November 30, 2018 — How’d you like to strap on a pair of skis and careen past old houses on a Dalmatian island? Then cap off the night with a stiff drink? Iž will once again host its “Iška Kraljica”, the only ski race on a Dalmatian island, on Dec. 22.
The goofy idea of hosting a ski event on a damn-near abandoned, and balmy island off the coast of Zadar was met with its fair share skeptics last year.
The first-ever Iška Kraljica’s popularity exceeded anyone’s expectations, especially the organizers who came up with the idea as a goofy joke. The rest of the world took it seriously.
This year’s version is already livening up a the island, which spends most of winter in deep hibernation, according to Zadarski List.
[Full disclosure: The author of this piece lives on Iž. He looked out the window and can confirm he saw no human activity. At least nothing resembling this:]
The usual mix of food and beverages will be available, with the addition of a live concert and special guests.
The island’s only hotel, Korinjak, will open its doors as well, the first time in 15 years its been active for the winter.
It’s already fully booked, according to the game of broken telephone common to almost all small Dalmatian islands.
The popularity of last year’s inaugural ski race on a Dalmatian island took many by surprise.
Organizers from the island’s community board gathered sponsorships, Advent houses and the odds and ends to pull off the event, sure. They even got dump trucks from Lika to deliver tons of snow for the event.
Yet they didn’t expect the sizable crowd of over one thousand, with skiers showing up from all around Europe and giggling their way down the Dalmatian version of a bunny slope which cut through one of the less-crowded portions of the village.
The island itself wasn’t prepared either; food joints were emptied before midnight and the booze ran dry as well.
In the end, it was the most talked-about event in Zadar’s entire Advent program, and drew the most media attention, according to Ante Galić of the Zadar Tourism Board.
The genesis of “Iška Kraljica” has become a part of local lore; the result of a few bored island residents shooting the breeze and playing off Zagreb’s “Snow Queen” ski race, laying out the dumb idea of hosting their own version. They even swiped the royal monicker (“Iška Kraljica” translate’s to “Iž’s Queen”.)
The “race” formally starts at 7 p.m., although last year the arrival of the snow and day-long build-up proved as eventful as the skiing itself.
There should be enough food and booze to last the night this time.
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