Bansko has a total of 13 ski lifts and over 75km of ski slopes. There is terrain for all levels of expertise. From easy green ski runs, to tough black diamond slopes worthy of the slalom world cup held there. It’s no surprise that the ski pistes are one of the top reasons skiers choose Bansko over other resorts.
In this article we are going to review the different ski zones on the mountain based on your skill level:
–Beginner (first timers, skiers/snowboarders that need the safest slopes to learn the basics)
–Intermediate (Skiers/snowboards who can turn and stop without problem on semi-steep terrain)
–Expert (Skiers/snowboarders who can do high-speed carving turns on any slope, experienced freestyle/freeride riders.)
Bansko is a great place for beginners and many people have had their first day on skis here. We strongly advise you to get some lessons if it’s your first time, you won’t regret it. But let’s say you’re going with a friend who can teach you or you’d like to learn it on your own. Then these are the slopes for you:
–Bunderishka Polyana – This is the area of the top gondola station. Here you will find ski barge Panica B and other green slopes. On the ski map these slopes are marked as blue, but I would definitely consider them green and perfect for your first turns.
–Bottom Gondola Station – Another place for absolute beginners is at the bottom of the Gondola station. Here you don’t even need a ski pass, you just walk up and ski down. It is flat, but is just steep enough to get you going. Also walking up with your skis on helps you get used to them.
–Ski Barge Chalin -This one is located next to the Chalin Valog lift. It is a little bit steeper than the previous two, but also a great place to start learning to ski. There are also some nice places to eat near this one and lift lines are often smaller.
–Ski run Bansko (Ski Road) – Enough with the flat stuff. For those of you who have skied a little before, the slope that leads from the top gondola station to the town is your next stop. This is the longest run on the mountain, over 15km and has a 1600m denivelation. A good rule to remember on this slope is to never turn at the edge of the piste. As this connects the mountain with the town, all skiers go down this slopes at the end of the day. Consider the edge of the slope “the fast lane” for expert riders that don’t need to turn.
Intermediate riders will probably find most of the runs to their liking. These are some of my favorite:
–Plato – The #11 and #3 runs, that go down on both sides of the Plato lift, are some of the best Bansko has to offer. High in the mountain you often have a great view of the town and surrounding mountain range. This is also where the Bansko Snow Park is located. They have jumps and features for intermediate riders as well. These slopes are serviced with a new 4 seater lift. Keep in mind that if the weather is very bad these runs will probably be closed.
–Shiligarnik Slopes – These connect the bottom of the Plato runs with Shiligarnika. The #5 and #10 runs are pretty similar, however the #5 can get steep at some points. There is also one place on the #5 that some call “the wall”. There you will find 300m of steep slope, that can be hard for some less experienced skiers. The best part about these two runs are all of the small jumps on the side of the slope. The number #10 is probably the best slope for skiers transitioning from beginner to intermediate. These two slopes are serviced by two 4-seater lifts – Mosta and Shiligarnik. With the new 6 seat Todorka lift you will be able to ski both the Plato runs, then the Shiligarnik runs and straight back up.
–Banderitza 2 – The top of the Banderitza 2 lift is also good for advanced intermediate riders. The #2 and #4 runs are red, so if you’re having difficulty on the blues, save these for later.
–Tomba – For expert riders we suggest the #9 slope, Tomba. This is where world cup races are held. If it’s good enough for the pros, it’s good enough for us. Keep in mind that this slope can sometimes be icy, so sharpen your edges and stay safe. In good snow conditions (no ice) this is one of the best slopes to ski fast with big carving turns.
–The #4 slope – Balkaniada. This is a fun red slope that offers good skiing for people transitioning from intermediate to expert. There is often less people on this slope, so it’s a great place to let go and ski faster.
–Bansko Snow Park – Bansko has a snow park crew who do their best in offering a nice setup of jumps and rails. It’s located at the end of the #11 run on the Plato. By late January it’s normally open and gets bigger and better throughout the rest of the season.
–Off-piste – Bansko has some of the best freeride on the Balkans. Venture at your own caution, as people have gotten lost and some have even died from avalanches. Never go alone! The best idea is to find some local riders to show you around.
Wondering how good the freeriding is in Bansko? Check out our video from the 17th of January 2016, where we got to ski some fresh powder.
You can check out our YouTube Channel for more videos from the slopes and back country around Bansko.
Have anything to add? What are your favorite runs and why, leave a comment below.