Ski Season Starts On 11th December 2010 — Vanya’s Non Skiing Guide

Dec 02, 2010 No Comments by

New Quad Chair Lift For 10/11 Season. No More Drag

This year’s Bansko ski season in will be officially opened on December 11th. As usual, a spectacular opening ceremony is expected.  A parallel slalom race with former ski legends, among whom Marc Girardeli, Luke Alphand, Andreas Wenzel, Maria Valizer, and Petar Popangelov is planned for 12.30 at the Alberto Tomba run — and there will be other events in the evening. Stay tuned for a report of the event on Bansko Blog.

No Snow No Show?

I am weather obsessed. It comes from twenty years going paragliding in the hills and mountains. It’s an exceptionally weather dependent sport.  I spend more time looking at weather charts and forecasts than flying. But I am pretty sure the snow for Bansko will arrive big time on the 9th December. Temperatures will drop and, as the UK and the Netherlands thaw, the cold air will be deflected southwards from Siberia and this combined with a weather front will dump tons of SNOW.

The cold temperatures will persist thereafter, the snow cannon will fire up and the slow start to the season will be all set for a very acceptable Christmas skiing. But stay tuned. Weather is weather and that could all change. The brand new snow report vidoes will be immediately notified to twitter followers. Follow here: and sign up for newsletter on this page for regular updates (and a very decent extra ski/board hire discount)

Oranges Are not the Only Fruit

As a keen skier, I have written so much about skiing that I feel guilty I’m depriving readers who do not like skiing, or snowboarding. During the recent booking campaign, I realised that many visitors will be coming to Bansko and not skiing. There’s been plenty of information about restaurants and night life in Bansko, but what do these people do during the day if they do not go up on the slopes?

So I asked a friend who refuses to learn skiing to share her experience with you. So read on for Vanya’s Guide For Non Skiers.

Observations of a Sworn Non-Skier

I am (un)lucky to have friends who are all passionate skiers and for them, there is no better weekend or holiday in winter than one in Bansko. In the beginning, it was like an exile for me – staying in a flat all day while everybody else is having fun on the slopes… So I had to gradually discover the charms of Bansko for a non-skier. If you are like me – either learn to ski or read on.

Old Bansko

Bansko Lift

Bansko Lift Above The Tomba Black Piste

Go away from the area where the big hotels are and immerse in the authentic atmosphere of old Bansko. Take Pirin Street and you will soon start treading on cobble stones and seeing old-style houses all around. Founded some time in 14 -15 century, Bansko used to be an economic and cultural centre in the region. Some great figures in Bulgarian history were born in Bansko and there are sights related to them. Right on the main square you can see the monument of Paiisii Hilendarski who wrote the first History of the Bulgarian people. Neophit Rilsky – a Bulgarian enlightener whose house-museum is also in the centre. Nikola Vaptsarov – a famous poet of later times born in Bansko – his museum is on the right side of the main square. Of course, you don’t have to go in these museums, you can just look at the amazing architecture of all the houses from the outside.

However, do not miss to visit the Sveta Troitsa (St. Trinity) church. Built in 1835, even today the church is one of the monuments of national significance. Have a look at the icons and the ceiling. When outside, note the beautiful clock tower.


“Enough of history!” many would say. I agree. As a shopping maniac, I have been surprised to see some famous brands arriving in Bansko. Of course it’s still too far away from the choice malls in Sofia offer, but you can well kill a few of hours looking at some brand clothes, such as Conte of Florence, United Colours of Benetton, Adidas and others. There are many leather and fur clothes shops too.

You can find a couple of very good shops offering high-quality jewellery as well.

If you need to take home some souvenirs – don’t worry. There are many souvenir shops scattered around Bansko that offer colourful memories of Bulgaria. Also, if interested, you can visit the antique shops where you can see some quite amazing memorabilia of old times. (errr…how about the dodgy Nazi memorabilia? ed)

There is a new so called Mall – it does not have so many shops, but is worth having a walk around  Best of all, take a rest in the top floor café. If you need any electrical appliance for your flat, you can find it in the Mall. located just across the river and 250 metres from the gondola.

When it comes to sports and ski clothes however – you have all the big names in Bansko. Click on the ever popular Ski Fashion Guide. Most shops on the two main streets in Bansko (Pirin and Glazne) sell ski gear and clothes. Head, Rossignol, The North Face, Billabong, Rip Curl, Roxy, Salomon, Burton and more can all be found in smaller shops, and some have their own stores. Also, the last years have seen top high end designer brands, such as the German Bogner, come to Bansko.

Grab a swimming suit from a sports shop as I am about to offer you another great way of passing the day.

My Favourite Luxury SPA

Who doesn’t like indulging in a SPA treatment. The best SPA is said to be the one in Kempinsky Grand Arena hotel. If it is a little too expensive for you, do not worry. Some of the new hotels and complexes in Bansko have really luxurious SPA centres with sauna, steam room, relax room, jacuzzi and what not. Even if you are not staying in one of them, you can always pay to go in the SPA for the day. You can also book a massage or another cosmetic procedure at a good price. Most of these centres are really good because they are new and up to the latest trends. You can also do your nails and hair as well.

Some complexes have big size swimming pools where you can have a good swim. I was surprised to learn from my swimming teacher at the seaside that he will be teaching swimming in Bansko in St. Ivan Rilsky hotel this winter. Wow, why not relive the summer in Bansko?

Get In The Rink

If you want to get active and have fun, go to the Ice Rink on Pirin Street. The 1200 square metre rink is s a great place to learn to ice skate (trainers are available) or just enjoy some time there in the nice music and everybody’s laughter.

Bowling, snooker and billiards are also available for you – if you fancy playing some games, go to the Magic Bowling Centre.

Go Outside

Once you’re done with the charms of the town, you can always have a day trip outside Bansko.

In summer, Bansko is the starting point for many great hiking routes in the Pirin mountain. In winter, you’d better stick to the beaten track. You can take the gondola only to its first station and then have a walk around, meet your skiing friends and have lunch up in the mountains. If conditions are good, you can go down the road on foot and breathe in some fresh air.

There are some day trips that you can make to two nearby towns – Razlog and Dobrinishte. Both are beautiful small places, that have not yet been overdeveloped.

If you fancy a more city-like experience, go to the administrative centre of the area – Blagoevgrad. It’s 56 km away from Bansko and has a peculiar youth atmosphere due to its two major universities. Enjoy people watching the pedestrian main streets full of restaurants, cafes, and boutiques.

Cook Locally

If you want to stay at home and surprise your skiing mates with a nice dinner in, you have every chance to do so. Small supermarkets all over the town offer the basic range of foods sufficient for a nice meal, but I would advise you to go down Pirin street past the square to the local open market. In the morning, you can find all fresh local vegetables that will make for a great meal. Also, there are a couple of butcher shops selling fresh local meat. Do not hesitate to buy a bottle of Bulgarian wine to go with your meal.

Learn To Ski…

Of course, you can always give skiing a try. There are English-speaking ski instructors available, and even if you never become a devoted skier, I’m told you can always have a good laugh in the snow.

Tips Of The Day:

  • Learn To Ski from top independent school and hire shop. Save 20% — click here for prebook deal.
  • Lift Pass Tickets: Buy pass at gondola KIOSK. Open Thursday to Saturday between 08:30 and 23:00 and Sunday to Wednesday 08:30 to 15:30. Digital photo taken at booth. Ticket prices expected to be the same as last year: for more.


About the author

I enjoy tech, apps, entrepreneurship, podcasting and collaboration with others. I love travelling as well as skiing, hiking, MTB, paragliding, cooking and good food.
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