So, I’ve just about recovered from my incredible ski experience in Bulgaria, sorted a million things with work, and now ready to share the experience with you! I hope I can squeeze it all in. For anyone who has missed the boat this year, and needs a little push to book a holiday that may not involve sunshine and sea (I know, it’s not the easiest thing to let go of the idea of a tan and relaxing), but is fully loaded with adventure, adrenaline, and breath-taking views, at great value for money, then read on to find out why Bansko is such an amazing place for a ski/snowboarding holiday, for beginners, families, and experienced skiers.
I’m going to get right in there with why the skiing here is so great. With 18 slopes and 70km of ski runs, if you’re a beginner it’s hard to imagine getting bored of skiing/snowboarding here! With snow cannons covering every slope, there is a guarantee for snow from December – May. For beginners, there are plenty of options for lessons. Lasting 2 hours, the lessons start at the bottom of the slopes where you will be taken with your instructor on the nursery slopes. The Ski instructors are great, and offer friendly support and encouragement to help you get the most out of the experience. As the week goes by and you progress, you will move up groups depending on your level of skiing/snowboarding.
The difficulty scale distribution is below:
30% – Beginner slopes
45% – Advanced slopes
35% – Expert slopes.
There is a pretty even split of difficulty, making Bansko a great place to ski, no matter your level, and there is also a chance for extreme sports, and cross country skiing.
Ski hire and lessons – There are several ski hire companies, which offer all equipment (skis, hat, poles and boots) and ski lessons. It’s very straight forward and all shops are in walking distance to the Gondola which takes you up the mountain to the slopes. The prices for Ski/snowboard hire is around 150Lv (£60) for 6 days and for lessons 50lv (£20) for 1 x 2 hour lessons and 210Lv (£85) for 6 days.
Where to hire:
Ski Mania – www.banskoskimania.com – Ski/snowboard hire and lessons.
Tsakirisski – www.tsakirisski.com – Ski/snowboard hire, lessons, and Gopro hire (40Lv per day).
The St Ivan Ski resort and apartments are great for enjoying the beautiful panoramic views of the mountains, with lovely peaceful surroundings. The apartments we stayed in were AMAZING! I couldn’t believe such a cosy, welcoming, place could come at such a great price. The apartment fits two people with the option to have two more people on a sofa bed.
The living area has two comfy sofas, a TV, Wifi, and dining table. The kitchen is a perfect size, with everything needed for tea, toast and chilled food. There is a hob, oven, sink and washing machine. All cutlery and cooking equipment is provided which gives you the choice to stay in and cook.
In the gorgeous bathroom, I was so happy to find all the toiletries I needed (obviously I forgot to bring them with me!) and towels. The dressing gown and slippers were the icing on the cake for me! Nothing beats getting in from a long day skiing, having a shower, and getting cosy on the sofa in my dressing gown!
I slept brilliantly in the comfy bed, with the heating keeping me warm, and the lovely balcony to step out onto in the mornings.
The apartment was pre-heated the day before we arrived, and stocked with tea, coffee, and biscuits. We enjoyed listening to music and watching films in the evenings, and if you’re a fan of computer games, there is PS2 with plenty of games to choose from. I felt very welcome at St Ivan’s. The staff and security guards were helpful and friendly. The resort is about a 10 minute walk to the town, but of you don’t feel like walking, a shuttle bus is provided on request from the apartments to the town/gondola.
Coming to life in the Ski season, the small town of Bansko is just under a 2.5 hour drive from Sofia airport. We had an incredibly easy transfer, arranged by Bansko Express for £66 per person return. Dropping us straight off at our apartments and picking us up in good time for our return flight. The town itself is buzzing with skiers, snowboarders, pubs, and restaurants. There are supermarkets and small shops to buy anything you need, and if you haven’t got any ski wear or forget something, don’t worry, there is a skiwear shop on pretty much every corner!
If you’re thinking of adventuring out to the mountains for some winter fun, especially if you are a beginner, Bankso is a wonderful ski resort with so much going on!