Internationale Divisionsskimeisterschaften 2014

In response to the kind invitation of »Kameradenkreis der Gebirgstruppe e.V.«, IFMS Secretary General Brigadier General Bojan Pograjc attended the »Internationale Divisions-Skimeisterschaften (IDSM 2014) « organised by »10. Panzerdivision« of the German Army in Bad Reichenhall and Ruhlpolding (Ciemgau-Arena) between 12 and 14 March.

It is worth mentioning that the event was sponsored by a multiple Olympic luge gold medallist Georg Hackl, also a military. In line with the tradition, Brigadier General Pograjc, in addition to engaging in fruitful meetings with competition organisers and representatives of the German organisation of military mountaineers, presented the winning Swiss military ski patrol team with an IFMS cup.

New Leadership of the Slovenian National Organization of Mountain Soldiers

On Saturday, 18 January 2014, the Slovenian National Organization of Mountain Soldiers elected new leadership. The former President of the organization, Brigadier General (ret.) Janez Kavar, who concluded his second and last mandate under statute, was replaced by Colonel (ret.) Fedja Vraničar.

Brigadier General (ret.) Kavar will be remembered for his exceptional work enthusiasm and efforts reaching beyond the activities of the Slovenian National Organization. In addition to paving the way for excellent bilateral cooperation with A.N.A., members of the National Organization of the US 10th Mountain Division and mountain soldiers of the newly acceded member Montenegro, he ennobled the activity of IFMS itself on a number of occasions as a man of ideas and action in particular.

Colonel (ret.) Vraničar is a polyglot, an active participant of IFMS events in the recent years and well-known among Slovenian mountain soldiers as the first commander of the 1st Mountain Battalion that was established upon Slovenia's declaration of independence in 1991.

It should also be mentioned that the Slovenian National Organization appointed Lieutenant Colonel Anže Rode, the present commander of the 132nd Mountain Regiment of the Slovenian Armed Forces, its Vice President, which will undoubtedly strengthen the excellent relations already existing between the Slovenian National Organization of Mountain Soldiers and the active duty personnel of the Slovenian Armed Forces. This could certainly be taken as an example worth following by other national organizations of mountain soldiers.

On Mt. Mangart history and future were tied

Sept. 5th, 2013: On a beautiful summer afternoon with the majestic Mt. Mangart in the background, representatives from the US State Department, the 10th Mountain Division and Slovenian political and mountain military dignitairies met to unveil plaques at the exact spot where soldiers from the US 10th Mountain Division set up a giant slalom race course on June 3rd, 1945. The ski race and that part of history have been largely forgotten in Slovenia and the United States until a photo of Mt. Mangart has been recognized in a memorial to the 10th Mountain Division in Vail, Colorado ten years ago. Thanks to Slovenia initiative and the US Embassy's donation, the 10th Mountain Division under the auspices of the IFMS now has two impressive plaques to commemorate this race. This week the IFMS was holding their annual Congress in Gorizia organized by both the Italian and Slovenian delegations.

The IFMS was represented at the ceremony by the IFMS Secretary Boštjan Blaznik and Anna Marie Mattson, representing the 10th Mountain Divison. Several Americans from Colorado also attended. Camp Hale in Colorado is where the 10th Mountain Division trained during World War II. The history of the ski race unfolded with the war ending in Europe on May 8th, 1945 and the 10th Mountain Divison troops who were awaiting their next assignment to Japan. They were being stationed in then Yugoslavia. On June 3rd, Pfc Karl Stingl set up a steep giant slalom course below the peak of Mt. Mangart. 76 competitors without practice and with ski gear gathered from all corners participated. Sgt. Walter Prager (1:05.2) came in first place followed by Sgt. Steve Knowlton (1.11.2) in second and Pfc Sigi Engel in third (1.13.4). Only 25 crossed the finish line. There were around 500 spectators. Walter Prager would later serve as Coach on the US ski team during the winter Olympics in St. Moritz.

At the ceremony US Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli made the following statement : We should not live in the past, but we ought to take inspiration from it. It is important, now and then, to look back and to celebrate our past—even as we speed into the future. I was here for the commemorative race in June of 2011 and I remarked then how important it is that we never forget our common history. It is thanks to all of you that we now have a permanent monument to this event and our friendship. This monument serves not only to preserve the memory of our common history, but also as a symbol of our shared future as partners. We at the US Embassy are dedicated to ensuring that we never forget this friendship.

