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Bulgaria...

 Poster: A snowHead
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OK, I'm serious this time, I'm seriously considering buying one of those cheap Bulgarian ski holidays in early January so that I can get the twins (9yo) started, there's a ton of snow predicted for the whole of Europe this year so there shouldn't be a snow issue.

Any opinions?
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
marodo2712 wrote:
there's a ton of snow predicted for the whole of Europe this year so there shouldn't be a snow issue.


Sure you're serious?

There's no way to predict the snow with any certainty at this range.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I heard of a prediction of a mega winter
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marodo2712 wrote:
I heard of a prediction of a mega winter


Yep, I predict a mega winter. Toofy Grin








(Please note: I have been accused of being over optimistic in the past, and have no training whatsoever in weather forecasting)
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I'm definitely tempted too…. don’t seem as cheap as they once were (well, not at Christmas when I’m looking to go) but the saving is significant enough and the lift passes alone come in at about half the price of major resorts in the Alps.

I love a bit of Google street view just to check resorts out. The Bulgarian ones are quite funny because out of season they look pretty rough compared to the Alpine resorts… but snow hides a multitude of sins so does it really matter? Probably not.
One of the lads in my office went to Bansko on a lads ski trip, said it was mega cheap but he lost count of the stray dogs and was propositioned for hookers quite a few times. He declined FWIW Very Happy
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In summer at least, the stray dogs are significantly reduced on a few years ago, they all have ear tags now and look well maintained.
I can't speak for the hookers.
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Book a Sunweb or Snowtrex deal to a small/mid sized French resort and you'll get much better skiing and lift passes included in the price. Should be no more than £100-150pp + arrange your own cheap flights.
I once skied in Pamporovo over new year, pros were cheap food and drink on and off the mountain, nice atmosphere and novelty of not being in an overpriced mega resort. Cons were the limited skiing available, would be fine for beginners but there are better and cheaper options I think.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@alasdair.graham@hotmail.c, I'll be going with 9yo twins and their mother, none of whom can ski, you can get flights, transfers, hotel, half board, ski hire, lift passes, and school for £2k the four of us.
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@marodo2712
There is plenty there to enjoy a good holiday for sure. I'd say Pamporovo would be ideal for total beginners, I think you could manage sub 2k in France with the same elements but by self catering which I know isn't for everyone.
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marodo2712 wrote:
OK, I'm serious this time, I'm seriously considering buying one of those cheap Bulgarian ski holidays in early January ......

Any opinions?


Never been to Borovets, so can't possibly comment ....... for various reasons it's never been on the radar.

Bansko ....... been around ten years since I last went, not sure it's much of a 'beginners' place from memory, but there is some decent terrain there for intermediates. Nice town as well, at least the old part, however .......

....... the main gondola queue was horrendous ten years ago, and there are reportedly many more beds now than then, so this alone would rule it out for me, as this recent poll seems to confirm ....... scroll down the page and click on 'results' ........ almost a third of people (31% as of 22/9/19) waited 90+ mins Shocked

That leaves Pamporovo ....... somewhere that again didn't really appeal but for various specific reasons I ended up there for a week three seasons back.

Plenty of beginner/improver terrain, and with the opening up of the main area towards Stoykite, plus the bus connection to the big red at Chepelare, nearly enough intermediate terrain for six days, although advanced riders might get a bit bored after a couple.

Lift queues are mostly manageable, hotels a short (included) bus ride away from the beginner Malina drop area ..... so my recommendation, just give the bell sellers a swerve wink

Quote:
I'll be going with 9yo twins and their mother, none of whom can ski, you can get flights, transfers, hotel, half board, ski hire, lift passes, and school for £2k the four of us.


Couple of points ...... try to avoid 'Russian' new year, it falls after ours in early Jan, and everywhere is busier as a result.

I can't recommend Balkan Holidays enough ....... really first class service, generally cheaper by a reasonable margin, plenty of deals and local knowledge ...... and no, I've no affiliation.

Although there is an element of risk, if you can leave booking until 7-10 days before you intend to go, you really do have the possibility of scoring a killer deal ....... if so your budget of two grand would cover everything and quite possibly your spending money as well, within reason ......

