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Bulgaria, Bansko
Bulgaria, Bansko
Bulgaria, Bansko
Bulgaria, Bansko
Bulgaria, Bansko
Learn to ski/snowboard

Useful information for beginner skiers and snowboarders

Everything you need to know before your ski/snowboard holiday with Balkan Holidays

Learning to ski or snowboard is not as difficult as it may appear. To start we recommend you make sure of your level of ability. Skiers or boarders are classed into three categories:


A beginner is classified as someone who is either taking their first steps on the slopes, or someone who has only skied once or twice before. There is a great temptation amongst a lot of beginners to try to move on as quickly as possible, but it’s worth remembering that those who learn all the basics properly get far more enjoyment out of their skiing by the end of their holiday.


No two intermediates will be the same, as the term covers a vast range of skiing ability. All intermediates however should be at home on a blue (easy) run and confident enough on a red (medium) run. You will have had at least a couple of weeks in Ski School, and will be able to perform linked turns and reasonable parallel turns. We would strongly recommend some additional lessons because there is still a lot to learn. Wrong techniques and bad habits picked up at this stage are very hard to get rid of.


An advanced skier will be at home on any terrain, be it on or off piste, and will always be in complete control. It is true to say that whilst none of the ski resorts featured in our brochure offer particularly extensive skiing, there is plenty to keep even an expert happy. Some of the most challenging ski runs you will find are in Bansko and Borovets.


For each resort we have a grading for beginners, intermediates and experts. Our rating system will help identify how suitable each resort is for the different levels of skiing based on the difficulty of the ski runs. The matrix below contains all the basic facts needed to ensure you choose the right resort for you, and the level of skills you have as a skier.

Depending on your level of ability will determine which resort you might choose as some resorts offer better skiing for beginners and others are more difficult.

 RESORT FACTS Bansko Pamporovo Borovets Poiana Brasov Kranjska Gora Lake Bohinj
Lake Bled
 Resort height in metres  936  1620  1300  1021  810  569
 Top of highest lift  2560  1937  2560  1768  1291  1800
 Total no. of lifts  16  13  15  10  22  18
 Total km of marked pistes  75 km  37 km  58 km  12 km  15 km  60 km
 Total km of cross country trails  9 km  38 km  35 km  9 km  40 km  60 km
 Snowboard hire  yes  yes  yes  yes  yes  yes
 Ski guide service  yes  yes  yes  yes  yes  yes
 Ski School hrs. per week (downhill)  24  24  24  24  12  12
 Snowboard tuition hrs. per week  6  6  12  12  6  6
 Ski School min. age  7  8  7  7  6  6
 Nursery  n/a  n/a  1 - 3 yrs  n/a  n/a  n/a
 Ski kindergarten ages  4 - 7 yrs  5 - 8 yrs  4 - 7 yrs  n/a  n/a  n/a


 Some good pistes of this standard, but relatively limited in scope
 A good choice of resort
 Highly recommended, an ideal choice


In every resort on the mountain slope there are areas which are called pistes. These are officially marked, groomed and patrolled ski routes under the jurisdiction of either the village community or the lift company who have acquired the lease and transit rights over privately or publicly owned mountain land.

Each piste run is graded by the angle degree of the run and are given a colour code as follows:

Green Runs (Beginners Trails)
These runs are for complete beginners and offer the easiest of all areas to learn and practice

Blue Run (Easy Run)
These runs are usually at the bottom of the mountain, near the village centre. Ski schools use blue runs for beginners as they have very gentle gradients.

Red Run (Intermediates)
In Europe the red run does vary a lot in different resorts with some very easy and a good step up for the second week skier, and in some cases are challenging due to narrow paths opening out to not so steep sections.

Black Run (Difficult)
Again like the red run the black run can vary by resort. The black run ranges from steep vertical drops in the extreme case to long challenging mogul fields.

Every ski resort will have a Resort Map such as the one below that highlights all the pistes available. You can gauge from the number of blue routes how easy it is for beginners or by the number of black routes as to how difficult it is for advanced skiers.


Once you have determined your ability level and the suitable resort, you then need to think about the ski or board equipment you may need.

1. Do you need to hire equipment in resort?
2. Do you have your own equipment?

By equipment we mean:
1.The Skis or the Board.
2. Ski or Board Boots.

If you have your own equipment you will need to book transportation of this on the flight. If you do not have equipment you will need to hire it in resort.


Some holidaymakers who regularly ski or board prefer to purchase their own equipment and take it with them each time they go on holiday. This equipment is usually items such as skis, a snowboard, ski or snowboard boots & ski poles. Because of the size of these items they are usually charged for seperately to the normal baggage allowance and we highly recommend you pre book this before arriving at the airport.


A Ski or Board pack contains everything a person would need in order to hit the slopes on their holiday! Balkan Holidays offers ski packs for both children and adults and snowboard packs for adults only. A ski pack contains a lift pass, ski and boot hire and ski school. There are 2 types of ski packs available for you, the full ski pack (recommended for intermediate & advanced skiers) and the fist time ski pack (for beginners only) A snowboard pack contains a lift pass, 3x2hrs tuition and snowboard equipment. It is highly recommended that these are booked before you go on holiday in order to get the best price!

For absolute beginners only, we've put together in one package all you will need for your first week on snow. Bulgaria is known for its high standards of tuition, and the instructors will ensure that everyone has a great time! First Time Ski or Board packs are available in all our Bulgarian resorts.

