That was the season that was 2014/15 ski season is coming to a close and what a year it’s been! Tons of snow and tons of curry. Amazing days in the powder and on the touring skis. Best of all loads and loads of our regulars back in Bansko.
One of the biggest highlights for me this winter has been the Horizon festival, the festival is normally for a week in mid March, we have the organisers staying with us and we feed the staff every night. What an amazing bunch of people, so positive upbeat and friendly, arty, hippy, cosmic types just full of love and happiness. All they are interested in is making sure the parties go well and everyone has an amazing time. We had them all here for about 10 days and it was lovely to ride the wave of hippy happiness!
Horizon is an electronic music festival with a twist. There is no festival venue as such, they take over the whole town and resort. With stages in bars, clubs, hotels and even one on the ski road at Mountain Creek (just below Chalin Valog) the music is predominantly electronic but with some deviations into funk and reggae and ska. The line up is fantastic, organisation amazing and the vibe to die for! 2016 it will be the 12th to the 19th of March.
On a personal level 2014/15 has seen a bit of a change in my approach to the hill. In the past I have bought a season pass, a few years ago these got limited to only 40 days and then the price was hiked massively and ultimately the whole season pass thing stopped being a season pass and became a bit of a joke. this year I decided to approach the whole thing from a different angle. I have been planning to spend more time hiking into the hills and less time using lifts so the saga with the lift pass forced my hand. I bought a 20 day pass so i could ski with Dylan and my Dad when he is over and then bough a light and super comfortable pair or ski touring boots with the leftover money.
I have loved the touring this winter, ok it takes hours to hike up and minuets to ski down but considering I must have skied every line you can access by lift a million times I don’t feel I am missing out. What I have gained is priceless! Fitness-wise I am in better shape than I have been for years. I have and still am exploring parts of Pirin that I would never have thought to visit otherwise and the real joy is instead of plodding downhill like I do in the summer I can ski back to the village effortlessly!
Back to the village means Peshterite! What a way to celebrate a big day hiking up the mountains! This little place on the side of the ski road is just fantastic. Everything we love about Bulgaria in one place. Family run, food cooked on a wood fired BBQ, home made everything, chips from potatoes not reconstituted crap, smiley friendly staff and lots of smiley happy guests. I always have the same, water, beer, lutenitsa, cheesy chips and horse sausage. 20 odd leva for a home made feast!
Chalin Valog has (as ever) featured strongly in my winter. I have always loved this ski area two steep blackish runs, a little blue to get you past the scary bits if they are too much and then a long fun red back to the chair. At the bottom of Chalin there is a huge beginners area that is always quiet and an ideal place to learn to ski . All in all this little area is a perfect resort all of its own. Well this year I have been using it for ski touring. It’s about an hour from town to the mid station of the gondola and then and we deserved blast down the black and back to work! I tend to see a lot of friends and guests as I walk up, most stop for a chat so it’s all pretty social and the black run is challenging enough to keep me happy on the way home.
Politicking is going well, on a local level it looks like we should have a new mayor and town council in the autumn which is only a good thing for Bansko. On a national level the mission goes on and on and on! I think some people are beginning to see the value in my plans to renovate the old ski resorts in Bulgaria, but it is a Sisyphean task. The potential is huge, resorts with 1000m altitude difference between top and bottom abound in Bulgaria. The one lift wonders oozing potential have been left to rot since the end of socialism. My mission to persuade the government to renovate these lifts has been going on for a while now but only this winter does it appear to be gaining support! Fingers crossed in 10 or 20 years Bulgaria will; be teaming with micro resorts!