ski resorts like Val d’Isère, Tignes and Méribel — agreed to invest half a billion dollars, about 410 million euros, over the next 17 years to make Brezovica one of the largest, if not the largest, mountain resorts in the Balkans. According to Jill Jamieson, a consultant who has worked on the finance package, that is the single largest private investment in the country since the war, if not ever.
The scope of the proposal is mind-boggling. The consortium has until May to put the financing in order, meaning work could begin this summer. When complete, the resort, at 8,000 acres, will be the size of one and a half Vails, nearly all of which is skiable and inside a national park. It will have the vertical drop of a Crested Butte, about 2,600 feet. The number of hotel beds will grow from 700 to 7,000 — three times as many currently available across the entire country. Visitors will have 100 miles of slopes, high-speed lifts and three gondola-linked villages. Two international airports, Pristina and Skopje, are no more than a 90-minute drive. One day Brezovica might even provide a more budget-friendly alternative to skiing in the Alps.
“Kosovo is absolutely ready for something like this,” said Pascal Roux, the chief executive of MDP Consulting and leader of the French consortium. “Brezovica could be the pearl of the Balkans.
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