- Transfers to and from Sofia Airport (on first/last tour date only)
- English-speaking mountain guide
- Equipment hire (touring skis; ski touring bindings; skins; crampons for skis; poles; alpine touring boots – with a rubber sole and ski/walk mode)
- Avalanche safety gear (shovels, probes, and transceiver – obligatory!)
- Crampons for ski boots (obligatory!)
- Entry fees (incl. such for thermal pools)
- Lift tickets
- Travel Insurance with the proper winter sports coverage (for example via WORLD NOMADS)
WHAT TO EXPECT
If you feel like home in the winter wonderland, away from the crowded slopes, then the ski touring is the best adventure you could ever go on! Challenge yourself with climbing the majestic summits of Pirin and Rila mountains, accompanied by a qualified guide, and boost your adrenaline with descending through powder snow! Together with the breathtaking views, you will have the chance to taste delicious local meals, rest in thermal pools with hot mineral water, and visit one of the must-see sites, the Rila Monastery (UNESCO).
Strenuous backcountry skiing tour in the highest Bulgarian mountains, with challenging stages now and then, meant for experienced skiers. Depending on the weather forecast and the actual snow conditions, your guide can change the program on spot, offering other options if the ones as per itinerary happen to be not too safe.
Day 1 - Arrival
Arrival at Sofia Airport. Meeting and transfer to Govedartsi village in Rila Mountains.
Day 2 - Mount Malyovitsa
A 30min transfer takes us to the trailhead at the Malyovitsa resort. From there you start climbing up along the valley of Malyovitsa River, past Malyovitsa hut, into the direction of the peak of the same name (2729m a.s.l.). From there, ski down all the way down to Malyovitsa resort and eventually return to the accommodation in Govedartsi (6-7hrs; + 1000m/-1000m)
Day 3 - Mount Musala
Another 30min transfer takes us to the oldest Bulgarian ski resort – Borovets. We board the cable car to its upper station at Yastrebets Peak (2360m a.s.l.). From there, start skiing into the direction of the highest peak on the Balkans. Before the last stage just before the summit, remove the skis and attach them to your backpacks (crampons may have to be used here depending on the snow condition). Then climb using a fixed steel rope. The climb itself does not require previous climbing experience. After a short break at the top, enjoying the stunning in clear days panorama, descent all the way down to Borovets resort (if snow cover at the lower parts of the mountains is not enough, you will have to use the lift again). From Borovets resort, head for Panichishte resort for two nights (or the nearby Sapareva Banya village) in another part of the Rila Mountains (5hrs; +600m/-1600m) (or if snow is not enough: -600m + options for skiing on the upper slopes of the Borovets ski zone)
Day 4 - The Seven Rila Lakes
Frozen and covered with a thick layer of snow, the region of the Seven Rila Lakes is stunning in its winter colours! It is also one of the favourite destinations for ski touring day trips from Sofia. Take the chairlift to Rila Lakes hut, where the trail begins. Then we climb to the so-called Lakes’ Peak and descend all the way down to the lower lift station (incl. some skiing among the trees in the lower parts of the mountain). Time permitting, you can opt for a treat in the thermal pools of Sapareva Banya just before dinner. (6hrs; +400m/-1000 m)
Day 5 - Rila Monastery
Transfer to Rila Monastery (UNESCO) – one of the most famous tourist attractions in Bulgaria. The monastery is the largest and most significant Bulgarian Orthodox Church establishment. The 20m high walls shelter impressive cloisters, a church, and a chapel with unique murals and museum collections. In the afternoon, the tour will pay a visit to the thermal pools of Banya village or Dobrinishte resort (both near Bansko at the foot of Pirin Mountains). Dinner will be carried out in a local tavern. Three nights are planned for Bansko, your base for touring the Pirin Mountains.
Day 6 - Mount Polezhan
A 30-40min transfer from Bansko brings you to Gotse Delchev hut above the Dobrinishte resort. There starts the chairlift for Bezbog hut (2240m a.s.l.). This is setting off point for many of the backcountry skiing trails in the Pirin. Again depending on the snow conditions, we will either go for Mount Bezbog or Mount Polezhan (or both), potentially descending through Demyanitsa valley on the other side of the summits all the way to Bansko (or the Bansko ski zone). If snow conditions do not allow for this long descend, you will make series of ascents and descents in the area of both peaks, which provide some of the best panoramas towards the rough sea of rugged peaks of the Pirin Mountains (5-6hrs; ascent/descent may vary based on weather conditions)
Day 7 - Mount Todorka
Depending on the snow and weather conditions you will decide on the spot which option to take today. Lifts may be used if you need to get to the foot of Mount Todorka. The descent to Bansko from the peak of the same name may involve some skiing among the trees in the lower parts of the mountains. The trailhead for the other two options in the upper Gondola lift station – Bynderishka Poliana (at 1650m a.s.l.). From there, start skinning up to Vihren hut, and further up to either Mount Hvoinati, or to Pirin’s highest summit – Mount Vihren. If the “ski road” from Bynderishka Poliana is operational, you will descend all the way down to the Bansko resort. (5-6hrs; ascent/descent may vary based on weather conditions)
Transfer to Sofia (2,30hrs drive). Sightseeing the main sites of interest in the city centre (time-permitting). Afternoon transfer to Sofia Airport for departure.
Accommodation: three-star hotels and family guesthouses; en-suite facilities; breakfast and dinner included.