Most travel experts, if not all travelers, know Eastern European travel is on the upswing even this Winter. While Eastern Europe’s ski resorts may not be as famous as those in the Alps, or even in America, even seasoned European ski enthusiasts flock to “the other Europe” for great powder and prices. Bulgaria’s economy in particular is set to thrive while others flounder, from the country’s ski industry alone.
New equipment, a dedication to be a world tourism capital, and the second best deals in Europe for quality skiing – these are a few of the symptoms of an economy peeking out of despair. Bulgaria’s Deputy Minister of Economy, Ivo Marinov, told reporters recently that they expect something on the order of 3 percent more tourists this year than last. And Bulgaria has always been a boom spot for Winter sports enthusiasts.
The top destination, second only to Romania’s Poiana Brasov in Romania, is the Bansko resort at the foot of the Pirin Mountains. At just under 10,000 feet (2,914 m), the facilities and the slopes there are on a par with most any.Where else can world class white stuff, a week of skiing it, ski hire, dinners and drinks fit into a budget under €400? Well, Romania as mentioned, and Slovenia’s Kanin. Throw in legendary Bulgarian charm, breathtaking sights, and the newness of discovery – clearly open season on East Europe skiing is about to commence.
The city website offers some insight into services and info but it should be noted too that the area has been highly overdeveloped – many problems with infrastructure ensuing from what many say is over-development to invite foreign investment. Whatever the down side to Bulgarian ski tourism, the stalwart skier obviously revel in it all. Then too, Bansko has been named Winter capital of the Balkans too, and the spin cannot hurt.
With the government cutting all corners to attract visitors, the proprietors pulling out all hospitality stops, and with a little help from Mother Nature, the Ministry of the Economy’s predictions may be conservative. Of course in the end the only variable that matters is your ski vacation, right? We hope this is news you can use – live it up on the slopes wherever you decide. Check out the extreme footage from Bansko below – can you handle it?
Images courtesy of Peisaje Montane.