IFMS Congress was held in Gorizia and Kobarid

The Italian national organization of mountain soldiers ANA (Associazione Nazionale Alpini)  and the Slovenian national organization ZVGS (Združenje vojaških gornikov) joined the efforts in organizing of the XXVIII IFMS Congress. The Congress, held in a working and an amicable atmosphere, provided again an occasion to reaffirm the member states’ commitments on fostering the common values of mountain soldiers. Though main of the events took place in Italy, Slovenia hosted IFMS day in Kobarid, which was joined with the Executive Committee meeting.

Congress itself presented some very significant conclusions and moments. For the first time, it has been co-organized by two nations. Also for the first time, the congress has been merged with the IFMS Day. IFMS Statues changes have been agreed and confirmed by national secretaries. It has been also agreed that IFMS workshops will take place each year in order to discuss main organizational issues and future development of the IFMS.

Furthermore at the Executive Committee it has been unanimously agreed by all nations that Montenegro national association »Kapetan« has fulfilled all the necessary actions in order to become full member of the IFMS. At the assembly short ceremony was held. The effort of Montenegro to join IFMS was mentored by Slovenia. Once again good luck Montenegro and welcome among us!

Recipients of the IFMS medals at the XXVIII IFMS Congress were:

  • Major Jean-Luc BONNAIRE
  • Chasseur Jean-Louis RAMBAUD
  • Dr. Jan Stanisław CIECHANOWSKI
  • Dipl. Col. Adam MAZGZGULA
  • Ssgt. Tomaž LEBAN
  • Mr. Slavko DELALUT
  • Mr. Lucio VADORI

During the Congress Meyer of Gorizia and Meyer of Bovec prepared reception for all the delegates.

Secretary General, Brigadier General Bojan Pograjc, was due to his commitments as KFOR Deputy Commander, deputized by Colonel Boštjan Blaznik. Brigadier General Bojan Pograjc will join the delegates at the IFMS workshop which will take place in Slovenia at the end of November 2013. During the assembly video clip with his message was presented to the delegates. 

We are already looking forward to visit Switzerland in 2014. The Congress will take place in Andermatt.

Cooperation between Slovenia (ZVGS) and Montenegro (Kapetan)

It is expected that at the Assembly of the 28. IFMS Congress in Gorizia military mountaneers gathered to association »Kapetan« will become a full member of the IFMS. The efforts of Montenegro has been mentored by Slovenia. At the end of July three days working visit has been conducted to Montenegro. The visit took place in a relaxing and friendly athmosphere. That was also an excellent occassion to discuss further details of the IFMS role and tasks. During the visit also some Montenegro military mountaneering units has been visited. Equipment, armamment and skills has been also presented in a dynamic way through the military exercise.

Montenegro itself is a beautiful mountaneering country. But also a young country which become independent in 2006. We are convinced that spirit and enthusiasm from Montenegro will reach to all the other IFMS nations.

Good luck Montenegro and wellcome among us!




Celebration marking the International day of Mountain Soldiers

On Friday 24 May, a celebration was held at Defense center in Poljče to mark the International Day of Mountain Soldiers. On that day in 1985, the International Federation of Mountain Soldiers (IFMS) was founded in Mittenwald, Germany. General Albin Gutman president of the Slovene officers assocciation began his ceremonial speech by expressing his congratulations to the ‘grey berets’ (mountain soldiers) and emphasizing the values of mountain soldiers.

Although pervaded by a ceremonial atmosphere, the meeting, as usual, also provided an opportunity to cover expert topics. Mrs Marjeta Keršič Svetel gave an interesting and remarkable lecture on historical view and her personal relationship towards mountains. BG (Retired) Janez Kavar introduced  the historical background of the various mountain battles with special attention to the attendance of Slovenian soldiers in mountain units.

The ceremony, which included the performance of the mountain soldier choir Gorščaki, was organized by the Slovenian Organisation of Mountain Soldiers and Multinational Centre of Excellence for Mountain Warfare.

