Bansko is Bulgaria's most popular ski resort, having the best and most modern ski centre in the country. During recent years a multi-million euros investment in brand new skiing facilities has been made by Yulen, the company which retains all licences to run the skiing areas of the resort.
Bansko has the best snow record and the longest ski season (15Dec - 15May) of all Bulgarian ski resorts. During the last couple of years this resort has been under a massive investment drive with new hotels and resort facilities being constructed. A brand new resort area with luxury apartments (available for purchase and/or rental) is being developed just opposite the Gondola.
The town of Bansko is situated near the river Glazane in the north-eastern foot of the Pirin Mountains, just below the highest and most beautiful part of the range. It is 160 kilometers away from Sofia and 6 kilometers from the town of Razlog. In addition, you can drive to the Greek Aegean Sea Coast in under 2 hours, enabling you to ski in the morning and sun bathe in the afternoon. Bansko has developed into a favourite ski & snowboard destination, thanks to the excellent ski facilities combined with the unique architecture and historical significance.
The town of Bansko is located on 925m above sea level, and its skiing area is 2000-2600m above. The Pirin Mountain has a predominantly Alpine character and its highest peak is in the area of Vihren, at 2914m.
The ski pistes are located in two main ski centres; The Chalin Valog and Shiligarnika. They are approximately 10 kilometers above the town on the northern slopes of Pirin, and are easily accessible on the new Gondola lift which starts from Bansko. The total length of the marked pistes is 65 kilometers.
The resort has excellent snow conditions with great snow cover from December right through to May. Fourty Four Techno-alpine snow cannons cover most of the slopes to extend the season as much as possible in the later weeks. The condition of all Pistes is maintained by twelve Kassbohrer slope maintenance vehicles. Thus the slopes offer runs and tracks for all types of skiers and will suit both beginners and experts alike. In addition, Snowboarders are well catered for, with jumps available to boarders of all abilities. For the advanced skiers, Slalom and Giant slalom runs are available and Bansko also offers a cross-country track with a total length of 5 km. A 3 km ski run Rollbahn track is situated just 2km from the main town.
The oldest Bulgarian winter resort is Borovets with a history of skiing competition from 1896. Today Borovets is the biggest and most modern resort in Bulgaria, having benefited from massive recent and ongoing investment. It is situated on the conterminous Borovets Col and on the northern slopes of the Mousala ridge in the eastern part of Rila. Huddled in venerable pine woods 1390m above sea level (with highest pistes at 2600m) makes it a perfect place for relaxation and recreation. Winter in the resort is mild but of course with lots of snow! The average temperature during the coldest month January is 4.8ºC. Usually the slopes of Borovets have snow cover from mid December through to April.
Borovets is also easy accessible- 12 kilometers long first class road connects it with Samokov; Sofia (the capital of Bulgaria) is just 72 kilometers away. There is a regular bus transport as for Samokov every 30 minutes.
The excellent equipment for ski sports attracts thousands of mountain lovers from Bulgaria and from foreign countries. Varying in difficulty and length among Fourty five square kilometers of terrain, the Pistes are grouped in three regions; the Sitnqkovo & Martinovi Baraki pistes, Markudjik and Qstrebec. The pistes on Qstrebets are considered the best, and are the location for all competition taking place in Borovets. The resort is a regular host of various winter sports competitions. It has twice hosted World Cup competitions in Alpine skiing. Its biathlon track is one of the best in Europe.
The massive investment allocated by the Bulgarian Government for Borovets is testament to the commitment Bulgaria.
The first phase, expected to be completed by 2007, should double the accommodation capacity of the resort. The second phase concentrates on constructing tourist facilities in the area enclosed by the Iskur River, Samokov and Borovets. This will be preceded by approving a cadastral plan, an environmental impact assessment and a comprehensive spatial development plan. Building of more facilities at an altitude above 1400m above see level is planned in the third phase of the concept.
In its February 5 issue, The Financial Times ran a story about Bansko. The newspaper’s correspondent Kerin Hope wrote that investment in Bansko and its surroundings had transformed it into “one of the shiniest ski resorts in new Europe”. “There are 17 ski runs in the resort, including a 16 km run from beneath the Todorka peak down to the outskirts of town. As foreigners grow more familiar with Bulgaria, pouring money into holiday homes along the Black Sea coastline and investing instead of renting as expatriates in Sofia, it seems only natural that ski resorts would be next in line for a property spending spree.
Meanwhile, hotels in Pamporovo were almost 100% full, the Pamporovo 21 Century hoteliers’ association said. This is the most successful winter season in five years, said Georgi Georgiev, who chairs the association.
The number of tourists has increased by 22% compared to the same period of 2004. The hotels are almost full and 70% of the guests are foreign tourists from the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Serbia and other countries.
Some UK tour operators have already signed contracts for next year, the hoteliers’ association said. The contracts indicate growing interest in the skiing resort and an expected increase of 15 to 30% in the number of tourists next winter.
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