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Date: 3rd Feb - 10th Feb 2007
Our holiday: This was my 2nd Skiing holiday the first being in Tremblant with a report here http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewpost.php?p=161772 .
This time my wife stayed at home and I took my best friend Andy with me, who is a total novice apart from a 4hr course in a snow dome. I had not skied really since Tremblant apart from a few snowdome trips. We booked Borovets mainly due to price and good reports including Stevec's one here http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewpost.php?p=360773
Website : http://www.bulgariaski.com/ but also a google for skidvd might throw up something interesting.
Basics : Flight time should have been just on 3 hrs with a 1.5hr transfer but it all started to go wrong when we arrived at Gatwick to be told the flight would not be going to Sofia airport but we are now on a new flight to Plovdiv which now made the transfer go up to 3hrs and the flight time increase by 1/2 hr !!!! all due to rubber band airways who downgraded the orginal aircraft.
Lift system : One gondola, three quad chairs and eight button lifts, two of which are parallel jobs one being faster than the other. Having never really done button lifts I was surprised how fast the high speed buttons where !!! they are not for the faint hearted!!! The top section of the gondola can easily get closed due to high winds, I never suffered this while I was there mind you, but I had heard others say it had been closed for half of the week before due to winds !!
The terrain : There is two main areas, one being right infront of the resort at the foot of the mountain and one being acessed from the gondola on the top of the mountian which does have a really good green run that is wide and very gental and is a must for learners. I would use this every morning to warm up on as I am still very much a early learner. BUT I must warn you the only way back down the mountian from the top is either by the gondola or a so called green run which can in no way be called a green run !!!! so if you go up there and cannot either walk or ski blues with a bit of red back to the middle station of the gondola then expect a hard walk!! The bashers where out two or three times a day so it looks like they have improved the piste maintenance since Stevec's visit.
The snow : We were lucky and the resort had a dump about week before we arrived and then another big one the day after we arrived BUT by the end of the week the lower slopes were pretty much shot and the top of the mountian was wearing pretty thin, reports from the instructors seemed that season was moving later and now the better snow was late Feb to March rather than Jan to Feb. They also where saying that 2007 was the worst year for snow. As we left I felt sorry for the newcomers as there really wasnt much in the way of snow left and by the looks of it they still havent got any more !!
Off-piste : Yeah right , I need to actually ski first LOL
The resort : I found the resort quite nice and pretty especially when it had snowed over night. There are lots of nice little welcoming bars, yes theres the odd lapdancing place and erotic clubs etc but these never bothered us and they didnt really shout at you too much. I did get anouyed with the people standing outside their bars telling me how wonderful their bar/restraunt was and that you must come in for a drink etc etc I cant understand why they do this as it actually puts me off the bar. If I want to go into a bar I'll make my own own mind up and I dont need some bulgarian in broken english telling me that I need to go in their bar !!! Otherwise its fine, yes if you look around you will find the ladies of the night, but to be honest they dont bother you and you have to look quite hard, my mate was asked only the once "do you like" from what he decided later was a pimp LOL and I was asked once if I would like Coke ( not the drink) !! But then I think you can find this sort of thing anywhere really and I certainly felt safe in the resort. Couple of places I didnt like was the "BuzBar" (in the main street) and the "Irish Bar" (at the Flora) both of these in my book are aimed very much at the "I am a sad UK tourist with mug written on my forehead" I won't post in public why I didnt like them but if you PM me I'll tell you why they left me with a sour taste.
Food : We ate all over the place and found all the places to serve very good food, it tended to be quite bulgarian so you have to like meat, Vegies go else where, having said that there is still a fair few vegie options about, its also very cheap and you should be able to get a good meal and a drink for about ¬£6. Watch out for things called meat balls as these are more like our burgers and one of our group ordered 2 burgers thinking he was ordering 2 meat balls and ended up with two plates of food with a burger on each. Hot chocolate with brandy goes down well, also look out for hot wine another tastey warmer.
Accommodation : Right well we stayed at the Hotel Edleweiss purely on Stevec's report http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewpost.php?p=360773 as we had heard some other reports on the big Rila hotel as being not very good. So what did we think of the Edleweiss, to be honest it was what I expected, and fairly similar to Stevec's report but I had hoped it was going to be a bit better. I would say if you can get into the Bor hotel, which is its sister hotel, I would go there as this seems to be a much nicer hotel and talking to the staff the manager of the Bor wants the place to be nice and homely and this really shows, we gave up using the Edleweiss bar that was in the basement after the first night and would take the 2 mins walk to the Bor hotel and use that bar as it was far nicer and homely. Yes both the Edleweiss and the Bor are about a 15min walk from the center and we started by walking everywhere but soon started using the Taxis or horse drawn carraiges which where all 10levs for anywhere in the resort ( about ¬£3.50 ) Food at the Edleweiss was ok and plentiful nothing special but make sure you go for the Bulgrian stuff rather than their attempt to cook UK food as its pretty dire. A top tip if you want a Balcony at the Edleweiss is to book the third floor room and any odd number as these are the ONLY rooms that have a balcony, you might ask why but it just is nice to have somewhere to put stuff or if you are a smoker you can go onto the balcony for your fix.
Costs: As its cheap you cant knock it , we paid about ¬£300 for a week some had paid a lot less and when you look at the fact I paid ¬£350 just for my SkiPack for 3 days in Tremblant you cant go wrong. I would say its a "must" to buy your lift pass or SkiPack when you book, we didnt hoping to get a bargain out there but failed and it cost us about ¬£60 MORE , big mistake. As I've said before food and drinks are pretty cheap with a beer costing about ¬£1.25 and a meal costing around ¬£6. I took out ¬£300 worth of spending money and bought back more than hundered quid. I lived like a king and tipped like a king, which does payoff in the long run. Tipping is about 10%.
Conclusion:Overal the resort was great and as I've only got Tremblant to compare it with, I found it to be very good, certainly a LOT cheaper than Tremblant. It did seem more spread out than I was expecting and I did feel I did a lot more staggering about with my ski boots on compared with Tremblant. Would I go back........yes purely based on price. As for it being a good resort for beginers/intermediates I would beg to differ. I am now fairly good at parallel turns but felt there wasnt much for me there, but this is just a personal thing as I did like the long green runs of Tremblant which you could bumble along over many K's, there only seemed to be one run like this at Boro and that would get overcrowded and ice up, there is another long green but our instructor said even though it was marked as a green its very narrow and shouldnt be marked as a green. The blue runs just seemed too short for my liking and if you are only a beginer and they shut the top of the gondola then you could be really up the creek. I like to do nice long runs (ok they are only green ones ) in shorter and shorter times as this way I know I'm improving but with so little long green runs it proved pretty tricky. Having said that you must remember the price you have paid for the holiday it is dam cheap and its cheap when your there so all in all its pretty good and I'll be going back I think. May be not to the Edleweiss, not that there was anything really bad about it, I just think theres better out there for similar money.
All in all I think my report mirrors Steve's apart from the hotel which I think might have gone down hill a bit and the fact Steve says its OK for the beginer which is true to a point but as I am a little above this I found there was very few green/blue runs, plenty of reds but they are over my ability also a few blacks ( I can only dream of those) So if you want a snow fix its better than a snowdome, cheaper than other places but it does show, its like buying a 12" portable TV and expecting to get a 32" HD LCD picture, it aint going to happen. But its better to see something on the 12" than see nothing at all if you get my drift.
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