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Mountain safety

Important things you should consider when skiing and snowboarding in Bulgaria. Mountain safety advise for skiing and snowboarding in Bulgaria.

Mountain safety

 Some important things you should consider when skiing and snowboarding in Bulgaria.

If you are about to practice some sports activity in Bulgarian mountains, please have in mind the following:

-the Mountain Rescue Service (telephone numbers: +359 48 1843; +359 88 1470; +359 2 9632000) does not have the actual possibility to use helicopters and other highly technical devices in rescue operations. Sometimes (when there are roads or not very steep slopes on the road to the accident) they may use snowmobiles. RECCO system is not supported by them! Most of the avalanche beacons of the rescue service work on 2275Hz. They will use 457kHz beacons in search of avalanche victims only if it is known that the victim has such a beacon (which means that it is useful to warn the local rescue service that you use such beacons before traveling and discuss the situation with them). For location of victims the most used method is by probing and if it is possible to take dog to the place of the accident - with dogs.
-there are NO Avalanche Hazard Reports
-the mountain climate in Bulgaria is very specific. It is formed under the strong influence of moist Mediterranean masses (coming with warm and extremely strong S and SW winds) and cold Atlantic masses (coming with W and NW strong winds). So it is common to have a few warm days (even with rain showers) followed by heavy snowfalls and drop of temperatures. After such situations fresh powder often lies on very hard crust. Predominating winds in winter are W and NW. They often form thick slabs. According to our experience most dangerous are E and S slopes (hard slabs on icy crust after strong winds). Very dangerous are the upper and steepest parts of gullies, where often there are cornicles and slabs. At the beginning of spring, at the time of the first strong warming-up (usually about the middle of April) on many slopes fall wet avalanches. Typical sign of the increased snow instability is lack of any support from the snow (sinking very deep when traveling)). After this period high in the mountains is formed firm and hard spring snow, which is very good for skiing.
-The services of the Mountain Rescue Service in Bulgaria are paid from the beginning of 2001. Prices vary from 100 EURO (short transport of person with broken leg..) to more than 500 EURO (avalanche rescue operations)

Having in mind all the mentioned above we would like to advise you the following:
1. Ski, snowboard or travel in Bulgarian mountains with a local person with very good knowledge of local conditions.
2. Always carry rescue equipment, make avalanche tests, ski safely and be ready to perform a rescue operation by yourself.
3. Make sure you have an insurance that covers all rescue expenses abroad.
4. Always negotiate prices before traveling drivers of vans and taxis are notorious for trying to cheat their clients.
5. We recommend contacting a local company and discussing trip plans before arrival in Bulgaria. You may get some useful tips.
6. And at last - skiing in Bulgaria can be great. Not very much skiers and snowboarders ride outside the ski runs, so powder is not spoiled quickly. Usually you are The First on The Slope.

Below are some important rules that you have to consider:
1. Respect the others on the piste. Behave in such manner to avoid any possible damage to other skiers.
2. Control your speed while skiing. Try to keep control at all time. Try to move according to your personal skills and abilities, and according to the weather and terrain conditions.
3. Choose a trajectory. When skiing downhill choose your own trajectory on the slope to avoid any collision with the person in front of you.
4. When overtaking other skiers: It is allowed to overtake other skiers/boarders from any direction provided that the movements of the skier being overtaken are not hampered in any way.
5. Duties of the skier below or crossing the trail: When entering/crossing a trail or starting downhill, yield to other skiers.
6. Stops along the trail: You must not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above. If you fall clear the trail as soon as possible.
7. When walking up a trail: Keep the edge of the slope. In case of bad visibility keep off the trail. The same applies to the skier walking down the trail.
8. Respect of signs: Every skier must pay attention and respect all signs along the slope.
9. In case of collision: All skiers who witness a collision, must promptly notify the ski patrol by reporting the accident at the nearest lift terminal.
10. Obligation to notify one's identity: Every skier involved in a collision or witness of a collision must in any case stop and remain at the scene of the accident providing name and current address to ski patrol before leaving.

