The secret is how to take your family on a great ski holiday, without spending double
the cost of a sunshine holiday!
The truth is that for many years we were unable to find the answer. I had been skiing
in Austria for my 21st birthday, in Achenkirk, staying as I remember at the shrambakkerhof
hotel with three civil engineering colleagues, one visiting from Perth Australia.
The experience was fantastic.
Panoramic mountain scenery, blinding snow white-outs and challenging sports activity
combined with apres ski parties, good food and cozy hotels with ornate wood burning
fires. All this sparks a warm memory that has stayed with me for many years.
A voice kept whispering, that I should take my two sons skiing as soon as possible.
So we both decided that we would research the options and find a beginner ski resort,
away from the overcrowded, overpriced traditional European ski resorts.
After searching the ski holiday destinations we found Bulgaria. At that time Bulgaria
was about to join the EU and there was a lot of interest in the media. We wanted
a beginner ski resort, of the three Bulgarian ski resorts available Pamporovo was
listed as a low cost beginner resort.
This ski resort was set up in the mountain, rather than lower down. In Pamporovo
you could wake up to panoramic views of the ski resort.
So we booked and after a 3 hour flight from Manchester landed at Plovdiv airport.
The terminal back then was very old fashioned and basic, but serviceable. This year
however, a brand new terminal has opened at Plovdiv airport to service the ski resorts
The customs and passport control we went through smoothly, then onto a good coach
and we were on our way to the Bulgarian ski resort of Pamporovo! It was an hours
transfer, winding up the mountain roads, through some tunnels and there we were.
When we arrived at what at first appeared to be a compact apartment block next to
the Studenets ski resort. But the ski apartment turned out to be large and luxurious,
two double bedrooms, large hall two bathrooms, open plan lounge with dining kitchen
(100 m²) and we were only 5 minutes walk to the ski slope just behind the apartment
block, there were restaurants on the way to ski slope and a heated indoor swimming
pool that we had free use of!
We had considered booking a ski holiday in France the year before, but we would have
been a 30 minute free minibus drive away from the overcrowded, overpriced ski slopes!
We were now glad that we booked in Bulgaria!
We had a brilliant time, the ski resort was not overcrowded, but just pleasantly
busy. Drinks (£1-£2 for a pint of pilsner lager in a good hotel) and food (extensive
quality menus at up to half UK prices......and we live in the North of England, where
value for money is already very good), we just headed for the busy cafes, always
the best idea, as people vote with their feet.
We woke up the following morning to brilliant sunshine, 6 inches of new snow and
with beautiful views across the Rodapean mountain range! Standing on our balcony
the sunshine was amazingly strong, considering it was -3 degrees F. Long icicles
hung down fro the balcony roof and endless vistas of green pines stretched into the
icy distance. Tree nearby were fully laded with snow and it looked fantastic. Inside
was very warm due to the extra thermal insulation used in the walls, with electrical
heaters in every room. We liked it so much that we decided to consider buying a property
in the Pamporovo Ski resort (well under half of the price and twice the size of France
Why Skiing in Bulgaria is the key to a great low cost European ski holiday.
The picture above is taken inside the new Plovdiv Airport Terminal in Bulgaria that
serves Pamporovo ski Resort.
Fresh snow off piste, off the beaten track, on the way down to Ski Centre 1 - Pamporovo