Listen up, snowboarders! Are you tired of never finding specific information on snowboarding conditions in ski resorts? We’ve got you covered! Here’s an honest account from one snowboarder to another on what the snowboarding experience in Bansko is really like…
In this article
- Before you hit the slopes
- Bansko’s snowboarding conditions
- Free Riding/skiing off piste in Bansko
- Other adventurous offers
Before you hit the slopes in Bansko
A smart man solves his problems, the wise man sees them coming before they happen. Be wise and stay informed about the details that will help you enjoy your trip.
Travelling to Bansko to snowboard
Getting to Bansko is a piece of cake with many affordable options that we’ve already described in detail in our Bansko Ultimate Guide. If you’re taking a board with you, flying is by far the easiest option. Sofia airport is your closest bet. You don’t need to worry about carbon emissions, as we go the extra mile and offset emissions for you as part of our holiday package. From Sofia, it’s an easy Snomads transfer to the resort meaning no unnecessary lugging of equipment around bus stations.
Snomads in-house snowboard rental service
If you don’t yet have your own equipment and are looking to rent, we’ve got you covered with our in-house rental. Unlike the normal process of renting equipment that is lengthy, stressful, and ends with trudging all the clunky gear back to the chalet, we offer a friendly alternative. Just pop into our rental store right next door to your chalet. Enjoy a glass of beer or wine while you’re at it and let us do the hard work for you. From experience, we know what you need and will guide you through the whole process.
Price of learning to Snowboard in Bansko
Snowboarding can be an expensive hobby if you want to do it professionally. Luckily, Bansko has some of the most competitive prices when it comes to snowboard rentals and lessons in Europe. If you’re just starting out, it’s a great idea to come to Bansko as a beginner. As exciting as snowboarding is, it’s not for everyone. Thus, cushioning the financial blow is always a good idea. Worst-case scenario you will have an extra budget to enjoy delicious traditional Bulgarian cuisine and drinks.
Bansko has highly competent and friendly snowboard instructors
Everyone who’s learned to snowboard, remembers how miserable the first few lessons can be. Thus, having a friendly instructor that can make you smile can be the difference between getting good at snowboarding and quitting. We work with Bansko Ski Mania and Method Ski School as they are famous for their professional and friendly instructors, as well as their affordable lessons. They offer both group and one on one lessons, including advanced lessons for those who are looking for something extra like park skills.
Bansko’s snowboarding conditions
Now that you’re all set and ready to go, here is everything you need to know about how and where to enjoy snowboarding in Bansko.
Bansko’s modern gondola and chair lifts
Once you’re ready to have fun, the Bansko gondola will take you up to the main area where you’ll find modern chair lifts that help you up onto the easy greens and nice sloping blue pistes to get learning. In addition to this, there’s a magic carpet that helps complete beginners get some height to begin the learning process.
Thankfully Bansko only has a couple of t-bar or drag lifts that are notoriously uncomfortable for snowboarders and both can be avoided. As the lifts are all modern you’ll find yourself at the top of the mountain in no time giving you plenty of snow time.
Easy blues to steep blacks tracks
Whether you’re new to Snowboarding or have been at it for a while, Bansko has you covered. As the resort is based in a UNESCO-protected area the resort is surrounded by trees making it a lot of fun. Many of the runs have nice loopy bends and plenty of side kickers for those looking to leave the ground.
Whilst learning, the resort has plenty of wide blues to help develop turning as well as a couple of crazy steep blacks if you are more advanced and after some speed. You’ll even find a park with a range of kickers as well as some bikes and a rail or two. Find the piste map here, but if you have any questions give us a shout.
If you’re completely new to boarding we’d definitely recommend some time boarding around Chalin Valog (lower part of the mountain) as the slopes are quieter, nice, and wide and drinks/food are cheaper!
Bansko’s huge 5k home run
If you’ve had a look at the map you will have seen a HUGE 5k run that allows you to snowboard all the way down from the top gondola station back down into town. This is one of our favourite parts of the day as it gives a great chance to practice riding switch or trying out any of the little flat land tricks that have been attempted throughout the day.
That said, for complete beginners, we wouldn’t advise starting here until you have some confidence going straight without turning as in places speed is necessary if you don’t fancy unclipping and walking a little. On the other hand, there are some great bars on the way down so when the back leg does start giving way just take 30, grab yourself a pint and some cheese chips before finishing off the cruise back into Bansko.
Cheap beer/food on the mountain
This is a must for us as there aren’t many things better than a little sit-down and a beer after a few hours of charging around. With a nice cold beer on the mountain still only costing as little as £3 you can afford to have a leisurely holiday.
