Whilst there are a number of smaller ‘ski resorts’ there are three major ski resorts in Bulgaria - Bansko, Borovets, and Pamporovo. A fourth would be Vitosha in Sofia. The skiing infrastructure is well developed and all ski resorts have a good reputation for lift networks, scenery and of course…plenty of snow!
The newest ski resort of Bansko is located 925 m above sea level between Pirin, Rila and the Rhodopes mountains. Bansko benefits from having a superb combination of the seemingly untouched mountains along with the atmosphere of an ancient small Bulgarian town. Also it has 120 cultural monuments along with museums and the permanent ethnographic exhibitions. Bansko is an excellent mountain resort with a short hot summer and long mild winter. Skiing is practised around Bansko from December until March with abundant snow falls, providing constant winter snow-cover up to 2 m thick.
The Pirin mountains have a predominantly Alpine character with 2 peaks towering above 2900 m and though all grades are catered for Bansko is the best resort in Bulgaria for advanced skiers. Instructors speak various foreign languages and there is a range of equipment for hire. There are 14 km of ski runs with 7 lifts with the longest ski run of 2.5 km, and two practice slopes with ski-tows.
Borovets is the oldest and the biggest mountain resort in Bulgaria. It is situated in the Rila mountains at 1350 m altitude above sea level on the northern slopes of Mt Musala, the highest on the Balkan peninsula. The official ski season lasts from mid-December to mid-April with the most reliable snow cover in late February and early March. The ski runs of various difficulty are differentiated for beginners, intermediates and advanced skiers and equipped with international markings and multilingual signs. The runs are maintained to the highest standards. Good instruction is available for both skiing and snowboarding. Ski kindergarten provides whole day care for 3-7 year-olds.
Pamporovo is a modern ski resort in the heart of the Rhodope mountains. It is situated 1650 m above sea level at the foot of peak Snejanka, 240 km southeast of Sofia and 85 km south of Plovdiv. It is the most southern ski resort in Europe and the sunniest high mountain resort in Bulgaria with about 120 sunny days during the skiing period. The average annual temperature here is 8.5°С and its snow cover in winter is between 140 and 150 cm. The mild weather and excellent snow cover make skiing conditions perfect from mid-December to mid-April, with a range of classes and pistes to suit everyone from beginners to the pros. Pamporovo is actually particularly suitable for beginners. There are also difficult ski runs such as the Giant Slalom run. You can enjoy 17.5 kilometers of Alpine ski runs, 34 ski runs for long distance skiing, 6 different seat chair lifts and 13 ski drags.
Finally, Vitosha (at 1800 m above sea level) is only 10 km from Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. This is the highest ski resort of Bulgaria. The mountain is good for skiing in the winter and trekking in the summer. The highest peak of Vitosha is Cherni Vruh (2290 m). Whilst Vitosha offers excellent conditions for snow sports the casual visitor will not find the same night life and ‘apres ski’ conditions to be found in the bigger resorts in Bulgaria.
The ski runs of Vitosha are various and would be suitable for skiers and boarders of any level. Vitosha offers six ski runs with various difficulty and length - the green ski run being the easiest and the Vitoshko Lale the most difficult. All ski runs have the necessary facilities. There are a number of chair and drag lifts, as well as a Gondola lift starting from the outskirts of Sofia and reaching almost the top of the mountain near Aleko.
It starts to snow heavily in December and there is snow cover until late spring. The snow cover reaches a thickness of 1.5 m. The duration of the skiing season is 120 days and the average temperature of the air is minus 6 ° C.