Bansko ski resort
» Bansko ski equipment (skis and boots), ski school , lift pass prices
The town of Bansko ( population 9 134) is situated at 925 m. above the sea level at the northeastern foot of Pirin beneath the highest and the most beautiful Karst part of the mountain. It is 160 km. south of Sofia, 60 km. southeast of Blagoevgrad, and at 6 km. south of Razlog. Bansko is one of the biggest winter resorts in the country. If you add to this its architectural and historical value, Bansko is the pearl in the Bulgarian necklace.
Today’s administrative centre of Bansko municipality is located in the place of a settlement that was inhabited in succession by Thracians, Romans, Byzantines and Slavs. The remains of ancient fortresses, Thracian tumuli, medieval colonies, consecrated grounds, churches and chapels within the town earthwork testify to several historical epochs. In the Old Town site, about 4 km to the southwest of the town and in the Yulen site (along the river Damianitsa downstream) there are some remains of ancient fortresses. Thracian burial mounds were discovered close to the Old Town site. The remains of the late medieval single-nave St. George and St. Elijah churches, monuments of culture, are to the southeast of Bansko.
Later Bansko was distinguished as an important mercantile and craftsman centre of a new, revival type. Large clans became wealthy; they carried over to their motherland not only the culture of the countries they visited but also they sent their children to study abroad. The contact with the rich European culture had an extraordinary favourable influence on the spiritual progress of the natives of Bansko. The lifestyle of people improved. They built strong two-storey fortress houses of stone with high walls and heavy solid gates, with long eaves of black fir. This style of architecture reached a full bloom during the Revival. The oldest houses of Hadjivalcho, Hadjirusko and Velian were protected by internal coverts and loopholes.
Bansko was liberated from Ottoman yoke on the 5th (18th) of October 1912, on the day the Balkan war was declared.
The church Sveta Troica (St. Trinity church 1835) is a masterpiece of architecture with the ensemble of old buildings of the same name beside it. Lazar Guerman, a well-known tradesman from Bansko, is an initiator and contributor for its construction. An interesting landmark is the monument of culture - the House-museum of Neofit Rilski. He was born in 1793, and was a patriarch of the Bulgarian education and enlightenment. He studied icon-painting and his teacher was Toma Vishanov – Molera. Later in the Rila monastery he became a monk.
You can also enjoy one of the most beautiful houses in the town – Velianovata. It is situated in the immediate neighborhood of Sveta Troica (St. Trinity) church.
Very beautiful is the native house of the Bulgarian poet Nikola Vaptsarov.
A traditional feast in Bansko is the Summer Jazz – Festival with popular performers from Bulgaria. Under the dome of the Pirin sky, in the lovely nights of August you can enjoy nice jazz music.
The most impressive one of the surroundings of Bansko is the legendary mountain of Pirin. The biggest part of tourist flow heading for the mountain goes through the town. Pirin Mountain National Park is on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage. The edelweiss flower and the wild goat are popular symbols of the region. Unique natural sights include Koncheto, Banski Suhodol, Bunderitsa and Kazana caves, Bunderitsa and Vasilyashka group of lakes, the famous Ulen forest reserve, the Baykushevata Mura tree, the Ulen and Demyanshki Skok waterfalls and the Hanna cave.
6 km. south of Bansko is the village of Dobrinishte. It is one of the largest villages in the country with a population of over 3 000 inhabitants. There are 17 mineral springs with water temperature between 30 and 43oC.
Skiing in Bansko
The Pirin Mountain and the town of Bansko provide fascinating conditions for all kinds of winter sports such as alpine skiing, snowboarding and cross-country along with extreme sports such as high mountain climbing, ice climbing and hiking. The northern mountain slopes of alpine character, looming over the town, offer a 5 month long winter season. The pistes with a total length of 65 km comply with the standards of FIS and are maintained in excellent condition. They provide the best opportunities for ski enthusiasts of all levels, from the absolute beginner to the extreme high performer. A number of national and international skiing events, including the Extreme Races have been held there. The Mad Goat Ride takes place in Bansko every mid February.
The average temperature in January, the coldest month, is -1,9 C. Snow falls are abundant, providing a constant perfect snow cover up to 2 m thick. The ski season on Pirin slopes starts in the middle of December and ends in the end of April.
- Bansko is situated at an altitude of 936 m
- Altitude of highest ski run: 2600 m
- Altitude of lowest ski run: 990 m
- The marked ski runs are 65 km long
- The slopes exposure is north
- Difficulty of slopes – beginner: 35 %, intermediate: 40 %, advanced: 25 %
- Covered by snow cannons: over 50%
- Total number of lifts: 23
- One 8-person Gondola cabin lift
- 7 chair lifts
- 6 drag lifts
- 10 baby-drag lifts
- Lift hours: 9:00 – 16:15
- The cross-country skiing course is 9 km
- Ski and snowboard school ULEN: some of Bulgaria’s best instructors
The two major ski regions of Bansko - the lower called CHALIN VALOG (1100-1600m) and the higher called SHILIGARNIKA (1700-2500m) - are situated above the town, on the nothern slopes of Pirin mountain.
Slalom and grand slalom runs are available in the SHILIGARNIKA region.
