Season 2013/14 has opened with a bit of a bang. As ever Ulen AD have kept us all hanging on tender hooks with their usual saga of publishing the rates for this winter. So far we have the prices until the 20th of December what the real prices will be we wont know until after that! Their thinking is totally beyond comprehension, are they trying to be clever, are they trying to force people to book through Balkan holidays London? Maybe there is some cunning plan involving Amazon-esque tax avoidence either way it makes Ulen look pretty amateur as holiday makers drown social media with enquiries about what is going on.
As a local we have become used to these strange games however this year Bansko has achieved a new high in the pre season fail stakes. Ulen have for years been trying to get rid of the competition, normally to little avail but this year the stakes have been upped. Some how they have managed to persuade the Mayor of Bansko to bulldoze all the local ski shops. A double fail as this is pretty much a guarantee that the mayor will never get re-elected, the shops are gone and in their place is now the most ugly bomb site, and all the shop owners have now moved into new premises still close to the lift but in stronger buildings that will take more than a JCB to knock down!
The usual pressure on local businesses to get out of town has been cranked up to unprecedented highs this winter but most of us are doing o.k. with our regulars but it is sad to see a few fall by the wayside. It is a bit like a cross between Darwinism and David and Goliath but where Goliath has got himself a stone proof helmet and Darwin has a 50 cal. machine gun!
If you are planning to visit Bansko this winter I would ask you to support the local guys as those small businesses that really care about their guests are slowly getting stamped out.