Ski At Bansko With Kids
What is it about?
The article is about our vacation experience at Bansko at the beginning of this year. It will review some tips for parents who are looking for a vacation with kids, the required equipment and some of the restaurants we visited during the vacation.
Preparations For The Trip
So we decided about our trip around September 2019 and we booked tickets ahead for mid of January.
Our two main reasons to travel to Bansko were:
- Slopes for beginners.
The total price of the flight tickets (4 tickets) was 562 euros which included 1x20 kg baggage, 2x10kg suitcases, and sports insurance.
For me and my wife, it wasn't the first ski trip, so we already had ski and thermal clothes. However, for the kids we had to buy everything. There are many different kinds of brands where you can purchase high-quality clothes but I see no reason to spend a lot of money if this is your first time (or you are a beginner).
We bought all the needed equipment fore 340 euros which included two full ski sets for kids - pants and a jacket.
The list of the clothes we took with us (for each person) for 8 days:
- 4 pairs of ski socks (long).
- 3 thermal pants.
- 5 thermal long sleeve shirts.
- A warm cap.
- Winter boots, thermal and water resistance.
- 1 ski set for kids: pants + jacket.
- Different kinds of medicine for kids, you never know what might happen.
A day prior to the flight day, after packing the suitcases, we managed to pack everything inside the 20kg suitcase and the 10kg suitcase and still had 7 free kg, so we left one of the 10kg suitcases at home.
We had like 3 months to get prepared - joining different Facebook groups, watching live webcams in Bansko, checking the snow forecast, learning about attractions and restaurants in Bansko.
We rented a car for the whole period of the trip and paid for it 172 euros which included full car insurance and winter tires. The transportation prices in Bulgaria are not so cheap but if you are a group of people then it becomes lucrative.
In my opinion, the first day is the hardest day - stress, panic, pressure, kids screaming, people with no patient, you are afraid too late and so on.
Our flight was pretty calm, 3 light turbulence during the flight, nothing serious.
We arrived at Sofia international airport, picked our luggage and went to receive the keys for our rented car. We had to wait in a queue like an hour to get the car as there were many people in the queue and only 1 company representative. While waiting for the car, we bought one sim card (15 GB of data sim cost 7.5 euro).
Finally, we received the keys and went down to the parking lot to receive it. Kids and wife were tired, we had to drive like 2 hours or so. We did 1 stop at McDonald's and left there 21 euros, no way we pass by McDonald's without tasting it.
We planned ahead to make all the required preparations for the next day - the ski day. So, once we arrived to Bansko (around 19:00), we went to pick up our booked ski equipment. We booked the equipment from Tsakirisski, I think one of the best rental shops in Bansko (if not the best, but this is my own opinion). We booked the equipment for 5 ski days, didn't have to pay ahead, and it was for good as during the trip the plans a bit changed and I will elaborate later about the adventures.
Few good words about shop - I believe in service, good service attracts more people than bad service. They guys were very friendly, met us with a smile each morning, helped us to get in the equipment at the end of each ski day. They let us pay per each day we used the equipment and not for all the 5 days we booked. You should try them, this is the only way to understand what I'm talking about.
We paid for the equipment only on the last day of the trip, and the total price for the equipment was 320 euros, and it included the next items:
- Two ski sets for kids - ski, poles, boots, helmet, and goggles
- One ski set for adults - ski, poles, boots, helmet and goggles.
- One snowboarder set - snowboard, boots, helmet.
- Two cloth sets for adults - pants and a jacket (100 euros out of the 320 euros).
Once we finished with the equipment, we ran out quickly to a local supermarket - Aldo.
We bought basic stuff - yogurts, milk and some other tasty food for 55 euros.
At last, we went to our rented apartment which was very clean, comfortable, quiet, located in the Belvedere Holiday Club. We paid 310 euros for the apartment. I recommend for this area for several reasons:
- It is located 350 meters from the ski equipment shop.
- It is located 550 meters from the gondola, but you don't walk from there with the equipment anyway. The gondola located 150 meters from the shop.
- The place is very quiet, not noisy, no streets around.
- You have a money exchange on the way to the shop (Crown Exchange, suggested by the local people).
- You have a bar inside of the building, a warm pool, spa and gym.
- You have a local restaurant where we ate sometimes in the mornings. We paid 16 euros for 4 people.
End of the day.
The first time for kids, the first time they are going to stand on snow and first time they are going to feel the ski.
