SKI TOURING (BACKCOUNTRY SKIING) IN THE RILA & PIRIN MOUNTAINS

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DURATION: 8 days
PRICE: € 890
DIFFICULTY: 3 (of 4)
BEST PERIOD: February-March
START/FINISH: Sofia
TOUR TYPE: Guided

If you feel like home in the winter wonderland, away from the crowded slopes, enjoying the silence of the cold white desert, then the ski touring is the best adventure you could ever take! This is the best opportunity to challenge yourself with climbing the majestic summits of Pirin and Rila mountains 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:
Sofia – Govedartsi
Arrival at Sofia Airport. Meeting and transfer to Govedartsi village in Rila Mountains.
Day 2: Govedartsi – Mount Malyovitsa – Govedartsi (6-7hrs; + 1000m/-1000m)
A 30min transfer takes us to the trail head at Malyovitsa resort. From there we start climbing up along the valley of Malyovitsa River, past Malyovitsa hut, into direction of the peak of the same name (2729m a.s.l.). From there we ski down all the way down to Malyovitsa resort and eventually return to our accommodation in Govedartsi
Day 3: Govedartsi – Mount Musala – Panichishte/Sapareva Banya (5hrs; +600m/-1600m)
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 we start skiing into direction of the highest peak on the Balkans. Before the last last stage just before the summit we remove the skis and attach them to our backpacks (crampons may have to be used here depending on the snow condition). Then we 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, we descent all the way down to Borovets resort (if snow cover at the lower parts of the mountains is not enough, we will have to use the lift again with optional skiing on the upper slopes of the Borovets ski zone). From Borovets resort we head for Panichishte resort for two nights (or the nearby Sapareva Banya village) in another part of the Rila Mountains
Day 4: Panichishte/Sapareva Banya – The Seven Rila Lakes – Panichishte/Sapareva Banya (6hrs; +400m/-1000m)
One of the most famous areas of the Rila Mountains expects us today. 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 favorite destinations for ski touring day trips from Sofia. We 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, we can opt for a treat in the thermal pools of Sapareva Banya just before dinner.
Day 5: Panichishte/Sapareva Banya – Rila Monastery (UNESCO) – Bansko
After breakfast we transfer to one of the most famous tourist attractions in Bulgaria – Rila Monastery (UNESCO). 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 we 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, our base for touring the Pirin Mountains.
Day 6: Bansko – Mount Polezhan/Mount Bezbog – Bansko (5-6hrs; ascent/descent may vary based on weather conditions)
A 30-40min transfer from Bansko brings us to Gotse Delchev hut above 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 Pirin. Again depending on the snow conditions we will either go for Mount Bezbog (2645m) or Mount Polezhan (2851m) (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, we 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.
Day 7: Bansko – Mount Todorka/Mount Hvoinati/Mount Vihren – Bansko (5-6hrs; ascent/descent may vary based on weather conditions)
Depending on the snow and weather conditions we will decide on spot which option to take today. Lifts may be used if we need to get to the foot of Mount Todorka (2746m). 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 we start skinning up to Vihren hut, and further up to either Mount Hvoinati (2635m), or to Pirin’s highest summit – Mount Vihren (2914m). If the “ski road” from Bynderishka Poliana is operational, we will descend all the way down to Bansko resort.
Day 8: Bansko – Sofia
Transfer to Sofia (2,30hrs drive). Sightseeing the main sites of interest in the city center (time-permitting). Afternoon transfer to Sofia Airport for departure.


THE TOUR IS DONE ON PRIVATE BASIS ONLY (MIN. 4 PAX), DURING FEBRUARY AND MARCH

Price: 890 € per person in twin/dbl room
Single room supplement: 115 € (obligatory for all individual clients)
Price includes: transfers to and from Sofia Airport (on first/last tour date only) and all other transfers included in the itinerary; accommodation and catering according to the itinerary; qualified English-speaking mountain guide; and all local taxes.
Price does not include: equipment hire (touring skis; ski touring bindings; skins; crampons for skis; poles; alpine touring boots boots – with 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; tips; obligatory (!) travel insurance with the proper winter sports coverage.
Group size: Min. 4 persons (1 tour leader can safely take care of up to 5-6 passengers; larger groups will require a second guide; please contact us if this is the case, so we can send you a proper price offer)
Accommodation: three-star hotels and family guesthouses; en-suite rooms; breakfast and supper included.

SUBMIT A REVIEW ABOUT THIS TOUR


Thank you all!

5.0 rating
March 14, 2019

I want to post my review here just to say THANKS to everyone involved in this trip – my companions, the guide Alex, the two ladies from the customer support! You really made my holiday unforgettable!

Susan Emerson, USA

Very nice

4.0 rating
February 8, 2019

Even though the weather was quite bad, this was one of the most amazing trips I?ve ever been on. Highly recommended the guide and the trip.

Kevin Dube, Canada

Thrilling

5.0 rating
March 22, 2018

There were six of us who booked this private tour this year. We knew about Traventuria since our visit to Bansko in 2016 when we used their services for transfers. Then we realized that they actually operate also winter activities such as snowshoes, snowmobiles, and ski touring. We were impressed by the professionalism of their customer service, the booking process went easily. We were lucky with clear weather and succeed with all of the planned activities. All of us were really impressed by Borovets, the other main ski resort in Bulgaria so we are considering returning back someday! For sure we will use Traventuria again, their help is worthy! 

Noah Williams, UK

Winter wonderland

5.0 rating
March 21, 2017

Absolutely brilliant trip! With all my heart I recommend to use their services and you will be very lucky if you have Martin as a guide! He is a star! Thanks to his abilities to guide and adequate risk assessment we got very pleasant skiing days out in the winter wonderland! I will never forget the fascinating view from the top of Polezan summit, that was my favorite! Bulgaria is a nice winter vacation! 

Michael Brown, USA
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