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Bansko - a modern fairy tale
Updated: 2005-09-29

Article and photos by Gulliver Magazine, December 2004

Something is happening in the heart of the Balkans. Perfectly maintained ski pistes with total length of 65 kilometers, 26 kilometers ski- lifts, which are the latest modern tendency in Europe, new 4 and 5 star hotels and a season that lasts five months! This is Bansko with its over 250 thousand guests. Only 150 kilometers from Sofia a 150-year old clock tower is tolling its bell every round hour. The crystal sound is echoing in the thick walls of the taverns, rumbling through the secret passages of houses and fortresses and is sinking in the snow- drifts of the Bulgarian history. This is Bansko with its population of 10 thousand people.

The numbers are impressive - the one hour capacity of the ski-equipment is 2 000 people, the pistes under Todorka peak are providing adrenalin for 8 000 people! The burning curiosity of the ski maniacs from Great Britain, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Russia, USA is growing. Season after season Bansko is surprising the Bulgarians as well. The news for winter 2003/2004 is the last model of ‘Dopelmaier’- 6 km long Gondola lift that reaches Banderishka meadow, and the new slope “Alberto Tomba”. This year is the premier of two 4-seat lifts, the 7 km lightened road between Banderishka meadow and the city, the new five star hotel “Grand Arena”, managed by “Kempinski” with its super modern SPA center.

The big present for the snowboard lovers is the first on the Balkans attraction park. Bansko is the first Bulgarian resort which is being build backwards - first the equipment and the ski equipment then the hotels. Thus it provides European comfort not only in the huge beds in the hotels, but also a lot of space for skiing.
The European standards in the service, the advertisement and the ecologic exploitation of the resort are the main requirement from the Alliance for the development of the tourism in the Bansko region. Despite of all the tourist fuss, Bansko is still remaining a charming shelter for the traditions, where life is slowly passing like a thick wine.

The symbiosis between the soul of the old time Bulgarians and the super modern ski attractions turned that small Pirin town in the hottest and irresistible ski card of Bulgaria. Today the town is smiling to the tourists with its wrinkled 80 years old grandmothers, as well as with the worldwide famous faces like Alberto Tomba and Hristo Stoichkov.

Six things that turn Bansko into European resort:

1. Perfectly maintained pistes 14 pistes with total length of 65 kilometers with new marks and safety systems that respond to all of the European standards. The highest point of the ski centre is 2560 meters, and the shortest one is 1000 meters. The resort has pistes for beginners- 35%, for intermediate- 40%, for advanced 25%. 44 snow guns “Technoalpine” for all of the pistes and for the ski run from Banderishka meadow to the starting station. 80% of the pistes have snow guns. New: the slope from Platoto to the site Gelezniq most; slope from Kolarski road to Banderishka meadow.

2. New gondola lift, modern equipment A new 8- seat lift- gondola “Dopelmaier” started working last year .It is over 6 meters long and connects the town with Banderishka meadow. When one gets on it, he feels the incredible feeling that he is flowing over the snow slopes of Pirin towards the heart of the mountain. You can leave your car on the parking on the start station of the lift. The resort posses 26 kilometers ski- lifts with personnel, that help the skiers. The card for all the equipment is without contact, it is placed on the left side of the jacket, and when the skier passes, he do not have to take it out. New: The 7 kilometer ski- road from Banderishka Meadow to the start station of the lift. Two new four seat lifts- from Banderishki to Kolarski road and from Zelezniq Bridge to Platoto. Drag- lift that is serving the right part of “Tomba” slope for beginners.

3. Ski- cloakroom with the newest ski, shoes and snowboard equipment models 2000 pairs of ski, including carving and pens from Salomon and Atomic, 100 snowboards from the same brads are available in the modern ski- cloakroom on the start station of the lift. All ski automats are tested for the opening of the “Speedtronic” machine.

4. Monitor in the start lift station with live broadcast from the different pistes In front of the entrance on the first floor there is a monitor on which everyone can see what is happening on the different pistes, what is the weather there, is the wind blowing and to decide whether to go there or not. There is medical attendance on the start station of the lift.
New: restaurant with the local specialties. For the people who wish to eat something right after they take off their heavy boots. Equipment- seats from old lifts that are hanging from the ceiling, dancing- life music with life bands- evergreen and DJs.

5. Comfort anytime and everywhere The comfort in the mountain is unlimited. The ski-kindergarten for kids from 4 to 7 years old with new drags and ski-run. New bars and taverns for food and beverage take place there. New: Shiligarnika tavern with bars outside, round- bar on the Zelzniq Bridge.

6. Snowboard N 1 on the Balkans The project is an idea of “Bansko” resort and The Snowboard Committee. It is situated on the Platoto and is serviced by T-bar.

The ways are two, with different difficulty of the jumps and the parapets and total length 600 meters. The capacity is for 30- 40 people altogether. Part of the project is a web camera that is going to show what is going on in the park. Equipment and parapets: 1 professional jump according to the requirements of FIS, on which Big Air competitions are going to take place. Spine- Four smaller jumps with different forms and less difficulty. Eight sliding parapets with different forms and difficulty are also waiting for the guests of the resort. The park is enclosed and will be sound-screened. Snowboard patrol is taking care for the maintenance of the park and is advising those eager to try the equipment. The patrol is from shapers that used to work in Ziolden Austria, where according to the tradition, are the opening of the World Snowboard and Ski- Alpine Disciplines Championships. Half pipe is the new equipment on the Bunderishka meadow. It is the most beautiful device for snowboarders. It is 90 meters high and 16 meters wide, its walls are 3, 5 meters high and it is serviced by mini drag.

Off Pistes
The best place for off pistes jumps is Banderishki gully. Those who love to risk also like Echeishe site between Todorka peak and Platoto. However there is danger from avalanches everywhere. The maniacs can use the service “Heli ski” and hire helicopter to the peaks and sites over Bansko, where to slope on the off pistes.

One can hire instructor for sloping with Para planer.

Competitions in Bansko

Bulgarian Ski Federation
National Sport Calendar 2004- 2005
Ski- alpine disciplines
• 03- 06.02. 2005- National cup “Kappi”, cup “Pirin”, cup “Nadejdi”, 2 GS and 2 SL, boys and girls 10- 14, organized by SC”Bansko” (Taking place on the Shiligarnika) • 24-27.02.2005- Balkan Open Cup, International competition (from FIS calendar), , 2 SL and @ GS, men and women, organized BF Ski, SC”Bansko”(on Balkaniada slope) • 30.03- 01.04.2005- National Championship, for cup Bulgaria, SL,GS, 2SG, men, women, youths- boys and girls, organized by BF Ski, SC “Bansko” (on Balkaniada slope). • 05- 06.04.2005- National cup Pirin, for coup Bulgaria. SL, GS, men and women, organized by SC”Bansko”(on Balkaniada).

Ski run
• 19- 20.03.2005- cup “Pirin”, for cup “Bulgaria” and cup “Nadejdi”, all groups, organized SC “Bansko”

• 22- 23. 01.2005- cup “Bansko”, for cup “Bulgaria” and cup “Nadejdi”, Big Air, all groups, organized by BF Ski and SC “Bansko” (on Platoto) • 04- 05.02.2005- National Championship, for cup ‘Bulgaria’ and cup ‘Nadejda’, halfpipe, all groups organized by BF Ski (on Banderishka meadow). • 28- 29.03. 2005- Open National Championship, international championship (from FIS calendar ), for the cup “Bulgaria”, “Nadejdi”, all groups, 2 SBX, organized by BF Ski (from Plato- north to the snowboard park)

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