Power, Sports and Humor

For many years a big part of my life was my career as a power system automation engineer. Throughout the years of my employment by Iskra, largest electronic equipment manufacturer in Yugoslavia, and Korona Power Engineering Company, which I established with four partners in 1988 (and is still doing well), I worked on many positions both as a development and design engineer as well as marketing and general manager.

This challenged me to find solutions to different kinds of problems while at the same time were the driving force behind my hobbies.  On one hand I had to keep my body in good shape in order to be able to handle the professional challenges – this is where running, skiing and hiking come into play.  On the other hand I had to survive the corporate environment – this is where humor is a necessity.

Running
I started running very late, when I was about 30 years old. At that time, it was the beginning of the "running fashion" in Slovenia. It was not as popular as it is now (more than 15000 placed runners at 42, 21 and 10 km distances at Ljubljana marathon on 26.10.2014).

At the time I found running as the most economical way of using free time to keep my physical condition at the needed level to be able to face all my professional duties. Running was perfectly complemented by my skiing and hiking hobbies (and sometimes a source of humoristic ideas). And you never know when it can help you make life more exciting. One such example is when I once had a bet with my summer holidays landlord:

  • We both had to start from Duba and reach Trpanj (at the Dalmatian peninsula Peljesac, Croatia)
  • He was to do it with his motorboat - first walking approximately 600 m from his house to port Duba, then starting the boat and riding it approximately 6 km to port Trpanj
  • I was to run on land. The distance from Duba to Trpanj is approximately 14 km with more than 100 m difference in height
  • The result was not very good for him. He was not happy seeing me swimming in a bay of the Trpanj port - I arrived just one minute before him

With running I also try to push myself. I had run two full marathons (42 km 195 m). I have also run many half-marathons (21 km), as well as many 10 km races. My greatest accomplishment is 4 h 12 min at the Three Hearts Marathon in Kranj, Slovenia in 1984 (all together only 132 participants!!!).

Skiing
I started skiing on the 6th of December 1951, when St. Clause brought me my first pair of skies. I enjoyed it so much that after skiing the whole afternoon I almost forgot to go home in the evening. Skiing is one of the most popular Slovenian national sports - so I was just following the tradition. But because of who I am, I was pushing the tradition a little bit.  For example, this was skiing down the steep slope of the Jalovec Mountain (2645 m), Slovenia.  In fact it is approximately 40° - and for sure beyond my ability limits, but after doing it luckily on 4 February 2005 together with my son Marko, I felt it was a great accomplishment for both of us.

Later I switched to cross country skiing. It is definitely not as fast as downhill skiing, but requires a lot of endurance. And as you can imagine, I would not just do 5 km runs. I have to push myself to see if I can still do it.

My greatest accomplishments in cross country skiing are:

  • Four times I participated as a member of a Slovenian team at RR - Rajalta Rajale -  a 440 km race across Finland - from the Russian to the Swedish Border
  • Once (in 2006) I participated in the HHS (Hiihtäen Halki Suomen), III Skiing across Finland. This is an1800 km cross country skiing tour which started on 3 March 2006 from Virolahti (in the south of Finland) and finished on 4 April at the shores of the Arctic Ocean

Hiking
I started hiking before skiing – more or less as a child I was more with my neighbor friends Tone (Antoine), Dušan and Vinko (Vincent) then at home. When I was 10 years old I joined the Scouts movement and later as a student I was hitch-hiking a lot (usually between my University town Ljubljana and my home place - 100 km each direction).
My first longer hitch-hiking tour was to Sweden in 1965. I even did it in October 1969 on my honeymoon with my wife Vlasta to Naples and Vesuvius in Italy.

During all the years of my employment I recharged my batteries in the mountains – in Slovenia, as well as abroad. Together with my Iskra company co-workers and my wife Vlasta we climbed two famous peaks in the Alps:

  • Mont Blanc (4810 m), August 1973, summit
  • Matterhorn (4477 m), August 1974, summit

I retired on 30 June 2004. The very next day, I made an ascent to the Ojstrica peak (2.350 m) in the Kamnik–Savinja Alps.

