Beat the crowds and save your pennies with a ski trip to the Eastern European resort of Bansko.
Bansko is a town with a Jekyll and Hyde kind of feel. There’s the seedy, lively strip, with loud clubs and cheap shots which wouldn’t look out of place in a dark corner of Bangkok. And then there’s the beautiful, UNESCO protected old town with wooden chalets and charming cabins filled with delicious beer and deep fried cheese. This is a ski town like no other and with tons of character to boot.
A long bubble lift transports you from the ground to the slopes, taking in the long and winding run from the piste back down to town. When you disembark from the bubble you are surrounded by 75km of tree-lined slopes, powder and stunning off-piste.
Bansko doesn’t have the largest of ski areas, but the runs are fun, wide and quiet with plenty of pit-stops serving cheap beer, good food and a Folie Douce atmosphere. There are several blues and reds as well as two challenging black runs – all of which are beautiful, with views over snowy peaks and icing-dusted trees.
Myself and Sian from The Girl Outdoors were in Bansko in March 2018, and although it was warm enough to lounge in our underwear down in the town, there was plenty of snow up top to keep us smiling. The vibe on the slopes is much more chill than the likes of other upmarket places throughout Europe, and there are plenty of places to sit in the sun to enjoy a beer without rendering yourself bankrupt, with most large bottles of the good stuff being around £2. BlaBlas was our personal favourite, if only for a mid-ski snuggle with resident snow lion, Lady BlaBla.
Flights to the Bulgarian capital of Sofia from almost anywhere in the UK are cheap. We flew from Stansted in the early hours of the morning for a minuscule price. Transfers from the airport to Bansko do take 2-3 hours and can be arranged for a fee with your hotel or chalet.
We stayed at Snomads Eco Chalet Diana Ross, with prices ranging from £199 per person with food and drink for the week to £389 depending on the season. The chalet was fun, full of great people and better food. Lift passes in Bansko for the 2017/18 season are £154 for 6 days on the slopes.