Skiing in Bulgaria
Some important things you should consider when skiing and snowboarding in Bulgaria.
If you are about to ski or snowboard in the Bulgarian mountains, please have in mind the following:
- The Mountain Rescue Service (telephone numbers: +359 48 1843; +359 88 1470; +359 2 9632000) does not have the facility to use helicopters and other hi-tech devices in rescue operations. Sometimes (when there are roads or not very steep slopes on the road to the accident) they may use snowmobiles. The RECCO system is not supported. Most of the avalanche beacons of the rescue service work on 2275Hz. They will use 457kHz beacons in search of avalanche victims only if it is known that the victim has such a beacon (which means that it is useful to warn the local rescue service that you use such beacons before traveling and discuss the situation with them). For locating victims the most used method is ground search and if possible with dogs.
- There are NO Avalanche Hazard Reports.
- The mountain climate in Bulgaria is very specific. It is formed under the strong influence of moist Mediterranean masses (coming with warm and extremely strong S and SW winds) and cold Atlantic masses (coming with W and NW strong winds). So it is common to have a few warm days (even with rain showers) followed by heavy snowfalls and drop of temperatures. After these events fresh powder often lies on very hard crust.
Predominating winds in winter are W and NW. They often form thick slabs. According to our experience most dangerous are E and S slopes (hard slabs on icy crust after strong winds). Very dangerous are the upper and steepest parts of gullies, where often there are cornicles and slabs.
At the beginning of spring, at the time of the first strong warming-up (usually about the middle of April) on many slopes fall wet avalanches. Typical signs of the increased snow instability is a lack of any support from the snow (sinking very deep when traveling). After this period high in the mountains firm and hard spring snow is formed, which is very good for skiing.
- From 2001 the services of the Mountain Rescue Service in Bulgaria needs to be paid for. Prices vary from 100 Ђ EURO (short transport of a person with a broken leg) to more than 500 Ђ EURO (avalanche rescue operations).
In addition to the above we would like to advise you the following:
- It is advisable for people wishing to ski, snowboard or travel in Bulgarian mountains with a local person with very good knowledge of local conditions.
- Always carry rescue equipment, conduct avalanche tests, ski safely and be prepared to perform a rescue operation by yourself.
- Make sure you have an insurance policy that covers all rescue expenses abroad.
- And finally, skiing in Bulgaria can be great. Not many skiers and snowboarders venture outside the ski runs, so the powder here is normally untouched. Usually you are the first on the slope.
Below are some important rules that you have to consider:
- Respect the others on the piste. Behave in such manner so to avoid any possible damage to other skiers.
- Control your speed while skiing. Try to remain in control at all times. Try to move according to your level and abilities, and according to the weather and terrain conditions.
- Choose a trajectory. When skiing downhill choose your own trajectory on the slope to avoid any collision with the skiiers in front of you.
- When overtaking other skiers it is permitted to overtake other skiers/boarders from any direction provided that the movements of the skier being overtaken are not hampered in any way.
- You must not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above. If you fall, clear the trail as soon as possible.
- When walking up a trail, keep to the edge of the slope. In case of bad visibility keep off the trail. The same applies to skiers walking down the trails.
- Every skier must pay attention and respect all signs along the slope.
- All skiers who witness a collision, must promptly notify the ski patrol by reporting the accident at the nearest lift terminal.
- Every skier involved in a collision or witness of a collision must in any case stop and remain at the scene of the accident providing name and current address to ski patrol before leaving.