End of Bulgaria's ski season

End of Bulgaria's ski season

SofiaEcho, Petar Kostadinov * with excerpts

End of Bulgaria's Ski Season April 15 was the last day of this past winters skiing season in two of Bulgarias most famous ski resorts, Pamporovo and Bansko. The ski season for the two resorts, the first in Rhodope Mountain and the second in Pirin Mountain, ended simply because on April 15 all ski and lift facilities were closed for repairs. Despite the relatively good conditions for skiing and the low prices for this time of the season, the two resorts decided to begin preparations for the next season. Bansko mayor Alexander Kravarov told Bulgarias Focus news agency that the lift facilities would not be operating during the summer. This means that the peaks around Bansko will be available only for those with strong hiking skills and a taste for the extreme. As to Pamporovo, the case is different. Its lift facilities will continue to operate throughout this summer because the resort has a tradition of summer tourism, given the many historic sites in nearby villages. While Pamporovo and Bansko are closing, the third most famous mountain resort in the country is working at full pace. Borovets in Rila Mountain has decided to take full advantage of being the only functioning ski resort in Bulgaria. There will be no formal closing of the season for Borovets, Borosport, the company in charge of the resorts ski facilities, told The Sofia Echo. As long as the snow cover is good enough for skiing the season will go on, the company said. Borosport even announced a decrease in the prices of ski passes. From March 30, a day ski pass costs 20 leva, a 10 leva reduction. How much Borovets will benefit from is open to question because the sunny and warm weather means that skiing will not be possible for much longer. On April 16, eight of the ski runs in the resort, Martinovi Baraki, Rila, Iglika, Rotata, Sitnyakovo, Yastrebets Express and Markoudjik 3, were no longer in use. Because of the bare sections at the lower areas of runs Yastrebets 1 and 2, skiers were advised to use only certain sections of the runs, which in effect rendered them unusable. Although the winter season in Pamporovo and Bansko has ended, it is still too early to draw conclusions about the seasons success. Without doubt, the lack of snow in the last two last months of 2006 negatively affected the season. Evidence of this is the figures released by the State Agency for Tourism (SAT) on April 13 at a seminar in Veliko Turnovo on cultural tourism.