Ski touring in Bulgaria

Rila or Pirin mountains? How to Choose where to go for ski touring in Bulgaria!

Best option is to do a 7-day ski touring trip, that will take you through both of the mountain ranges. Thus, you will be able to enjoy both the verticality of Pirin and the vast grandeur of Rila.

However, if you need to choose here are some important details on ski touring in Rila and Pirin mountains.

Ski touring in Bulgaria. Our guide Alexander Serafimov, skining up with a group in Rila mountains!

Photo by Borislav Kamilov`s Photography

Our guide Alexander Serafimov, skining up with a group in Rila mountains!

Both ranges have similar conditions over the season, so you can come for ski touring in Bulgaria from january to april. While best season is mid february to end of March, many ski tourers choose april as it offers long day and stable spring snow, which is excellent if you would like to do hut-to-hut traverses.

Rila mountain

Ski touring in Rila is mostly practiced in the areas of Malyovitsa, Musala, Seven Rila lakes and Belmeken. However, if you would like to go slightly more underground, you could opt for a ski tour in the less visted areas of Kartala, Semkovo or Treshtenik.

Ski terrains in Rila offers big variety, but they are generally mild, with progressive valleys, that offer skiing on enjoyable terrain, very apropriate for less experienced tourers. However, if you decided to go on big tour with +1000m of vertical gain options are there! 😉

Ski touring from Seven Rila lakes to Ivan vazov hut in Rila.

Big advantage of Rila is the proximity fo Sofia! So, if you are looking for 1 day ski tour or a weekend near the capitol, this mountain is a great option. You will not invest lots of time in transfers to the mountain and back.

Accommodation around Rila mountain is mostly in comfortable, but yet authentic guest houses. This will allow you on top of the ski touring experience to have some nice time with local atmosphere and cuisine.

For the most adventurous, in the mountain range of Rila you have the option to do several hut to hut ski traverses, using the mountain huts that are open and serving hot food and beer during the winter. A classic 2-day itinerary is the ski tour to Ivan Vazov hut and back, that will allow you to spent a night at 2300m and enjoy some last light riding at the end of the day and some early morning fresh powder.

There are 4 mountain huts in Rila that are open over the winter and they can be combined in a variety of hut to hut ski tours, suitable for bot intermidiate and experinced ski tourers.

Ski touring in Bulgaria. Ivan Vazov hut in Rila.

Borovets resort is another asset in the norther part of Rila. Located at 70km from Sofia, gondola lift will take you from 1300 to 2300m and give you quick access to the high mountain. The resort offers rather easy side-country riding, that we recommend deeper in the season, as the mountain in the area is covered with thick vegetaion like juniper, that needs to be covered by several big dumps.

Borovets resort is also the access point for a ski tour to Musala peak(2925m) – the highest peak of Bulgaria and the Balkan peninsula.

An important detail for all the splitboarders is that they need to choose there descent lines in Rila in a smart manner, as many of the routes here has some flats, so higher traverses are required where necessary in aroder to avoid walking and pushing!

Pirin mountain

The pearl of the ski touring in Bulgaria. Pirin mountain is rather steep and offers some excellent intermidiate and expert riding. The peaks in this mountain range are compact and close to each other, so once you finish with one ski descent, the next one starts straight away!

Descending the N Face of Todorka peak in Pirin mountains.

However, ski touring in Pirin mountain is not only for experts. The area of Bezbog peak and Polezhan peak, offers good skitouring itineraries ranging from +600m to +1000m climb, that will take you down through wide and open 28-30 degrees slopes. Terrains that are very suitable for beginners in the ski touring activities.

Pirin is also the homeland of impressive forests consisted mostly of pines, but also beech in some areas. The threes are covering the area between 1300m and 2100m of altitude, which is a great terrain for powder skiing in forest terrain. Very enjoyable on bad weather days, while it is still dumping with no visibility above the three line!

The most famous areas of Pirin mountain for ski touring are Bansko and Bezbog resort, but if you are looking for some skiing away from the hot spots, our team of certifuied ski guides can takes you deeper in Pirin moutain in the areas of Yavor hut, Predela pass, Tevno ezero hut or Spano pole hut!

Ski touring in Bulgaria.

Speaking of skiing and freeride hot spots, in Pirin mountain is located the most famous ski resort in Bulgaria and the Balkans – Bansko. Bansko is a well developed ski town at 1000m altitude with ski slopes scaling the mountain all the way up to 2500m. Offers excelent pist skiing for beginners and experts. However, due to the high interest one needs to avoid the periods of the english, turkish and romania school holidays. In this periods the resort is packed and lines for the lifts are rather long.

Bansko also offers very accessible and adventurous free riding terrain. However, the freeride here needs to be taken very seriously as the tarrain requiers good navigation skills and significant avalanche assessment knowledge.

A trip for ski touring in Bulgaria is very accessible with a big variety of flights to Sofia Airport, incliding the lowcost flights of WizzAir and RyanAir. The duration of the flights ranges from 2,5 to 4 hours depending on which part of Europe you are flying from!

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