Stephen Barnes

Stephen Barnes

ABTA's Stephen Barnes talks about the benefits of skiing in Borovets, Bulgaria

I’ve recently returned from a great skiing week in Borovets Bulgaria. My partner and I departed on 26 December and so celebrated New Year there. The Bulgarians really know how to throw a party, but that’s a story for a different blog.

The airport transfer is just under an hour to Borovets, which although it is quite a compact town, has plenty of restaurants, bars and shops which all offer excellent value for money. Also, the prices at the top of the mountain are very similar to down in the town which is really unusual. In most resorts I’ve been to, they’re usually much more expensive.  

At first the weather was quite mild for a ski resort, 2/3 degrees during the day, dropping to -2/3 at night. The days were sunny with big blue skies - definitely sun glasses weather and a chance for me to pose in my Ray Bans. 

In spite of these warmish temperatures, there was still enough snow for beginner and intermediate skiers, up to and including red runs. More experienced skiers may have been less enthusiastic - although watching some of them fly past me at 100mph didn’t give that impression! Half way through the week, the weather turned much colder with temperatures down to -12 at the top of the mountains. This meant that the resort could use its snow cannons, boosting the snow reserves, and then for two nights it snowed heavily. After this, more slopes opened up, giving us much more challenging new runs.

Skiing is a great winter holiday, often in beautiful locations with plenty of woodland. With snow carpeting the ground and the trees taking on lovely shapes, it’s really quite idyllic. Borovets was no exception. I chose Bulgaria because we wanted an inexpensive ski holiday and ended up with a great value one, especially as ski hire, lessons and lift passes, are all so reasonably priced. Borovets is really popular, particularly with families and we met people who’d come for their second and third years running.

Whatever skill level you’re at, it's important to get fit before you head off so that you will be able to make the most of your time on the slopes and minimise the risk of injury. ABTA also has very informative videos on its website about using the slopes safely and when I was queuing up for the gondola, ABTA & the FCO's Skisafe banners were very prominent. Good to see the message getting out there.

I’d really recommend skiing as an activity, it’s both fun and healthy - an unusual combination on holiday. Just make sure you do a bit of exercise before you go and check abta.com for the do’s and don’t’s of time spent on the slopes.

And I haven’t even mentioned that killer Bulgarian plum brandy…