Riding Mount Godless

Riding Mount Godless

SofiaEcho, Owain Llewellyn, 27.03.2006

“Owain, welcome to Bezbog mountain!” Iveta called out. Even the name sounded threatening. “It means “Godless” in Bulgarian!” The wind pulled a steady crest of snow that glowed like a halo around the peak in the sun. “There’s a lake up there, and there was a chalet too, but an avalanche pulled it into the lake. Anyway, we will only have time for one ride before the lift closes, so I suggest we walk up higher. What do you say?” “Sounds cool.” I looked up with a little trepidation at the peak brooding above, the empty snowfield punctured by a solitary line of tracks left by a previous snowboarder, and the space where the chalet once was. We were four people. Ivo, who stubbornly continues to ski though all his mates snowboard, Petyo, Iveta and myself. We followed Iveta upwards in single file until she announced it was time to start. We did up our bindings and paused to admire the view spread like a chequered blanket below us; the black of the pine forests and the white snow glowing in the afternoon sunlight. Iveta led the way down the snowfield. She was a great boarder, and definitely in charge. The guys called her ???shefche’ (little boss) when they asked her which route was next. We reached the tree line and dived through the forest. I followed Iveta into a tight bend among the trees and wiped out in a pile of snow. We were soon out of the sunlight, with evening settling on the forest. We’d stop and talk periodically; before this morning I hadn’t met any of the group. I’d chatted to Iveta about snowboarding on the internet, and we’d arranged to meet in Bansko. Our first face-to-face meeting had been by chance on the road from Sofia, when we’d both got stuck at the same time on an icy patch of road. That evening we went to one of the famous Bansko mehanas. It was great to be at a table with fourteen people who until that morning had been strangers, and to feel so welcome and at home. The shopska salad and Sache with Banski starets kept coming, the wine flowed and the conversation got louder. My attempts at Bulgarian, and any stumblings in their English just added to the merriment. At about 11pm, some more guys arrived from Sofia. I had heard about them earlier: “Real pros,” Iveta had confided, “forest riders”! I had visions of bearded men in camouflage riding through the trees, perhaps hunting bear. The next day I was to see this was not so far from reality, bar the bear hunting, of course. Later, a hardcore went out to Bansko’s one and only club, Oxygen. The devil on my left shoulder goaded me to join them, but this time the angel on the other shoulder, leaning on a white snowboard, prevailed. I went back to my room, though I might as well have stayed out; the sweet Bansko wine kept me awake much of the night, so when I woke up the next morning, my limbs ached and my head thumped with tiredness. I switched on my new mobile and it asked me for my pin. I didn’t have a clue what my pin number was. I was stuck on my own, incommunicado, in Bansko. Grumpily I went to the lift. I did a few lacklustre runs and had a solitary lunch. At about two o’clock I bumped into the others. Tired as I was, my spirits lifted. It was then I was introduced to “forest riding”. Off the lift, across the piste and straight in among the trees, tracing wide arcs and dodging low branches. We were about eight people spread out among the trees. Ivo skied among the snowboarders, to whose good-natured mockery he’d always have a riposte at the ready, such as “nice skateboard”. One minute someone would shoot in front of me, the next they would disappear and I would be all alone, until whooping or screaming would burst out from my left or right, and I’d glimpse a figure shooting through the trees. It was reminiscent of that scene in Star Wars with the chase through the trees on flying motorbike things.

