Swedish ski sports magazine with an extensive article about Bansko

The most popular Swedish ski sports magazine FREERIDE published an extensive material for the Bulgarian top ski resort Bansko.

Swedish ski sports magazine with an extensive article about Bansko

Ola Melin, www.Freeride.se, 01.11.2012

 The most popular Swedish ski sports magazine “FREERIDE” published an extensive material for the Bulgarian top ski resort – Bansko. Here is what they shared about Bulgaria and Bansko:

Bansko - skiing in the Bulgarian way
Ola Melin, www.Freeride.se, 01.11.2012

Skiing in Eastern Europe is for many an unexplored chapter but the thought of skiing in the Balkans makes it tickles to the stomach. Curiosity took over and Freeride editorial took his belongings together and went to Bansko to try skiing on the Bulgarian way.

My knowledge of the country as a swishing past the outside of the taxi window is embarrassingly limited. Through my previous dependent chronicle of FIFA World Cup 1994, I check on the Bulgarian football player Hristo Stoichkov. That old Hristo shared scorer victory with Russian Oleg Salenko in a football tournament for almost twenty years ago will, not surprisingly, turn out to be completely useless knowledge during the trip.

We landed in the Bulgarian capital Sofia and has now taken aim at the ski resort of Bansko, located in the Pirin Mountains in the southwestern parts of the country, a journey of about two and a half hours. We drive on a road that sometimes seems to disappear for a few minutes later resurface and meander past an internationally known fast food chain. Every now and then we bump through bitonal communities to the next left turn to come to some kind of university. The contrasts are fascinating.

We roll into Bansko shortly after the clock passed nine at night and restaurants battle for tourists is in full swing. We meet up with our caretaker Mille, a scarred but happy man in his seventies, who welcomed us with open arms. He shows us our room and we decide to take us back to be fully rested for tomorrow's skiing.

Until 2003, they took to the more than one mile from Bansko village at 900 meters from the ski system at 1600 meters with the help of local minibus or car. The transportation was tedious and the new gondola lift that came in 2003 was a major step for the ski resort. Lifts made it simpler and much easier to get directly from the village center to the skiing and ski lift was the start of a major expansion with many new hotel construction.

Now we are sitting in that gondola, grateful not to have to squeeze ourselves into a minibus. We have left the valley station and started our exploration of Bansko resort. It takes more than a pizza baking to get the 600 vertical meters from the village up to the lift system, revealing that the journey from the village is pretty flat.

Simply explained, the Bansko ski system is divided into two areas. The area that you see to the left on the piste map is teeming with easier slopes and to the right, towards Todorka peak, it becomes the steeper. The system is fresh and both lifts and restaurants can be compared to what you encounter in the Alps. The cheerful lift the men explain that lifts and the skiing is "better than the Alps."

We get off at the gondola top station. From the restaurant you hear muffled music and the sound of the nearby lifts breaks the otherwise quiet morning. Trapped and moist gondoluft exchanged for fresh and dry winter air when we skråar away to lift Banderitza one to take us higher up in the system. It's foggy and a heavy snowfall in the air. We change for a hundred vertical meters to Banderitza 2 and a few minutes later we are on the ski system's highest point, 2,560 feet ovet sea.

Some first year of the hill allowed us to get started. There are no crowds on the riding surface and a few lift queues are not talking about. Major turns in cutting in all its glory but we have not gone to Bulgaria to caress piste. We are getting hot in the clothes and skråar out to feel the snow off piste. At first, we stay close to the slopes but in each new year, we find successively new ground to explore.

With the advance tip we received regarding Bansko basis, we begin by examining the forest during lifts Kolarski and Banderitza. Since it was a while ago it was snowing, and the rides are easily accessible from the piste, it appears that the snow is uttnyttjad to max.

The terrain is fun, but it feels like the terrain goes in steps. Steep-flat-steep-flat, which makes it difficult to find any real fluency. We understand that rides in snöigare times can lead to simple high fives but no snow is getting stepped terrain reminded and we move on to the system after suktandes untouched snow, long runs and exciting terrain.

We go out to the area around the lift Shiligarnik where there is an untouched bowl inside the system. The bowl is of the local skaters known as Chashata, which means just bowl. The first part of the run is steep and a couple half-sized trays spread and inviting to ösig rides before the forest begins. The forest turns into a flatter section before getting skråa back to the piste to get down to one, relative to the leg, long lift ride. When we get off at the top after a few runs in the fog bowl suspended over us and somewhat disgruntled over the short rides, we decide to take lunch while doing a deep analysis of the piste map.

We come into the lunch restaurant at the top of Shiligarnik., It is a large room with high ceilings, stone floors and stone walls. A fireplace enhances both heat and winter feeling. Piste Map go forward and we begin to study it. Away from home, we have been told that slope down Todorka should be fine but this is our first day in Bansko is too foggy and too many question marks for us to dare to explore the area.

