ARTICLES 
BANSKO IS COMPARABLE TO THE LEADING EUROPEAN SKI RESORTS
Odyssey magazine (issue 12, December 2003)

Photo by www.BulgariaSki.com
During the last decade Bansko turned into one of the most popular ski-centers in Bulgaria. The town is situated at the foot of the Pirin Mountain and has unique atmosphere. Its authentic architecture and culture reflect the majestic mountain spirit and the originality of the local people.
Till now the conditions for skiing did not differ from those offered by the other winter resorts in Bulgaria, except the fact that in Bansko the snow coverage lasts till late spring. This natural factor ensured to the ski-fans longer skiing season. Despite, the resort had some inconveniences, since the highest pistes could be reached only by cars. Some of the big hotels ensured special mini-buses for their guests, but the rest of the tourists had to find other individual solution. Now everything has changed.
From this year on the conditions are much better. Bansko offers conditions for ski-sports which are comparable not only to the leading Bulgarian ski-resorts but also to the European ski-resorts. The investors and the local people are very proud of the 8-man Gondola cable car by Doppelmayer, which connects the town to Banderishka meadow (1635 m above the sea level). The first station will be in the southern part of Bansko, above the Strazite Hotel. Its capacity is 2400 people per hour! The Gondola cable car is just one part of the modern complex, where the skiers will receive everything needed before diving into the pistes. The newly-build parking lot is for 500 cars and is constructed according to the European standards.
Photo by www.BulgariaSki.com

Photo by www.BulgariaSki.com
The ski-wardrobe is equipped with 1200 pairs of new skies and ski-shoes type Solomon, as well as 100 snowboards. Next to the ski-wardrobe is a workshop for repairing old skies. For the children and all those who wish are available helmets, whose usage is already obligatory in Europe.
The price for using the Gondola cable car is 8 BGN in two directions. In case the tourists want to use all the facilities and pists in the ski-centre, they have to buy a chip-card at the price of 24 BGN. Their personal data, as well as a photo will be included in the computer data. The unique access system, presented by SkiData allows in case of necessity /if the skier is injured or does not come back in time/, to be determined his position and last lifting up.
In this way a lot of precious time will be saved, which sometimes can be fatal. The other advantage of the chip-cards is the prevention of misuses.
The speed of the cable car is regulated by a computer and depends on the strength of the wind. At maximum speed the Banderishka meadow is reached for 18 minutes, at minimum speed for 28 minutes. The mid-station is situated in the Chalin Vlog site (1467 m), in case the weather is too cold the cable car stops there, where the skiers can use the two pists on Chalin Vlog, which are for experienced skiers. If the weather permits, the cable car continues to Banderishka meadow, where is the ski-centre for beginners, medical centre and Mountain rescue service.

Photo by www.BulgariaSki.com

Photo by www.BulgariaSki.com
Here tourists can also find two restaurants, which serve hot and tasty meals and beverages. A newly-constructed ski-kindergarten will keep the children occupied and give time for their parents to enjoy the slopes. For the small ski-fans is constructed a baby drag 200 m long, as well as a winter rotunda type Kinder Carousel.
From Banderishka meadow the tourists can transfer to the 4-man open lift Doppelmayer with the same capacity 2400 people per hour. This lift has a mid-station Kolarski Road, wherefrom goes up to Todorka peak (2746 m). The second part of the lift is equipped with helmets, which keep the skiers from the wind and the cold. The old 3-chair lift, connecting Shiligarnika to Todorka peak, is renovated.
The newly-constructed 20 m mobile-path allows for synchronization of skier-velocity and the chair. The new 4-man open lift from Shiligarnika to Platoto also works. The lifts cover pistes at the total length of 56 km with different level of difficulty. From the Todorka peak go two new easy pistes Plato-south and Plato-north. From there on start Shiligarnik 1 and Shiligarnik 2, which are almost the same levels of difficulty. The more experienced skiers can use the pistes Banderitsa, Balkaniada and Todorka; they all start from Todorka peak and reach Shiligarnika, though they also have diversion towards Banderishka meadow. All those pistes are inner-connected with tow-lifts.
Bansko is among the 100 towns-resorts in the world, which allow the skiers to go back in the town on their skies.

Photo by www.BulgariaSki.com
A special ski-road starts at Todorka peak, goes to Shiligarnika, Banderishka meadow and then to the first station of the cable car. It is 12 km long from Todorka peak and 7 km from Banderishka meadow.
The ski-centre has 12 trail grooming machines, which will work during the night, as well as 26 snow-guns, thanks to which the ski-season will be prolonged.
The lovers of extreme sports can practice heli-skiing (using a helicopter to reach impenetrable areas, wherefrom go skiing or snowboarding on rough snow. Another attraction for them will be the paragliding (a down-slope skiing by an airplane), which was practiced last year mainly by Russian skiers.
The fans of toboggan will have separate piste, starting from the Banderishka meadow. The insomnia victims will be able to practice night-skiing on the Old piste, which has special lightning installed.
The future plans of the ski-centre owners are to build a special half-pipe system for snowboarding on Banderishka meadow, as well as to construct a biathlon platform for 3-4 000 people. Bansko will soon be able to stand for rounds of European and World Ski Competitions.
The first reservations of local and foreign tour agencies are already booked. Interest is shown by the English Companies Nelson and Crystal, as well as of the Russian and Israeli tour agencies.

Safety and money
Bansko is safe for foreigners. There they have to pay in cash; exchange offices are available at major hotels. Credit cards are accepted at First Investment Banks office at Hotel Pirin and some of the major hotels.

Ski and Snowboard school
Ulen Ski and Snowboard School offers highly-qualified instructors, who speak different languages. Courses range from beginners to advanced ski and snowboard. In Bansko there is a Junior Ski Club and Kindergarten with 3 baby drags, a Wonder Carpets baby track and a winter rotunda type Kinder Carousel.

Ski Competitions
Some of the most popular ski and snowboard competitions organized in Bansko include the Extreme Ski and Snowboard Competition, Pirin and Balkan Ski Cup Competition.

Ski centre:
Altitude of highest ski run: 2 560 m
Altitude of lowest ski run: 1 000 m

Ski lifts:
Total length 22 km
Seats 10 km; Drags 6 km
Cabin 6 km

Ski Pistes:
Beginners 35 %
Intermediate 40 %
Advanced 25 %
Snow cannons 80 %

Top ten reasons to choose Bansko:
1. Comfortable hotels and modern facilities
2. A ski run for any expertise level
3. Great value for money
4. Historical and Architectural Heritage
5. Probably the best skiing in Bulgaria
6. Excellent après skies
7. Boarders love it
8. Ease of access
9. Magnificent scenery
10. Long ski season

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