I practically visit this mountain every year, because my best friend Elko slided from that summit to his death in December 1970. My last ascent was in October this year (OJSTRICA-12.10.14).

After my retirement in 2004 I went to Nepal to try to conquer one of the "easiest" Himalayas' summits over 6000 m. I choose Damphus Peak (6012 m) close to Annapurna Circle and Mount Dhaulagiri (8167 m).
The third day of ascension reaching approximately 5.600 m without having any problems my guide decided we are too late for the summit and we must return (it was "only" two o'clock p.m.! and the weather was fine).

Disappointed I returned to Kathmandu, took another Sherpa named Yam, flew together with him back to Jomsom and walked to village Marpha. We started   to ascend at noon and without longer breaks we mounted the whole afternoon, evening, night, morning and at noon next day we reached approximately the same altitude as the first time.
Due to the quick elevation (3000 m in 24 hours) I got altitude sickness, which made me giving up of my summit goal and results in my very slow moving, so we must overnight outside (without a tent and even slipping bags - brrrrrrrrrr). But also this never ending night finally ran out and when the first sun rays warmed us, we started to descend and safely arrived to the valley.

This experience was a serious warning for me and at the same times stimulation to return to Nepal again and again, where I succeeded to accomplish:

  • Chulu Far East (6059 m), October 2005, summit
  • Damphus Peak (6012 m), November 2005, summit
  • Island Peak (6160 m), November 2007, summit
  • Mera Peak (6461 m), November 2008; reached approx. 5800 m - wind over 100 km/h
  • Mera Peak (6461 m), April 2009; summit

Humor
I still remember my father laughing heartily when my mother was reading from Pavliha, former humoristic newspaper. Maybe this atmosphere helped me developing my inherited sense of humor. I made progress by reading my favorites funny stories book "Butalci" from Slovenian writer Fran Milinski and tried to imitate his style in my school themes. My teachers noticed this and stimulated me to develop my talent what led me to become a contributor to Pavliha. As "štrk" ("Stork" - my pen name) I was writing short humoristic and satiric funny stories, poems, epigrams, aphorisms, travesties, limericks etc.

I participated at all three Slovene festivals of humour and satire Aritas-satirA, where also my wife Vlasta took part. At the first ARITAS Šmarje '95 I was present with aphorisms. At the second ARITAS Šmarje '98 I was nominated for a literature prize, same as at the third ARITAS Šmarje 2001. There for the first time I participated with a caricature. The subject was criticism on too many Slovenian traffic accidents victims due to over speeding.  It was called SLO-VENEC - a game of words based on the first three letters of SLOvenian and VENEC (the Slovenian word for funeral wreath - see Figure 7.)

Another cartoon is called ANGELS - a parody on drivers’ behavior when they see the police.

In 2003 I published by myself my first book of so called "Latin aphorisms". The English translation of the Latin title "RIDE SI SAPIS" is "Laugh if you are wise." This is my greatest accomplishment; all of the 4000 printed copies were sold.

 My story would not be complete without mention of my family. 
I met Vlasta 50 years ago; we have been married for 44 years, and have two sons, Marko and Matej, who inherited from us their love for music, sports and humor. 
I owe to my family, especially to my wife, a great debt of gratitude for all understanding and support, without which all of my activities would not have been possible.

Besides all of my described activities, I have at all times looked for something more, to make me happy. I had great luck finding a Master, who showed me a way to find inner peace. He is the highly respected international speaker and ambassador of Peace - Prem Rawat. I shall always be grateful to Him for His help.

 

Biography:

Bostjan Skorjak received a B.Sc.E.E. from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He started his career at ISKRA Ljubljana in the Department of Automation Equipment for Hydro Power Plants, later becoming Head of Development group, Director of the Marketing Department for Automation, Remote Control and Telecommunication Systems and Director of ISKRA Factory for Power Engineering Equipment. From 1987 to 2002 he worked at KORONA Power Engineering as General Manager and Marketing Director. From 2002 to 2004 he was Project manager at Cement Plant Trbovlje. He retired in 2004. He was Secretary of the Yugoslav CIGRE Study Subcommittee for hydro power plants and has published several papers.

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