Last year around Valentine's Day, a crowd of twenty thousand people gathered underneath the Rajhovka peak to give a hearty and excited welcome to the world's women ski jumping elite, including our devilish Slovenians. While ski jumping is becoming one of the most popular winter sports in Slovenia and around the world, gaining new fans everywhere with every passing year, the beginning of the love story that connects it with Ljubno and its inhabitants lies many years in the past.
More than seventy years ago, Stanko Bloudek, commonly known as the father of Planica, stepped onto the Rajhovka and put down the first stake. Doing so, he forever cemented the fate of Ljubno, a village in the Upper Savinja Valley, whose people were bound to become inextricably linked with ski jumping. It is precisely with their help that a new ski jump was soon erected above the village – a ski jump that remains a proud feature of the Upper Savinja Valley until this very day.
Much has changed in Ljubno in the past seventy years, except for the unwavering desire of the people of Ljubno to keep the Rajhovka ski jump one of the most popular locations of women's ski jumping in the world. With the 2011 introduction of the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup Ladies, which foresaw Ljubno as the location of one of its races, the longtime wish of many a resident who dedicated their time to the Upper Savinja Valley ski jump came to fruition. Ljubno became the smallest place in the world to host a World Cup race.
Although many investments have been made into the renovation and renewal of infrastructure, without which Ljubno would not be able to compete with bigger and better developed World Cup locations, every single participant is aware that Ljubno is special because of something else. It is special because of its people and the loyal fans who live and breathe for ski jumping together with the ski jumpers, and make sure that year after year all those attending the race feel the love that connects the Upper Savinja Valley with this sport.