Asen Trenchev: Ecology is not just an environment
Asen Trenchev
Ecologist, a 15-time winner of cross-country skiing among veterans

Asen Trenchev: Ecology is not just an environment

In the Pirin National Park located in southwestern Bulgaria, an environmental campaign on garbage collection was held. It was organized by the Sports Veterans’ Club from the town of Bansko. About a hundred physically vigorous aged people went to the mountains with their children and grandchildren. Active lifestyle enthusiasts did not deliver heartfelt speech speeches and appeals. They just took big bags and went along the trails familiar from their childhood.


The oldest participant is 89 years old. This is Asen Trenchev, a 15-time winner of cross-country skiing among veterans. Together with the famous champion Mark Girardelli, he annually opens the mountain skiing season in Bansko skiing down the mountain. And in summer, Asen collects garbage in the mountains. Our correspondent in the Balkans who also took part in this action talked with the legendary veteran.


- How long ago was your Club established?

- Our veteran organization has been around for 12 years.

- And who are its members?

- First, only skiers gathered in the Club, and then enthusiasts of other sports joined us such as climbers, biathlonists, cyclists. We welcome different types of outdoor activities.

- How often do you collect garbage in the mountains?

- 3-4 times a year. In addition, we take part in environmental campaigns organized by the Pirin Park Directorate. Usually, they all held in summer.

- Today, I saw dozens of bags filled with garbage collected in the mountains. Where does it come from?

- Many tourists come to us. I don’t want to say that they litter purposely, but when skiing, plastic sports equipment is used that often breaks. So, we collect the broken skis and slalom flags, detached parts of snowboarding equipment, pieces of protective mats, broken glasses and much more small things. Certainly, bottles are also thrown away, but this happens rather rare now. In recent years, tourists have been littering less. And athletes are always passionate and responsible people.


- Like you?

- Yes. (He laughs).

- Today, there are not only athletes from your Club, but also ordinary citizens are here. How do you persuade them to collect garbage instead of having a rest on the weekend?

- Well, I don’t have to persuade anyone. In our region, the mountains are a home for everyone, they work and relax here. And practically everyone goes in for sports. Look at these children, they couldn’t really walk yet, but they were already skiing.

- Do your children ski, too?

- Sure.

- How many children do you have?

- Three sons and they have their own children and grandchildren - my great-grandchildren. They also love these mountains. In addition, at the end of the day, we get together for a dinner. Do you see those huge kettles over there? A festive meal is being cooked there. But this is not just delicious food. This is a traditional rite - a ‘kurban’. A priest will come to consecrate bread and water, give a prayer for the health of those present. That will be a fest for everyone!


- Since you are talking about health, share the secret of your vigor and activity with us?

- I will tell you a terrible secret - sports in any form! In winter, I go skiing, and in summer, I walk a lot along the trails laid in the Pirin Park, I ride a bicycle. I do some physical exercises at home. I do exercises not only for muscles and joints, but even for ears and eyes according to Karim Norbekov’s system (he turns his eyes in different directions). I also drink ...

- The famous Bulgarian vodka - rakee?

- No. The famous Bulgarian sour milk. At least 4 litres per week. I drink alcohol quite a bit, only on holidays.

- What food do you prefer?

- A little bit of meat and a lot of fruits and vegetables. I love sweet cherries, pears and apples. I make freshly squeezed juices every day, for example, from kiwi with banana, or mandarin with melon. I eat watermelons in summer. But in fact, this is not so important.

- ???

- The main thing is to get pleasure from everything you do. Look around - what a beauty! This landscape alone heals and makes you feel younger. And if you do not appreciate and cherish this, no sports will help you. After all, the ecology is not just an environment. This is what is inside us.