The third ski region is BANDERISHKA POLIANA.
The most suitable nursery slopes are around MOTIKATA restaurant, a short distance from the town of Bansko.
Nursery slopes are also available in the region of CHALIN VALOG and SHILIGARNIKA.
Bansko offers a cross-country track with a total lenght of 5 km. at a height of 1530 m above sea level at the BANDERISHKA POLIANA slope.
A 3 km ski-run Rollbahn track is situated 2 km from the town at 1050 m above the sea level.
The Longest Ski Run in Bansko
Bansko offers its guests a unique 16-kilometer uninterrupted ski run, starting from Todorka Peak at the highest point of the ski center, all the way to base station of the Gondola lift at the outskirts of town. The last 7 km of the slope are lighted, and the entire facility is equipped with artificial snow machines to ensure a great skiing experience even in warmer conditions.
New Ski Facilities
A hard push for improving the facilities has been made during the last year. The only Bulgarian 8-seats “Gondolla” cabin lift that can carry up to 2400 persons per hour completely eliminates the need for shuttle services to the ski runs. In about 20 minutes the Gondola goes up to the ski center, which is situated some 12 kilometers away from town. At the end of the day, skiers and snowboarders have a choice to return by the Gondola or take the ski road down to Bansko, which marks this resort as one of the few in the world to offer this option.
The lower 7 km of Bansko’s unique 16 km ski run have been lighted and equipped with snow cannons. Every Saturday skiers and snowboarders are welcome to descend the lighted ski run from Banderishka Polyana area all the way to the outskirts of town long after sunset; night skiing is also available during week-days upon prior arrangement.
The ski center has over 65 kilometers of marked ski runs and cross country tracks that have been extensively cultivated. More than 50% of the slopes are covered by snow cannons and all runs are groomed by 12 Kassbohrer slope maintenance vehicles to guarantee maximum pleasure from the great selection of nursery, intermediate, and advanced pistes.
The ski runs are serviced by a number of chair lifts and drag lifts, all of which are cutting edge Doppelmayer ski lifts, including the 8-man Gondola and the four-chair lift with bubble shields to protect skiers from harsh weather conditions. The easy access to all lifts is secured by SkiData chip-card ski passes that one never needs to take out of the pocket, which is still a rare occurrence in many Alpine resorts and has helped bring down queues to a minimum.
Those, who do not have their own ski or snowboard gear, can choose from more than 2000 pairs of carving ski and more than 200 snowboards, all of which are cutting edge Atomic and Salomon and are available for rent at the Gondola lift stations.
The new half-pipe is of great interest to both foreign and Bulgarian skiers and snowboarders, as it is the only permanent half-pipe facility in the country. The winter sports center also includes more than 9 kilometers of cross country ski tracks, a biathlon shooting range, a winter sports stadium and a ski kindergarten—the Junior Ski Club—which welcomes children 4 and up.
There are three main areas with fast-food establishments by the slopes—Banderitsa, Shiligarnika, and Platoto. These are great places to share your excitement from the ski area with both your party and new acquaintances.
Ski School and KindergartenThe Bansko ski schools offer skiing classes in 5 different difficulty levels, from A to E - in groups or individually, of varying duration. The tuition in cross-country skiing is in 2 classes of difficulty. All graduates receive skiing certificates.
There are professional ski instructors speaking Bulgarian, Russian, English, German and French. The kindergarten for 4 to 7-year-olds offers 4-hour daily program and entertainment in the special children area.
Junior Club ski kindergarten with 3 Baby drags, a Wonder Carpets baby track, and a Winter/Summer rotunda type Kinder Carousel
There are experienced instructors and guides for forest riding.
Food and Drinks
Delicious Bulgarian meals and local red wine are easy to find. Over one hundred places to dine out, predominantly local-style “mehana” restaurants. Live performances of local artists are common in “mehana” dining places. The peculiar local cuisine includes traditional meals, such as Kapama, Chomlek, Banski Starets.
Safety and Money
Bansko is safe for foreigners, but not everyone speaks English. Outside their hotels foreigners will be better off with a guide and will have to pay in cash; exchange offices are available at major hotels. Credit cards are accepted at First Investment Bank’s office at Hotel Pirin and at some of the major hotels.
24 hour Emergency Rescue Service is based in the town of Bansko and in the region of Shiligarnika in Pirin mountain and is fully equipped with all the necessary equipment.
A regular bus-shuttle service interlinks the town, the mountain hotels and the main ski centres.
Tours can be arranged to Semkovo ski centre in Rila Mountain which is a 40 minunte drive away and helicopter trips can bring you to Borovetz, the largest ski centre in Bulgaria, within 20 minutes.
The basic type of transport that connects the town to the rest of the country is the bus. There are regular bus connections to Sofia, Blagoevgrad, Gotse Delchev and Razlog. The central bus station is modern and large located on Pariarch Evtimiy Str. and the railway station is on Akad Lordan Lvanov Str. in the eastern end of the town. Both are close to each other and only about 5 minutes walk from the main square.
Getting around Bansko can all be done on foot as its an easy 20 minutes walk from one end of the town to the other, no need for taxis in the town, besides there are very few taxis located in the town itself.
Other places of interest in/near Bansko