Ski suffering, or winter fun

12 March 2020 Travel time: with 12 February 2020 on 19 February 2020
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Bansko - mountains or bars?

I wanted to go skiing. I didn’t even have to think about where to go - my Bulgarian friends and colleagues from summer work in Sunny Beach had been insistently inviting me to come to them in Bansko, a popular ski resort in Bulgaria, for several weeks: “Here you have mountains and skis, and bars, and discos, and even snow! Let's get ready quickly before it melts! ". Well, how can you resist? I found cheap plane tickets and flew to Sofia, where my friends met me and brought me to Bansko.

Bansko is a small town at the foot of the Pirin Mountains in southwestern Bulgaria, 157 km from Sofia. It has everything for a comfortable stay: hotels, guest houses, numerous restaurants, spas, ski rentals, as well as a very convenient modern gondola lift that takes skiers to the ski area. Winter holidays in Bulgaria are considered one of the cheapest in Europe, so tourists from the UK, Croatia, Sweden, Israel and many other countries come here to ski and soak in the thermal springs.

The cost of renting ski equipment per day is about 15 euros, ski-pass for all the slides is 35 euros per day, the discount system is already in effect for the next day. If you don’t know how to ride at all, it’s worth hiring an instructor, although this is not cheap - 70 euros for 2 hours, but for a large company this price is quite acceptable. But even with an instructor for the first time to conquer the mountain peaks is very difficult. Due to the abnormally warm winter, the snow on the tracks is artificial, it is sprayed from special snow guns. The tracks quickly become very slippery, it is simply dangerous for skiers without experience to go down them, even very experienced athletes get injured, what can we say about us, the unfortunate "dummies".

Not easy!

"Not easy! " (“It's not easy! ” - English) - the tall guy groaned sadly, once again falling on the fifth point on the training hill. He tried to snowboard, but I struggled with my skis. It is easy to fall on skis, but it is difficult to get up - you must first unhook the skis from the boots, and the bindings on them are rigid. Reaching them with your hands, lying on the snow in an uncomfortable position, is really not an easy task. I had to do everything myself, since I didn’t reserve an instructor for myself - I was greedy. Once upon a time I was skiing at the Ukrainian ski resort in Rakhiv, and I thought that I could handle it, but... Winter fun is not for pampered princesses.

In the queue for tickets to the mountain, I got into a conversation with two guys from Russia. They turned out to be experienced skiers and advised me to get to the beginning of the ski slopes by taxi. “It will be faster, so we will save at least two hours, ” they said. Indeed, there was a huge queue for the gondola, and by taxi we got to the top in ten minutes, and it cost only 5 euros per person. Further on the lift we climbed even higher. As soon as I got off the lift, I immediately fell. The guys unhooked my skis from my boots, helped me up and rushed off to ride. I hardly got back on my skis, even managed to get to the cafe without a series of shameful falls. I drank coffee, decided that I was scared, and “triumphantly” went down on the lift to the station with training slides.

Landscapes, of course, are beautiful - blue sky, snow-capped mountains and firs... But the money for the ski-pass has been paid, you have to ride. I mastered only three descents on the training hill, fell the same number of times, then spat on all these ski "fun" and went down to the city. A girl with an instructor rode with me in the same gondola and wept softly. Apparently, she also fell many times on a damn snowboard. I rented skis and safely forgot about them, the next day my friends organized a snowmobile trip through the mountains for me. It was not as traumatic as mastering the skis, and enjoying Bulgarian dishes and tasting brandy in cozy mehans in the Pirin Mountains is very pleasant. “Why do you need these mountains, you better go to bars! ” my friends laughed at me.

A snowmobile is more comfortable than skis)

The bars and restaurants in Bansko are really very good. Delicious dishes - the quality of food is much better than in the summer in Sunny Beach, large portions, affordable prices. In the evening, numerous pubs and nightclubs open up where you can dance the night away. The evening life of Bansko is very reminiscent of the Sunny Beach nightlife - the same characters, only down jackets and high boots instead of T-shirts and shorts. Professional live bands play in restaurants, and almost everyone sings in these small musical groups, even drummers. Not like ours - the whole evening one soloist on stage suffers. Therefore, the guys sing for 4-6 hours without a break, they sing really cool, and in such pubs there is no end to customers. Entrance is free everywhere, you can just stand, listen, dance and leave. If you do not need to ski in the morning, you can wander around the establishments until the morning.

The guys from the Amigo pub sing awesome! I think they play somewhere in Sunny Beach as well

During the day in Bansko, you can walk along Pirin Street - there are many shops, cafes, a market, the Church of the Holy Trinity and even a dumplings shop - for those who are tired of sour Bulgarian dishes. From clothes you can buy a warm hat in the form of a bull, a cat or a parrot, colored gloves, scarves, there is also a good shoe store, from authentic souvenirs - a magnet with a woolen sheep or a Cooker figurine. Kuker is such a scary fur creature with horns, personifying fertility in the mythology of the southern Slavs. On Shrovetide week and between Christmas and Epiphany, Bulgarian men put on ritual masks, huge caps and animal skins turned inside out, hang ringing bells on their belts and dance. It is believed that these ritual dances successfully exorcise evil spirits.

There are also thermal springs and spa hotels in the vicinity of Bansko, and this is what I highly recommend visiting for everyone who happens to be there.

Hot Springs Medical & SPA Hotel and me)) Incredible happiness!

It would seem that what can be done in the SPA complex all day long? But it's so good there that you forget about everything, even the terrible skiing. On the last day of rest, I went to the Hot Springs Medical & SPA Hotel, which turned out to be, by the way, the most expensive - 23 euros per person per day, but also the coolest. Two saunas, two hammams - Turkish and some kind of Japanese, with a eucalyptus smell inside, salt and ice rooms, contrast and hot rain showers, warm stone tables for relaxation, foot baths. You can wander around all these "attractions" all day long, and it does not bother you at all. But the most pleasant thing is to swim in warm pools with mineral water - the water is a little cooler indoors, and the water in the outdoor pool is very warm. The pleasure is incredible, and also very good for health - even my chronic sinusitis receded, it became much easier for me. I regretted not going to the thermal springs at least every other day.

This is how the trip turned out. I returned home with an almost sea tan and in a great mood. The ski season in Bulgaria will last another month, so everyone still has the opportunity to enjoy a lot of impressions and adventures.

Translated automatically from Russian. View original
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Болгарские шапки
Снегоход удобней лыж)
Ребята из паба
Hot Springs Medical & SPA Hotel и я)) Счастье неимоверное!
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