Free Riding/skiing off piste in Bansko
There’s no way we could write a post on snowboarding in Bansko without mentioning freeriding. Naturally, it’s at this point that we highlight the importance of safety before you think of testing out some of Bansko’s tree runs/open bowls or off-piste. Nevertheless, if you’re snowboarding this is where the mountain offers the most fun.
For anyone thinking of doing any of the below we highly advise doing an avalanche safety course or if less experienced taking a guide which we’re happy to arrange. Unfortunately, there have been fatalities due to the avalanche risk in places so safety is number 1.
That said, when the conditions are right the mountain opens up hugely and offers some stunning freeride experiences to all abilities. In our experience, if you’re looking for the best time of year to take advantage of off-piste conditions in Bansko, March is best but never guaranteed!
Freeride for beginners in Bansko
Once you’ve got the hang on the slope this is where things get exciting. The easiest way to get learning is either just on the sides of the slopes or if it’s been snowing overnight, get out first thing whilst the fresh snow has settled on the piste and get stuck in. Bansko’s nice wide blues are great for this as there’s plenty of space to turn and no trees to crash into. Be warned, if you’re not out early to take advantage of this, the mountain will soon be carved up by skiers, turning the slopes into mogul fields.
Next up, take advantage of fresh snow under the lifts once you’re familiar with the feel of riding powder. Bansko has a few on offer but we would suggest Todorka, Bunderitza, and Shiligarnik. The advantage of all the listed is that you can check out the run whilst riding up on the lift to see if they’re still good to go and safe. In the right conditions, all are great fun to ride and great fun to watch others ride as you’re getting the lift up.
Intermediate Freeride Terrain in Bansko
If you’ve got a fair bit of experience under your belt, Banko’s tree lines are the natural progression. If you decide to go without a guide we’d recommend starting with the edges of the ski slopes and staying within sight of the ski slopes. Many of the gullies can quite quickly lead you astray so better to edge on the side of caution.
One of the safest spots to snowboard is to the right of the Plato lift as you rarely lose track of the main ski runs. This is a nice wide area with a few trees and not too steep and can be a lot of fun. Be warned, pushing too far right away from the piste will lead you down a valley toward the Damianica hut (not where you want to end up), the terrain becomes pretty dangerous and you’ll find yourself walking for a very long time or lost.
Similarly, there are some lovely wide skiable forests to the right of number 10 but again, being sucked too far right can lead you toward some dangerous gullies. To the right of this run, there are signs to point you back towards the resort. Crossing these directly leads to the couloirs so stay safe.
Expert Freeride Terrain in Bansko
This is where things get very exciting but are only to be undertaken by those with a lot of experience with the correct safety equipment. If you’re unsure of your abilities we’d always advise getting a guide to make sure you ski within your limits and stay safe.
As seen in the above picture Todorka is one of the pinnacles of freeriding in Bansko and is easily accessible. From the highest lift station, you walk up a narrow ridge for around an hour before reaching a base where you can ski in a number of different directions. Many competitions have been held on the north side of Todorka including the qualifier to the Freeride world tour. For us, the best time of year to ride Todorka is toward the end of March.
One of our favorite spots in Bansko is the Bunderishki couloirs which run down the left of the mountain toward the Vihren hut. There are some very big drops so navigating without a guide isn’t advised but the runs are beautiful and well worth it. Best of all the runs lead to a summer road that leads up to the Vihren hut making a nice easy exit.
Other Adventurous Snowboarding Offers
If you’re looking for more alternative places to enjoy snowboarding to its fullest potential, we offer services in Poland and Macedonia as well.
Split boarding in Zakopane, Poland
If you’re the more adventurous type you may have seen that we offer chalet holidays in Zakopane, Poland. From here we run a range of adventures, one of which is a tailor-made splitboarding trip up in the Tatra mountains. If this sounds up your street and you want to learn a little more give us a shout and you’ll be Splitboarding in Poland before you know it.
Cat skiing Macedonia
Want to take it even further? If it’s an adventure you want, we’ve got you covered. For us, there aren’t many things that beat riding a piste basher up a wide-open unmarked mountain, being dropped off at the top, and finding your own line down the mountain. Once you’ve got over the excitement you’ll then be picked up and driven up again to a different spot.
If you’re confident in your abilities but you’ve never experienced CAT skiing we can’t recommend it highly enough. Think heli-skiing but in the depths of the Macedonian mountains with great food, fabulous company, and a whole mountain to be explored. Again, if you’d like more details have a look at our CAT skiing in Macedonia page.