From Diane Degabriele
from Malta
Sent on 20 February 2007
Comments

Have just returned from a week in Borovets. Had a fantastic time, we stayed at Flora Hotel and it was clean and friendly staff. The place is beautiful, fantastic views but there is just one think i would like to point out, I think the instructors should tell you what you are cabable of and tell you if you are cabable to go a step further i mean, if you can go from green to blue for example, and they should teach you good and stay with you as much as possible as from my first skiing experience i learned that you can easily get hurt or hurt someone while skiing and you can easily get smashed in a tree or have a bad fall even in the green (easy slope) Instructors should do their best to give the best lessons possible!!!

From Stuart Thomson
from Scotland
Sent on 04 March 2006
Comments

Hello, I am going to Pamporovo mid March 2006. Does any body have any off piste / ski mountaineering suggestions? How easy would it be to create single day tours? Steep gullies etc. Thanks in advance Stuart

From tom
from england
Sent on 18 April 2005
Comments

dont buy insurance off this site.lost my wallet and had to prove i owned the money.i sent receipt i got when i purchased currency from post office.this wasnt good enough.what else could i send. ski-insurance.co.uk never again

From skier
from bulgaria
Sent on 25 February 2005
Comments

I had a scary incident at Bansko. Due to my own fault, while skiiing off piste I became separated from friends and lost in a nasty valley with avalanche dangers. It was 3 in the afternoon and I had been alone for more than 2 hours. Friends who contacted the safety people on the pistes received little response and a refusal to go and search. No names or details were taken down....in fact nothing was done and they felt it was too dangerous to go after me. Eventually, my friends tracked me down (I had written my name in twigs by my track which proved a very good move). We made it to the valley bottom and out at 4.30. I was actually completely knackered when they found me and resigned to staying the night rather than risk injury by continuing. Final point, yes I was stupid to get in such a mess but just so you all know...get lost and you are on your own at Bansko. All the money going into the resort hasn't been put into training rescue services. It is quite easily done too as we were only skirting a piste and I dropped too much into the valley. There are no clear signs. Happy skiing.

From jeff
from Wales
Sent on 25 January 2005
Comments

put simply there is NO mountain safety in Bulgaria. All the usual skiing rules are reversed. Skiers coming from behind have priority, the faster skier has right of way, nursery slopes are for target practice(aim at the beginers!), okay for a ski school class of seven people to sit down for instruction around bend of 3metre wide slope, the list is endless.When you get to gatwick you know when the borovets flight has landed because all the wheel chairs are pressed into action. You must be prepared for instructors to come from behind with their students in tow to shout abuse at you for being in the way. If you take a bad fall, too bad, no one will stop not even when your unconcious. Its cheap, the hotels are good but you must be able to tolerate the abuse and remember that you can only rely on yourself.

From Iva Biggen
from England
Sent on 15 February 2004
Comments

I have just arrived back from Borovets,I stayed in the Rila Hotel, never again. The room was dirty and the food was really horrible. We had to eat out every night. The snow was to hard, and the slopes were too steep. Over all i would definetly go back to get my 2 back on my lift pass, that the airtours rep conned me out of. Be warned!!!!!

From Alett Rdel
from Germany
Sent on 24 January 2004
Comments

I visited Bulgaria since 5 years! Its so nice in pamporovo with so frinly people.... you cant imagine!! I will be there tne next time from 31.1.-8.1.2004 and I am very happy to go there.... So I just can say go to Bulgaria and relaxxxxx... Bye

From alan bartlett
from u/k northampton
Sent on 12 April 2003
Comments

Had great time in 1987/8 at Borrovets..is Orlec Harrielampiev still with the mountain rescue.......he was a great chap as a ski instrutor....hope to hear from you!

From reuben burns
from england
Sent on 27 February 2003
Comments

i have visited the resort of pamporova three times now and always stayed at the perilik hotel. the last time i visited i had a very bad accident in the mountains from an attempted jump. When landing i ruptured my spleen and therefore it was critical that surgery took place to remove the spleen in time due to internal bleeding. a message to anyone considering the resort is that the emergency treatment and the hospital are pretty shocking.Although th3e resort provides good skiing i would never recmmend bulgaria for a skiing holday. yours spleenless reuben burns

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