We decide to postpone the ride to the next day. Something I did not know there and then that I am twenty-four hours later will be in the midst of one of the best ski days of my life.

Besides Greeks and Scandinavians, it is mainly Englishmen who in recent years found to Bansko. Britons increased interest in the ski resort is not only positive, at least if you listen to Nikolaos, a Greek who we end up with in the lift one day. He believes that the city sold in as a spritort, like Sunny Beach, and now tourists bellowing football hooligans to the village and rampage.

- The English are the worst thing that happened Bansko, beats the kraftige Greek firm.

Bansko village gives to some of the same vibes as a summery charterort. Street Vendors and Barker is doing its best to lure a two per cent of holiday money and the flashing neon lights and the sound of a distant base in a basement testify that there are tourists around.

It is built very new in Bansko. Newly renovated and trendy restaurants are located next door to the unfinished house building. Hotels, restaurants and other buildings at one time or another seen to promote tourism construction in full swing. Some say that it is built too much and that the building plans and the resort capacity does not match, there are far too many beds in terms of number of tourists. And even more beds are underway.

We walk along the main street in search of a suitable restaurant. A garish Barker in white fluffy hat with låtsashår convinces us to try the restaurant Stoneflower Barbecue. We get a table and given menus quickly. The waiter tips on a mixed grill table for three people we are biting. He disappears into the kitchen and comes back fifteen minutes later, carrying an overstuffed serving tray with meat and potatoes.

- 1.4 kg of meat to Sweden, says the waiter and grins.

After meat feast we go out on an impromptu city tour. Old stone houses and local restaurants crowded with souvenir shops. On the sidewalk you have to go downhill between the insertion area. A guy in a 25-year-old with way too much hair gel holds out a note with purple letters explaining that there are free drinks at a place down the street. I turn on the patch to try to find out what the clincher is but the guy laughs at me and says that entry is five euros, then, all drink for free. The whole evening. We thank you for the invitation but decide to move on.

The next morning we wake up just before eight o'clock. We eat breakfast together with home owners Mille in his basement. Mille fix coffee, warm bread over the fire in the middle of the room but as soon as he gets a few minutes to spare, he shows pictures of a black and white time when skis were made of wood. He points to pictures, pencil numbered years on a paper and gesturing with his arms. During our days in Mille is his stumbling storytelling a standing item and I do not think I had a long conversation with someone I do not talk the same language.

Mille offers to drive us to the lift station where we decided hit with Andy, a local guide. Andy grew up in Sofia and started skiing when he was two years old. He has traveled a lot of skiing in both the Alps and the Balkans, but in recent years he has almost exclusively kept to Bansko. Andy has worked as a guide and avalanche expert ski resort. Last year, when the Bansko invested in a new avalanche systems, decided the facility that they did not need any additional help with avalanche safety, and Andy's service was canceled.

We sit together with Andy in a steamy cabin on the way to skiing. The fog from yesterday has moved on and expectations are high. We are going up, step out of the cabin and take us, just like the day before, eagerly away to Banderitza-lifts.

Andy explains that it has sparked a lot of the recent past and that much of the snow blown away. I inhale. He says that he is convinced that the day will offer good skiing. I exhale.

We get off at the top station up on Todorka and go a short distance piste but then turns over a small snow bank and continues skråa skiers left, away from the system. We pass welcoming gutters, fluffy backs and it is a tempting idea that facing down the fall line.

- It's great down here, says Andy who seems to understand what I'm thinking.

- ... but skråar we are a little further away so we come to a good part of the Magic Forrest that I think you'll like, he continues with a laugh.

Laughter becomes a clever and confident smile. A few minutes later Andy to stop and explain that we are obliquely above the magical forest. We're just over a ridge and then "we will understand." Andy first, I immediately behind followed by my colleagues John and Martin. And surely we understand!

The initial height meters in the Magic Forrest grazed by and we enjoy tracking snow. The blown snow has accumulated between the trees and many of the turns are incredibly deep. Front and sparse forest becomes after a while denser forest. We begin to get started and let on - it's an insanely good förstaåk.

We round the trees as if they were carelessly exposed slalom sticks. I can see a snow-covered stump one bit further down the run and aims. It's like an explosion when I thunders through snow that has settled on the stump. After a short air journey takes skis ground again and the adventure continues.

In the bottom of the run, we are welcomed by a field with small all these snow pillows. Andy urges us to gather momentum and take her back on him. After a little pillow fight flows leg to finish out in a stairwell with a slightly downhill. Ten minutes easy staking later we are back at the lift. We have just been served 900 vertical meters untracked terrain for that now, after a non-existent liftkö, put us up in the lift and load the new 900 vertical meters.

Up on top again, where we stop and call the face from above. Most of trying to get a handle on what it is we've gone. Depending on where you enters the run, you have an initial open party with something more exposed chutes and challenging backs. After that, as we know forest at.