     
  • Tommyboy From Scotland
    Sent on 07 April 2018
    5th time skiing in Bansko, have been here over Xmas period and Easter break, hasn't always been a lot of snow but enough to ski for five days. It is a good value for money skiing holiday for those on a budget, food very good value and varied depending on taste, some restaurants better than others, again depending on personal taste. Not to sure what the nightlife is like as we stay in our timeshare resort The Balkan Jewel which is 3 > 4 miles out of Bansko, they operate a free shuttle bus but the last one back from town is at 4.30pm therefore going back into town would require the use of taxis. I am sure we will be back in the future.
  • Mitko From Bulgaria
    Sent on 28 February 2018
    Dear all, Borovets is a nice place to be, but it is risky to ski there. The slopes for advanced skiers are crossing the slopes for beginners and the slopes are negligently prepared with icy spots and snow heap places. This all is a precondition for accidents. The ski lifts are maintained all on the surface, they stop frequently and the gondola had to be scrapped years ago. So be careful when skiing in Borovets!
  • Lene willsea From N.i
    Sent on 28 February 2018
    I love Pomporova. Its our home from home.We first went in 2008, the airport was a portacabin and the lifts were a dangling wooden chair.. The place improves year on year. I would highly recommend it. VERY CHEAP once ur there. But with all upgrades the prices to travel are clinbing. Jumped 200 in two yrs.
  • Neo From United Kingdom
    Sent on 15 February 2018
    The hotel it’s a brilliant idea however there are aspects you would be surprised to stumble upon We arrived late at night about 10pm. Greater by a very polite hostes she kindly provided us with prepacked sandwiches as the restaurant closed at 9pm ( we called in advance to ask if such is possible especially when you have young ckranky from long travel hours in multiple travel vechicles The room very spatious. Bed cover had some suspicious sticky stains that absolutely horrified me at the thought that my children could possibly put their tiny hands on to that. One of the bath robes provided had a black stain on its back, the other bath robe had its pocket thorn out and just hanging. There was a massive flaky, mouldy, damp patch in the corner on the ceiling. The toilet was leaking on the floor. Breakfast food was cold and rancid with a queue for pncakes quite long and very impatient as pancakes was the only food that you could have still warm. Boiled eggs were cold and so hard the yolk was dusty . Fried eggs were dry... won’t even go to details about the rest of the food. As the drinks offered to be purchased by the restaurant aren’t the healthiest of choice for children (all the juices on choice contained added multiple preserving agents and colourants) we asked if possible to have some tap water. It proved to be a terrible mistake, we were told that yes but we would have to pay for it, then told that if they bring a jug for us everyone else will be asking for it, then he brought a manager who was more rude than the server and plainly put it that even if we have children asking for water we would have to buy bottled water and she is not prepared to give us water for free, unnecessarily often stressing the ‘free’ word. There are far more many good things that are good about this hotel. It’s main let down it’s restaurant staff who are poor hospitality professionals and frankly plain rude.
  • Nigel Buckle From United Kingdom
    Sent on 17 December 2017
    I have stayed at the Orlovetz for 6 out of the last 8 years and will be returning in 2018 for another week. It has become my 'Winter retreat'. A modern hotel that stands out due to its prominent position and its design. The rooms are comfortable and warm with plenty of wardrobe space and an area to relax. The safe is in the wardrobe, which is really useful for your valuables. There is a decently equipped gym, a small pool (though you can also use the larger pool in the Perelik as well) a Sauna and massage treatments, great for those aches from the first days of skiing ! The restaurant was made larger a couple of years ago and now accommodates more guests. Both breakfast and dinner are buffet style, the food, in general, is of good quality and there usually at least four different options at dinner. There is a small bar in the lobby area and a Piano Bar on the top floor that has stunning views across the surrounding district. As it is the sister hotel to the Perelik there is a tunnelway that links the two and saves you going out in the snow if you choose to use the alternative facilities provided there. One of them being 'The Pub' (previously known as the Pampi Bar) plus a couple of night clubs and a bowling alley. Also as the Orlovetz is just across from the Schnezanka it is only a short walk to Daks Bar, often used as the first mornings meeting place for your ski passes etc.,which is a lively night spot with live music and very popular. In all a great Hotel within a great small town, try it , Pamper yourself !
  • Liz From England
    Sent on 19 November 2017
    I went with my daughter January 2018. I was a cheap half board flights included and we wasn’t expecting much.... but what a fantastic week we had!! Stayed at the Lion hotel which is about a 10-15 minute walk to the slopes/town. A free shuttle is provide by the hotel. The hotel and staff are lovely. The food was always varied and hot. My daughter and I are vegetarians and in only two nights were we disappointed with the choice - but we heaped up on pudding so didn’t go hungry. Am lucky enough to be going back in 2018.
  • val From United Kingdom
    Sent on 15 February 2017
    group of us just back from borovets.we arrived 4th feb 2017 and departed 11th feb.had a great time.hotel rila was fab.great gym and spa.food was good.ski school was great.we had a really good instructor Martin Hristov.he was really good with everyone took time to try and learn everyone.we all had a great time thankyou.will be back next yearx
  • Alison From England
    Sent on 15 January 2017
    I wonder if the poor review is really about the Winslow Elegance. We have been going for years. It does not serve food and never has done. However, the spacious accommodation is for self-catering. We have always found it to be clean and we have always found that the reception staff can not do enough for you. We are looking forward to our next visit in February, 2017, Bring it on!!
  • RobJ From UK
    Sent on 01 January 2017
    Had a great week over xmas there - Hotel Lion was great, didn't see any lift queues but I did get there early. Easy blues for the most part, not loads for the advanced skier but great for beginners and families. I had more fun here than Chamonix last year at the same time. Bottom line ...manage your expectations... it is more than value for money but don't expect Whistler.
  • Pepa From Madrid
    Sent on 24 August 2016
    Un citio presioso pero todo lo demas mentira.la comida,el personal muy mal.No lo recomiendo a nadie.Es una publicidad engañosa.Y de All inclusive nada.No se dejen engañar por las paginas web.Por desgracia en Bulgaria todavia el consumidor no es nadie.
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