AAJMHO
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@marodo2712, Two grand is pretty impressive but as it's the first one for the rest of the family , and first impressions count. I'd say spend a bit more and go to a smaller French one.
Snowbizz in Puy Saint Vincent have everything you need plus a dedicated english speaking ski school for the kids. There's also an evening kids club that literally costs pennies. The ski school meets in the apartments which are on the slopes too so zero lift hassles first thing.
The slopes are good and there's quite a bit of larch off piste tree run stuff apparently.
One downside though is you're better off self catering with them as they only offer evening meals at a local restaurant for about £500 for the four of you. Shocked I can cook a lot of spag bol and such for that kind of money.
We're intending to go back there this january ourselves, and all in (including a few hundred spendies) it comes in at 3k. So not an obscene amount of money for a ski holiday by any means.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
If you're still serious ......

Some pretty keen deals here

No, I've no connection to said company ......
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I had my first ever ski holiday in Pamporovo over two decades ago Shocked via an insanely cheap Teletext holiday - £199 all-in for flight, transfers, half board, and equipment rental. Only thing left to pay was for the stupidly cheap lessons.

Obviously I can't comment on the current status with lifts etc (and the transfer from Sofia seemed to last forever) but as a beginner resort, yes, it was fine. It did the job. I certainly didn't feel restricted by the terrain, because I was a beginner. However, knowing what I know now, I can easily see it getting a bit tedious for those with more than a month on snow.

Oddly, there was a McDonalds at one of the midpoints on the mountain which you could ski up to. However, the "burgers" were actually cardboard I think.

I don't know what the exchange rate is like now, but I vividly remember the shops attached to the hotel selling huge amounts of Swarovski-style crystal tat for pennies, along with ceremonial daggers and swords. And I had a very cheap hairdresser visit. Very unusual but generally quite pleasant place! I have fond memories of it.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Send a PM to Mother Hucker as, IIRC, he has a place in Bulgaria. If so he'll be able to advise you.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@marodo2712, I'm sure there was a SnowHeads thread about ski-lift queues in Bansko, but the pics were of lift queues in Val d'Isere!!!!!!!!!

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=bulgaria+ski+resort+queues&sxsrf=ACYBGNQpn7DbkExW6YC5VmQCUdTp_E2m1Q:1569529893535&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwirxZK-qu_kAhUIxoUKHY-6AiQQ_AUIESgB&biw=2162&bih=1025#imgrc=8wWgLJOx280aVM:
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My only trip to Bulgaria was with Balkan holidays, £300 for half board over new year! Great deal and holiday, our plane departed Edinburgh but picked up people in Newcastle and(I think) Manchester on the way!
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
marodo2712 wrote:
I heard of a prediction of a mega winter


The annual Daily Express headline I assume
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@skimastaaah, here’s my review from a Feb half term

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=2859770&highlight=bansko#2859770

Including pictures definitely taken there!

We had been previously for New year and similarly suffered.

We have access to free accommodation there but won’t go at peak times BUT if you are looking at off peak my parents have had good experiences (it is their accommodation). Trouble is we are stuck with peak times until the girls go to Uni!

Edit to add: there is also more to Bulgaria than just Bansko, hence I hadn’t commented on this thread before as i have no experience of the other resorts


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Fri 27-09-19 7:20; edited 1 time in total
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philwig wrote:
In summer at least, the stray dogs are significantly reduced.


BBQ Season Cool
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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Have you thought about looking at Maurienne Valley? Valloire/Valmeinir will flog you a 2 bedroom SC room for 400 euro, discounted lift pass for around 150 euro. As well as discounted lessons, hire, etc. - it will run you around £2k after you sort out your own flights & transfers/car hire & obviously food on top (hire a car & stop at a hypermarket on the wayout)
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waste of money IMO... we did it and regretted it...did a week in Santa caterina the year after and it was a kids heaven...
if youre doing early january and its for the kids.. then they are usally a lot of cheap deals going the first two weeks in january with places that will have snow or snow making, as its for the kids they wont need 6 foot of powder !!!(if you can get kids out of school) try La Thuile, or la plagne, ..look on Crystals website, you will be surprised
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philwig wrote:
In summer at least, the stray dogs are significantly reduced.