We begin our second year., It is tantalizing. I appoint my gut the consensus dictator and skis follow the slightest impulse. I'll be around a crest, takes off from the ground to realize that I am even here is the first man on the spot. It was good just now but it's at least as good a few meters ahead. It's like TV schedule a Friday night when you were little, whenever a good program ran out, it was only a matter of time before the next fun program would begin.

The forest thickens and I slow down. It's still pretty steep. I stop and fast analyze the terrain for a continuation of my line. Magen says her and I follow blindly perform a small cliff. Somewhat surprised by droppets height I land in the deep snow, the rear weight and forced to crash dive to the left in order not to run straight into a tree. I get up quickly, brushing me off the snow and pointing once more ski tips down the fall line.

The trees rise majestically at the border where the gutters goes into cozy forest skiing. They are of the variety Macedonian Pine, a special pine, originally from Macedonia. It is sturdy pieces that can grow up to 40 meters high and it may grow up to the trunk reach a diameter of almost one and a half meters. Our guide, Andy, hitting the bar against the trunk and declares that it is good trees. The reason is that they require much space to grow. Forest boating Tree? Take a patent on it.

Among the trees the snow is deeper. Johan bobbing up on my left side and Martin examines the snow on the right. The snow whirls around us and seek with magnetic attraction to the face. My bandana is Kasat down and I shudder when the cold snow bites hold of my cheeks. It is one of verging on the seductive feel. Andy whizzing past between me and John and we hear him laugh.

Andy, who now is a couple of meters in front of us, waving rods and by now we have learned that it means that more is going on. We are back at him over an open field, crouching us under a tree and past a large rock and suddenly he has found yet another area that shatters the previous turns. Euphoria level continues to rise. What have we done to deserve this?

At this point, we begin to get the hang of the routines. Not that they are particularly complex, but still. At the top you have to find a good entry, then choose the entrance to the forest, followed by spontaneous line selection among the trees, pillow fights in the bottom to then gather momentum to haul. A quarter of a lift rides and then it starts on.

"Do you see that the snow is a bit yellowish?" asks Andy in the lift on the way up for another year and point the rod down to the snow. We lift our goggels to inspect the snow. Yes, it is actually a bit yellowish. Andy explains that it is desert sand from Africa that had blown in and at some point every season makes desert storms the snow yellow. Pundits believe that the desert story is a myth and it's about heavy metal colored snow but right this moment I choose to believe the more exotic desert legend.

We stand at the top and let our eyes seek out down the slope while our brains go into overdrive to compose the next year. You do not have to look very long to find alternatives. I am choosing between two attractive lines. Either I drive in the middle of the channel to then take me up on my back and run wind drift or so I keep my back all the way down to the forest begins. I consult with Andy who is ready to drop into.

- Yes you ... Want to have fun or funny?, He asks before he disappears into the gutter.

I choose the first option.

Once again, we are right at the edge of the forest. Beloved forest. This with that you should not take the last ride we ignore blank in. We have more snow to track, more trees to round and even though we had a broad smile on his face all day is facial muscles far from tired. We burn aimlessly up between the mighty pines. The goal of each right and left turn is straightforward: we like to ski and right here, it looks good. That's it!

Andy finds in the forest as in their own back pocket and seems to have deserved credits in forest skiing. Whether it is a tree, a drop or a line, you can leave it in that he has an eye on the conditions.

- Keep to the right! Beware the tree! Drop the left! More speed over the crest, he urges on.

Eventually we come down to haul one last time. Endorfinnivån drops and we get acquainted with a gruesomely-sucking sensation in the thigh muscles. How many runs have we done during the day? Five? Ten? Everything flows together in one big lump of joy and we jump into one of the last booths down to the village.

We are going down to the parking lot and decide to check out the Bulgarian afterski. There seems to be great pressure on the pub adjacent to the ski area, at least if you believe the noise level. This confuses us because it barely stands a few ski in ski areas outside. It is only when we open the door and step into who we understand that brölet, après sounds and chorus is a soundtrack that is in the background of the music.

So the ounvikliga question that many people would want answered. May we recommend Bansko above a safe bet in the Alps? I think we can. As long as there is skiing off piste is in focus, and you might be a little extra weak tree skiing, Bansko will keep you busy for a week.

Being served 900 vertical meters lift cage, untracked and varied off-piste skiing without harassment is something every skier dreams of but few get to experience. Throughout the trip, we were virtually alone outside the marked slopes with the exception of a handful of interested skiers.

Smiling, with sore thighs and with the realization that Hristo Stoichkovs scorer victorious from World Cup 1994 enough to stand in the shadow of skiing in Bansko, we pack up our things and load into our waiting taxi with Popova SAPK a, Macedonia, as the final destination. Our adventure in Eastern Europe has just begun!