My Personal Journey: A Ski Season To Never Forget

May 20, 2015 No Comments by
ski Bansko

End Of Season Pose

The build up to the 2014/15 Bansko ski season started like most ski seasons everywhere — with great snow expectations. The big question of “will it, or won’t it” snow, the wishing, the hoping, the snow forecasting, even the snow dancing; I felt confident it was going to be a good one when chatting to Blake on podcast episode number 24

A really big dump of snow arrived for the 12th December. Excellent mid December ski conditions. Now getting fitter and enjoying life at what is always a super busy time for me — and everyone else serving visitors to Bansko.

Tomba Bansko

Bunderistsa 1 Chair lift: March 2015

Most mornings I was out and reporting on the ski conditions, via a video report, on Answering questions and fixing software bugs.


The telephone call we all dread

Looking back at the snow reports on my facebook page you will see many video snow reports. But over Christmas and New Year you’ll see Richard and John stepping in to these for me.There was a reason for my absence from the reports, and the pistes, those days.

Just before Christmas, my father passed away.

I had just been skiing when I got the call. A moment we all dread. A reported deterioration in his condition a few days earlier had me very worried. So, in hindsight, the call was a distinct possibility.

Bansko World Cup Start: February 2015

I felt a strange moment of calm, amongst a number of very anxious few days prior to the news. It happened whilst looking for flights home to get to my father before deterioration in his condition. It turns out that moment of calm coincided with the exact moment of death. I’m not superstitious, nor especially spiritual — but that profound moment is engraved in my memory.

The drive to Sofia felt like it was in slow motion. I had to stop for some fresh spring water at the Predela pass. There is a tiny church there. I entered it and quietly composed my thoughts. I put some Morcheeba music on the car vis bluetooth from my mobile.

Music was not really helping. I then decided a “Desert Island Disk” podcast may help turn my thoughts to other folks lives. It worked. And so did an episode of the Friday Night comedy podcast.

Well, it was not a good time. Laughing was nigh on impossible.

Flying above Bunderitsa Poliana: March 2015 (Gavin Jillings photo credit)

I had recently recorded a cooking podcast episode 29 with Mike Wilkinson, executive chef at the Kempinski. I remember fretting about the challenging sound conditions of that recording and how best to improve the sound. In any event I was thinking how much fun recording that show was.

Back in the UK. A non-Christmas, organising, answering messages, supporting enquiries as usual. Funeral.


The family lifecycle of skiing

But for some reason I did not feel like writing much here on

Bansko ski season…  it’s now early January 2015 and I’m now back in Bansko. I had to get up the mountain for air.

April 2015: with friends

I still did not seem right to try and get out on the ill enjoy myself. But I did feel sure my father would have wanted the “show to go on”. Sitting on the chair lift made me reflect on the fact that it was he was really the reason why I’m privileged to be here enjoying a lifetime of winter sports.  I felt gratitude for him how inspired a thing it was to take the family on a ski trip. Inspired back in 1970 (he first went  I think in 1965). It was our only holiday abroad each year. The ski holiday replaced summer overseas.

My summers were exclusively spent at the seaside, mainly in boats and sailing. All of us parents and four children sleeping in the caravan.

So all this reminded me of the joy of family skiing and how the generations pass the whole experience of going to a winter ski resort holiday to their children. So many memories started to come back. It was a healing process.

Bansko ski and snowboard

Once perfect day in March 2015

Looking back, I’m really happy that the automated ski booking process worked so well. The dedicated team of friends and helpers meant that my absence did not impact, in any material way, to clients. The smooth and friction-free booking of ski hire lessons, lift passes and transfer had been my key goal of Bansko Blog from the start and summer 2014 saw the improvements implemented — just in time for the ski season.


Distraction is a good thing

The distraction of a great snow season created many highs after the sad Christmas and New Year period.

Meeting up with some fellow expats such as Cristian Zarnescu and other regular Bansko goers made for some special times both on and off the piste.


Late season

Whilst I think the lift company could have announced the extended season dates earlier than they did, it was a joy skiing until 12th April. In fact the ski season ended on the 19th April — but the announcement  of this extension was too late for me to change plans.

In any event, I had all but used up my 40 day season pass.

ski Bansko

April Happy Days: 10/10 snow conditions

In spite of the devastating news, ski season 2014/15 had many highs. I especially appreciated so many people making the effort to come to my 50th Birthday Party. My thanks to my girlfriend Vania for making sure it was a day I will never forget.

I’ll write about the things I would like improved another time — but also the many aspects of Bansko got better. Yes, Bansko is far from perfect and there’s room for improvement, but so many people I met who were here for the very first time, were booking a return visit for next ski season. A few were excited about the summer in Bansko.

I reflect that the snow filled ski season has provided more inspiration for everything that I do.

Thank you for your support. And if you’re wondering how you can support the blog, the app, the podcasts — then be sure to book everything you can here on Bansko — winter and summer transfers. Be sure to download the app for all that you see here plus a lot more including great value transfers from €13.95 per person to Bansko and high quality ski hire, ski school and lessons, lift passes and accommodation.


The future

My focus is more than ever on the application of technology both on the web site ( and in the Bansko App. If you have suggestions how I can better inform and entertain, then be sure to contact me — use the message service in the bottom right. I’ll keep you posted on the project to upgrade what you see here on Bansko Blog and Bansko App. Both are being overhauled to provide a better information and booking experience.

With some time in Sofia to record some really great podcast recordings such as these two with top historian, Eric Halsey, the audio project for Bansko is taking shape. You’ll also soon hear about Bansko Beat in a podcast from the organiser. Be sure to subscribe to to receive all the news (of course no spam is guaranteed).

All podcasts are in Bansko App (see relevant links to the Apple and Google Play stores iOS and Android) and best of all to subscribe in iTunes.

Living, Skiing & Snowboarding

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.
No Responses to “My Personal Journey: A Ski Season To Never Forget”

Leave a Reply