The Men's Alpine Ski World Cup will be held in Bansko (Bulgaria). The largest ski resort in the Balkan area is organizing its first Men World Cup events this weekend, two years after having hosted the Ladies tour a week after the 2009 FIS World Championships at Val d’Isère.
Bansko is by far the most well-known ski resort in South Eastern Europe. Located just 160 kilometers away from Sofia, the contemporary town of Bansko is a unique mixture of old traditions and modern style, where new-built hotels and apartment houses are separated from more than 100 years old ethnographic houses by just a tiny, stone-paved street. The town centre is a listed World Heritage Site.
The ski pistes are located in two main ski centres: Chalin Valog (1100-1600 m) and Shiligarnika (1700-2500 m). They are approximately 10 km above the town on the northern slopes of Pirin Mountain, and are easily accessible for approximately 25 minutes ride on the new Gondola lift which starts from Bansko. The total length of the marked pistes is 70 kilometers. During the recent years a multi-million euros investment in a brand new skiing area has been made by Yulen, the management company of the resort. Bansko has the best snow record and the longest ski season (15 Dec - 15 May) of all Bulgarian ski resorts. During the last couple of years this resort is under a massive investment process with new hotels and resort facilities being under construction. A brand new resort area with super luxury hotels and holiday apartments is being developed just opposite the Gondola lift, which also makes Bansko the resort with the best hotels.
Nowadays, a dozen of modern ‘Dopplemayer’ lifts – including spacious gondolas and fast chairlifts – take the tourists up to the different slopes being regularly groomed by the local workers. A network of over two hundred snow guns takes care of the entire ski park.
Over 80 km of runs designed for beginners to experts have been built year after year on the mostly wooden slopes, the steepest being named the ‘Alberto Tomba’ run after the visit of the triple Olympic champion here in 2004.