Each pack includes the following:

  • 6 day hire of skis or snowboard and boots.
  • 6 day lift pass.
  • SKI: 6 days of ski lessons, 4 hours per day.
  • BOARD: 3 days of lessons, 2 hours per day.
  • Ski School test certificate and diploma presentation.

The "First Time Ski" and "First Time Snowboard" packs are only suitable for beginners. All holidaymakers that book these packs will automatically be placed in a beginners class.

For intermediate and advanced skiers, we've put together a ski pack which has just the right balance of lessons and free time to allow you time to explore the slopes. Although it may not be required, Bulgaria's excellent tuition and instructors may provide further knowledge and skills to help develope your skiing. Full Ski or Board packs are available in all our Bulgarian resorts.

Each pack includes the following:

  • 6 day hire of skis or snowboard and boots.
  • 6 day lift pass.
  • SKI: 6 days of ski lessons, 4 hours per day. (advanced class)
  • BOARD: 3 days of lessons, 2 hours per day (advanced class in Bansko) or 6 days of lessons, 2 hours per day (advanced class in Borovets and Pamporovo).
  • Ski School test certificate and diploma presentation.

The "Full Ski" and "Full Snowboard" packs are only recommended for intermediate and advanced skiers. All clients that book these packs will be tested and then placed in a suitable group depending on their ability level.

All clients who intend to ski or board will need a lift pass. This enables them to get on to any of the lift systems that will take them up the mountain.


A Lift Pass or Ski Pass as it is sometimes called is needed in order to gain access to the slopes for skiing or snowboarding. A Lift Pass is usually in the form of either a cardboard ticket with magnetic strip or an electronic tag as featured in Bansko.

Types of Lift Systems Available:
Button Lift - A round disc is placed between the skiers legs and gently carries them up the slope.
T-Bar/Trap Bar - Skiers hang on as they are dragged along the snow surface up the slope.
Chair Lift - A comfortable plastic, metal or wooden chair that seats between 2 and 3 skiers at a time.
Gondola - Also called cabine lift, this is the largest and most comfortable lift to transport skiers up the slope.
Travelator/Moving Walkway - A sort of flat esculator that gently carries skiers up the slopes.


Avalanche - Caused when huge masses of snow slide down a slope. This can be seriously dangerous
Carving - Making turns on the ski or snowboard with the edges cutting into the hill
Edge - Metal strip found at the bottom corners of the ski's
Moguls - Mounds of snow, both natural and skier made, dotting ungroomed runs
Parallel Skiing - Skiing with the skis parallel. Skis can be either together or apartide-Slipping - A slipping motion straight down the flow line with your skis pointed across the hill
Snowplough Turn - Ski braking and turning technique taught to beginners.
Traversing - Continuously moving in a direction across the flow line
Apres Ski -(French: after skiing) refers to going out, having drinks, dancing, and generally socializing after
skiing. The concept is similar to the nineteenth hole in golf. For some skiers, the apres-ski scene is just as important as their time on the slopes! Some skiers even choose to stop at the apres-ski scene right after their last run, still wearing their ski clothes.


All Balkan Holidays clients who book a Full Ski Pack or Learn to Ski Pack will be presented with a ski school test certificate and diploma upon completion of the weeks lessons at a special presentation ceremony held in resort. This diploma confirms your newly found ski skills and gives you something to show off to your friends upon your return home!


Membership includes
Lift ticket (to ski Club), badge, fun pack and Special club card allowing members further discounts with their next holiday in Bansko. Open daily, 7 days a week, from 9am to 4.30pm and located right by the slopes at the top of the gondola lift. For children 4-7 years.

Rates include
Expert supervision, snow play, lift tickets to the club, daily tuition (1 hour per day), skis, sticks, boots, lunch (full day only) and all in an atmosphere where the emphasis is on fun. Club bookings are paid for on the spot. Please advise your requirements at the time of booking, so that resorts can be informed well in advance as we can not guarantee free places will be available at any later time.

Approx. prices from £25 for 1 day & £120 for 6 days (Winter 2014/2015 prices).


Supervision, ski pack (skis, sticks, boots), daily tuition, lunch (full days only) and games. All kindergarten bookings are paid for locally in the resort, but please advise your requirements at the time of booking, so that resorts can be informed in advance.

Approx. prices for 3 days - £53 and for 6 days - £100 (Winter 14/15 prices.)


Price for 6 days - £95
Located in hotel Rila (aged 1-3) & in hotel Samokov (aged 2-3). Open between 8:30am-4:30pm. Lunch included plus morning/afternoon tea or milk & biscuits.

Ski Kindergarten
Price for 6 days - £95
Located in the hotels Rila and Samokov available for children aged 4-7 years. They are open 7 days a week between 8:30am-4:30pm. Rates include: Supervision, ski pack (skis, sticks, boots), daily tuition (2 hours per day), lunch, games, sweets, tea.


Book online and save! You can check availability and prices or book your holiday by using our Holiday Search box.
For more information or to book with one of our friendly members of staff over the phone, please call our UK Reservations Department on 0207 543 5555.


Why book with Balkan Holidays   Help   Holiday Information  
Ms. Williams, Sozopol
Selena. Fab hotel

Mrs. King, Cavtat
Hotel Cavtat was the perfect setting for my holiday which I enjoyed so much. Everything about this holiday was excellent. Thanks Balkan for a great package.

Ms. Armstrong, Pamporovo
Snow shack staff superb. The ski instructor was wicked.

Mr. Porter, Pamporovo
Overall we were very pleased with our holiday

Ms. Dunbarr, Sozopol
Most excellent hotel. Lovely resort

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