State-of-the-art climbing centre opens in Prevalje
Prevalje, 9 December - A climbing centre providing both indoor and outdoor facilities was inaugurated in Prevalje in the north of the country on Saturday. The EUR 5 million investment boasts more than 2,200 m2 of climbing areas as well as an astronomical observatory. Climbing star Janja Garnbret intends to train there as well.
The centre, which includes an outdoor via ferrata, is one of the biggest investments ever in the Prevalje municipality and the second multi-million investment there this year.
The municipality is located in the Koroška region, an area heavily hit by the August floods, and the previous multi-million investment in Prevalje in 2023 was to build a new water supply system since the old one was destroyed by the flooding.
The new climbing centre is considered a harbinger of good things to come since it will promote sport, including among children, and help boost tourism.
Prevalje Mayor Matic Tasič told the inauguration ceremony that the centre featured unique equipment and was one of the most attractive in the world.
Garnbret, a Koroška native, was an "extremely strong impetus and motive" for the investment, he added. But what was the main reason to build the centre was the fact that children's and young people's fitness levels are lagging far behind their parents' performance at their age.
The centre welcomes all generations and people of different climbing proficiency levels. Beginners, professionals and everyone in between can enjoy its facilities, and on top of that, the venue will also provide rehabilitation programmes.
Garnbret, a 24-year-old Olympic champion already considered the best female competition climber of all times, told the press that the centre was built "with heart and soul" and expressed satisfaction that sports climbing is developing well.
She intends to train and prepare for the next Olympic Games at the centre, and is hopeful that another world champion or Olympic champion will be shaped there.
The project's construction took a year and a half. Andrej Gradišnik, a mountaineer and director of the Vertis group whose Koroška-based company Vertikala-X built the centre, described the project as a unique challenge.
The centre was co-funded by the ministry responsible for sport and the Eco Fund, but the biggest source of financing was an anonymous donation of EUR 2 million.
Minister of the Economy, Tourism and Sport Matjaž Han believes the centre will attract not only sports enthusiasts but also tourists from around the world, thereby resulting in an added value for tourism.
"Whatever the government, good projects from previous governments must be supported. And this is one of the projects we carry on implementing. And I believe there will be more projects like this," the minister said.
The ceremony was also attended by former President Borut Pahor, an avid runner, and former Prime Minister Janez Janša, who is known to enjoy mountaineering.
At the end of the event, Janša and Mayor Tasič climbed to the top of the centre's 17-metre wall.