As promised by the resort, the season is officially open since the 12th of December. The management had organised a big show for everyone there during the opening ceremony and the weather was perfect for a day in the mountains. The only downside was the lack of good snow cover that didn’t allow for any of the lifts to be open to skiers.
As for the opening celebrations, they definitely didn’t go as planned. There wasn’t enough snow on “Tomba” for Marcus Wasmeier and Marc Girardelli to make their opening run, so all skiing had to be relocated to the baby lift. The second event, the gold rush, did go as planned. If you haven’t been to a season opening in Bansko before, this is a game where the organizers hide boxes with prizes in the snow and you have to find them. The big prize this year was a new car, but people could also win 30 other prizes. Anything form a season pass to 10kg of meat.
Probably the best part of the weekend was when they opened the lifts that take you to the top. The weather was perfectly sunny and the views were great. Anyone could take a ride up, as long as they didn’t take any skis or boards with them. The new 6 seater “Todorka” was also running and taking it first ever visitors up the mountain. Up at the top of the mountain the snow cover was better and it looks like all we need is one good snowfall.
This weekend was also Greece’s student vacation, so the whole town was full of students looking to party. Most restaurants are already up and running, even those on the mountain and on the ski road down to town. Most bars and taverns in town are also working. On Saturday we opted to leave behind the mass of tourists for a while and walk up to Shiligarnika to have a bite to eat in the Shiligarnika Lodge. We also checked out the bottom part of the ski road to see if the restaurants are working. To our surprise they were and some even had additions made to them over the summer.
The resort has its pricing online as well. There will be promotional prices until the 19th as show below. The full day pass is 30 BGN (15 EUR). The only catch is that the only piste you can ski on at the moment is the baby run located between the lifts “Kolarski” and “Banderitza 1”. Its so small, that it doesn’t even show on the lift map. If you are a complete beginner this is perfect for you, because you would be starting there anyways. But if you have already gone skiing a few times, then this definitely won’t challenge you in any way. Your other option to get some skiing done is to walk up one of the other slopes, but paying 30 leva to walk up is kinda too much. The ski road won’t be working anytime soon either, but is great for a walk and lunch break.
To sum it up, here is what you can do in Bansko if you’re there right now. First off, I would suggest going up the mountain by car or lift. If the sun is shining there is no better place to be, even just for a walk. If you have never skied before, then you can rent some skis and instructor to teach you on the leaner slope that is open. Don’t expect to get any real skiing down. For walking, you can also explore the lower part of the mountain, that starts from the bottom gondola station and up from there. Try out some of the slope side restaurants as well. Road works are still going strong in the town itself, so walking around the city isn’t that great at the moment.
Hopefully the snow will come soon and we can finally get to ski!