We booked ahead with a local ski instructor so we had to be up on the mountain on time. We had to wait in the gondola queue for like 30 minutes or so. We bought ski passes for the whole day which includes the gondola plus all the slopes. The price for the ski passes was about 110 euros and the price for two hours for a private ski lesson was 75 euros.
The first day of the ski was a complete disaster and a very bad experience for one of my daughters. It was so bad that she didn't want to ski again.
The ski instructor was not so good in my opinion, also his Russian was not good at all. He explained the basic two words to the kids: "chips" and "pizza". "Chips" is when you need to put your legs straight together and pizza is when you need to slow down - no other instructions. The slope is for beginners, however, to me it seemed to have difficult parts that combined different levels of required experience. Anyway, the slope is like 7 kilometers. After 15 minutes, my eldest daughter started to complain about a pain in her legs, I tried to explain here that this is normal, she just has to get used to the feeling.
Then she started to cry saying her legs are freezing. At this point I had to stop. I took off her boots - her legs were very cold, I understood there is no way she is going to make it that way. I barely put back her ski boots. I asked the instructor to help me take her quickly down. After 20 minutes or so we were nearby the gondola lift, and after another 20 minutes we came back to the ski equipment shop.
People just started to massage her legs, moved her next to a heater, brought a small bath with warm water and a cup of tea. Her fingers were brown, it took us like 20 minutes until we brought back the normal body temperature to these parts of her legs. At the end - she smiled, and everything was fine.
We ended the day in the Ginger restaurant - it was very tasty, not so expansive, a very warm place and a good service. We left there 80 euros which included a tip.
Day 3 - Changing Daughter's Impression
It was an important day for me. After a very bad first impression of skiing, I decided to cancel the ski instructor and tried to do it by myself.
I planned a fun day for my kids with my wife. I explained to my daughters that today we are not going up to the mountain, we are staying down, and they will be with me.
So we took the ski stuff, went behind the gondola and I simply started to explain them by myself how to ski. The impression was very good, after half an hour they both were able to ski and slow down. I only showed them the basic technique. My elder daughter agreed to give it a second chance.
On that day I was looking for an instructor that will be available in the next days. It was hard to find someone, most of them were already booked, fortunately, by the end we did it. We found a man, living in Bansko who agreed to accept us.
The day was very positive, a lot of fun for kids.
We ended the day in a local restaurant. I can't remember the name, but it was about 1200 meters from the gondola. Most of the visitors to that place were local people who knew this place, which also means that the prices there were low. The food was very good, high quality, tasty, excellent service. We left there 42.5 euros including tip.
On that day we also ate breakfast for 12 euros, a lunch of 18.5 euros, spent 14 euros in a supermarket and another 14 euros for snacks and drinks.
Day 4 - Day 8
In this paragraph I will summarize the rest of the days by starting with the 4th day.
So, the 4th day was the judgment day - new instructor, new experience, fingers crossed, my daughters were (again) on a private ski lesson.
I met her after two hours, she was amazed, her progress was amazing, she liked the instructor very much and the bad first impression turned into a positive experience.
My little daughter (6 years old) was with the same instructor, she liked him very much and they both were skiing very well for their first time.
The next days were dedicated to ski, food and shopping, as it was meant to from the beginning.
During these days we visited also expensive restaurants, at least compared to the others. Two of them were "La-Skara" and "Victoria". The steak in the photo was taken in the "La-Skara" restaurant. They offer a table with a grill inside it, you can cook by yourself or you can pick up a table without a grill. Both restaurants are around 100 euros for 4 people. Another two good restaurants were Log House and Red Hot, both places are like 100 meters from the gondola. Prices for 4 people in these restaurants were around 70 euros for 4 people.
A Perfect Morning
Locations Of The Restaurants
To sum up things, a vacation with kids is a different kind of vacation. A ski vacation is definitely a different vacation that is fully dedicated to kids.
- If this is your first trip with kids, I recommend you to take some local medicines with you, just in case.
- Make sure you have relevant clothes for the local weather.
- Make sure you book with a ski instructor before arriving at Bansko.
- The first impression is important, but it can be changed.
- Be there for kids, it's their vacation.
- Don't avoid taking instructor, it will save you many injuries.
- Try different restaurants, its a trip, see no point to eat in the same place.
- Use forums, Google, Facebook, Twitter or any other social platforms to ask about the place. People will answer all your questions, suggest you the places to visit, which instructors to take, etc.
The total price for the trip was around 7500 euros, but this includes everything including stuff we bought to bring back with us clothes and other stuff.
I hope this article was helpful somehow, and enjoy your trip.
NOTE: This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Alex Ledovski