A friend went to Bansco this summer and the first thing she said when I asked about it was "Were the streets full of stray dogs when you went?"

It's more than 10 years since I went and it may have improved but i won't be going to Bulgaria again.

It can be good for a laugh though...

http://youtube.com/v/wOIYm5B_Pw8
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
That video is a classic!
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+1 on the vid -- brilliant Smile
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One thing you will find with kids is that for their first week -- no, their first month -- on skis any old place will do, so long as there's a rope tow or poma lift, or even a dinky 2 person chair. We took our kids to La Chapelle d'Abondance for the first three years of their lessons, and the "town" slopes were much more than adequate, without ever having to go up the main gondola.

You want to make sure that they have a good time. Kids can be pretty fickle -- are they excited about skiing? If so, then any station should do. but if they're ambivalent you might want to go for a really scenic spot or a town that has quaint Alpine charm.
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God that vid! I've just watched it again since getting home and It's just as funny second time round. Very Happy
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
It's just as funny the 20th time round as well! Haha
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Brilliant Video - I needed a laugh....and that will continue to deliver.

Still wiping the tears from my eyes!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Boris wrote:
marodo2712 wrote:
I heard of a prediction of a mega winter


The annual Daily Express headline I assume


'Scuse me Boris, but have you not looked at the holly trees recently?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Loads of helpful info!

I had heard about lots of dogs and mad queues, I'll keep my eyes open.

@Pasigal, yes, they're very keen!
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Lift queues in Pamporovo not that bad, except for the triple around ski school time 10.30 ....... the rest no worse than you might reasonably expect at other ski areas.

Mostly fast (detachable) chairs, the Stoykite and Chepalare chairs particularly efficient, feed nice long runs too.

No 'dog problem' either that I was aware of.

Spoke to a mate yesterday who'd been to Borovets ....... queues were horrendous.
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Horses walking up the side of the piste was another novelty!
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
My in-laws own a nice apartment in Bansko. We've not been there in 8yrs. We used it for a few winters but decided that it wasn't really great value. IMHO, a well chosen deal in a lesser known central European resort would be better value. Cheap rarely represents value.
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if you're willing to do DIY and a bit of research i would suggest looking at skiresort.info, and looking at resorts 5* for beginngers and families, and look at resorts of 20-80K, and then look at booking.com or airbnb. I'm sure you will find some interesting places that everyone will love and because they are not as big accomdation should be good value.
Czech republic could be worth looking at
I've never been to Bulgaria, but talk of bottle necks have put me off. they are miserable
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Bulgaria sucks.

Tiny and low.

Go to Andorra, Pyrenees, or Italy.

Sauze d'Oulx, Livigno, Cauterets, etc.
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@Whitegold, I'd love to go to Italy (and Andorra), but I've got to keep it under £2k all in, hence my curiosity about Bulgaria.
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@marodo2712, are you a party of 4?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Ive been to Borovets, certainly not a place for kids or the wife, we christened it Magaluf on ice.

There seemed to be more brothels and strip clubs than anything else, bad food, even worse snow (looked amazing on on the webcams but the instructor there said they altered the dates on them or nobody would go)

Did manage to learn to snowboard there in the few meters of slush they had available though.

It was amazingly cheap though £550 all in including spends and we were out till 3ish every night. That also included equipment hire and lessons and we staying in what looked like the best hotel by far. Think it was 30p a pint in the day going up to 60p at night and you got 2 free shots with every pint (convinced they had amphetamines in)

Had a bit of fun but would never dream of going back especially as Im now a family man. would be ok for a stag do but defo not the family
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i've had a look at the czech rep, you could fly into prague or Wroclaw in poland, as a couple of hours drive and if you hired a car you could stay just outside one of the many small resorts probably for less than £500 - i think you could do less than £2k if you boxed clever. and if its the first ski trip it will all be amzing for them
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if you do opt for Bulgaria, then its worth enquiring about private than group lessons. The extra is worth it in the long run.
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