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.

     
  • 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.
  • Juglena Bankova From Bulgaria
    Sent on 13 May 2016
    Nie byakhme tam na Velikden i pisha malko kŭsno. No vpechatleniata sa ni poveche ot prekrasni! Velikolepna kuhnia (ne savetvat jenite na dieta, da hodiat za poveche ot tri dni, zashtoto yastiyata sa neustoimi, vkusni i ogromni)! Great stil! I mnogo priaten personal!(osobeno damata v restoranta) Pozdravleniya !
  • ger99 From turkey
    Sent on 01 March 2015
    We loved it. Had a perfect 2 bedroom apartment modern, clean new renovated With view to slope. Perfect location in pamporovo as central ski in ski out. Friendly staff, not ovr crowded relaxed athmosphere. our friends (group with total of 7 rooms) all very happy! It is away from city center but close to bowling and 2 nice reaturans.
  • ashley hensman From uk
    Sent on 01 March 2015
    Flora is a lovely hotel clean in a great location and the food was good just make sure you use the safes.
  • Enjoy ski From UK
    Sent on 27 February 2015
    Just came back from Sevlievo in Bulgaria. Drove up to Hotel Impulse in Uzana where I hired skis, boots and poles for myself and two children for just 17 levs for adult and 10 levs each child and used the hotel ski slope 5 levs each. Perfect for the kids first time as parking right at entrance to hotel and slope is 20m walk! Food in restaurant tasty and cheap. Perfect for beginners!
  • Charlotte Hennessy From england
    Sent on 23 February 2015
    WOW, thats all i can say about the previous week of my life. The snow conditions were amazing and the people were so friendly. The night life was always active and the rila hotel was especially fantastic. I loved the accommodation at the rila and i loved the way it is right on the slope. I wouldn't have changed a thing about the holiday and i would recommend this resort to everyone including beginners and experts. Overall, i had an amazing time!!!
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