Dear mountain soldiers, friends, acquaintances and colleagues,

24 May is the international day of us, mountain soldiers. It is our wish to celebrate this day among ourselves as members of the big family of national organizations, joined into the international federation, and with all those sharing our values.

Freedom, peace, respect for human rights, comradeship and attitude of respect for all soldiers who died in the mountains, intertwined with our lasting and also purely personal attachment to mountain nature, build our common bridge of reminder and progress from the bank of the past across the river of the present to the bank of the future.

Of the future, which you, in particular, like me, deployed to military missions around the world, far away from our families, are shaping on this very day. There are many of us. We are united through our mountaineering competence and our strong will power which guides us, and through our loyalty to the mountains that stretches beyond national borders.

I extend my sincere congratulations to you and wish you at the same time a lot of safety and luck on mountain paths, climbing routes and snow-covered and icy slopes while you perform your military duties, prepare for them or merely remember the time of your mountain activity in your life that has left a feather or an edelweiss on your military hat.

Brigadier General Bojan Pograjc                                                              Secretary-General of the IFMS                                                                   Deputy Commander of NATO-led Kosovo Force


Military mountain guides BG Bojan Pograjc (SVN) and SFC Mathias Breindl (GER) on the top of Mt. Kobilica (2528 m) in the Shar Mountains during their mission in KFOR Photo: SFC Thorsten Jakobs (GER)

Adunata Nazionale, May 2013

Upon the invitation of the Italian Alpini organisation A.N.A. national delegations of Germany, Slovenia, Spain, France, Switzerland and Montenegro have participated at the 86th Adunata Nazionale in the beautifull town of Piacenza.

This unique event has once again gathered mountaineers in a friendly and relaxing athmosphere. During Adunata short working meeting of the national secretaries has been also conducted. Main issues of the meeting where orientated to the next IFMS Congress and changes of the IFMS Statute.

Once again many thanks to our Italian friends for the organisation and invitation to attend at the Adunata Nazionale 2013.



IFMS Congress 2013

Dear comrads,

XXVIII IFMS Congress is approaching very fast. Italian and Slovenian national organisations are doing a lot of efforts in order to organise fruithfull and interesting events.

Since the Congress is organised by two neighbouring countries in different locations delegates will be able to visit beautifull spots and places from both sides of the border.

You have probvably noticed that at the IFMS website is a new link which enables you to follow news regarding next IFMS Congress in September.

This time you can read invitation which will be followed with the detailed program soon.

Cooperation between the Slovenian and Austrian national organizations of mountain soldiers

The cooperation between both organizations was built up on the initiative of the commanders of Jägerbattalion 25 of the Austrian Bundesheer from Klagenfurt and the Slovenian Armed Forces’ 132nd Mountain Battalion based in Bohinjska Bela.
This August, following the invitation of the Khevenhüller 7er Bund from Klagenfurt, a delegation of the Slovenian Organisation of Mountain Soldiers attended a memorial ceremony held on the Plöcken Pass, which is located between Timau in Italy and Kotschach-Mauthen in Austria. During this event, it was also agreed to determine possible concrete forms of future bilateral contacts at the next working meetings in Slovenia.
The second meeting took place in October in Slovenia on the Ljubelj Pass and focused on the cooperation of both organizations based on basic common values and friendship.
This year members of the Khevenhüller 7er Bund already took part in the memorial hike 'Krn 1918 - 2012'. Furthermore, members of the Slovenian Organisation of Mountain Soldiers attended the Advent festivities in the Khevenhüller barracks in Klagenfurt. The Slovenian delegation which consisted of as many as fourteen members and supporters was met with amicable attention and hospitality.

After the traditional Advent mass in the military chapel, the delegation visited the largest barracks in Klagenfurt, which houses the Austrian red berets and a well arranged museum of the 7th Khevenhüller Regiment.
In January, our Austrian friends will participate in the traditional ski competition Partizanske smučine 2013 in Cerkno. Members of the Slovenian Organisation of Mountain Soldiers will attend the traditional memorial hike in Rožna dolina in Koroška. In the future, the organizations will also join their efforts in studying the common Slovenian and Austrian military history.



















Secretary General speech