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Borovets – The Oldest Ski Resort in Bulgaria
Borovets is one of the older ski resorts in Bulgaria and is located on the outskirts of Sofia Province on the northern side of the Rila mountain range. It is only 10km from the town of Samakov and 73km from the capital.
Borovets dates back to 1896 and was originally a hunting resort for former Bulgarian kings. Overtime is slowly being developed into a ski resort and a number of cheap and more luxurious hotels are springing up. As it is only an hour from the capital it is an easy commute for people living in Sofia and for those flying into the capital’s international airport.
In 1981 and 1984 Bovorets hosted the World Cup Alpine Ski races and also has one of the best Biathlon tracks in the world.
Much has been made in recent years about the Super Borovets project which was supposed to join the town of Samakov to the main ski resort by gondola, create more ski runs and connect remote cabin and apartment developments to the skiing. Ir was one of the biggest and most expensive and ambitious in Bulgarian history. The idea was to divide the destination into 3 different areas. There will be a brand new development around the town of Samakov, ten kilometers away. This will focus more on budget accommodation and provide an additional 5000 hotel rooms for the ski area. Level 2 will be the current ski resort after much regeneration and will be the main holiday accommodation area. Level 3 is for luxury accommodation only with only 2,500 hotel rooms.
However, the project was due to start in 2004 and be completed by 2009 but has faced several obstacles, including concerns from eco groups about the impact on the local environment and wildlife and of course the economic downturn as it has affected the plans. Now the plan is to build another 19 new ski piste and 12 new ski lifts, including a lift connecting Samakov to the main area, so the area will be around 90km of skiing.
As it stands, Borovets has around 58 km of groomed pistes at around 1350 meters to 2560 meters and the majority end in the center of Borovets giving more or less ski in and ski out accommodation. Currently there are various drag lifts, chair lifts and a couple of gondolas. A number of new modern lifts have been put in place to take people to the summit and get more people up the mountain faster. All in all Bovorets can take 8150 people up the mountain per hour at the moment. Night skiing is also offered.
The ski area is currently divided into two areas, a smaller area with runs ending at the main resort and then the second area is much larger and accessed by gondola. The resort is considered good for beginners and intermediates. Advanced skiers will find it a little restrictive.
There was cross country skiing but the 35 km run was deemed not good enough and is therefore currently being upgraded.
Borovets is very easy to get to. The nearest airport is Sofia where there are regular flights from EasyJet and Wizz Air as well as Bulgarian Air and British Airways. A number of major tour companies sell holidays there including Crystal, First Choice and Balkan holidays.
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