Book Review – Skiing in the Balkans: Fifty Backcountry Descents in Bulgaria

Skiing the Balkans: 50 backcountry descents in Bulgaria - book review.

Title: Skiing the Balkans. Fifty backcountry descents in Bulgaria.

Author: Dimitar Dimitrov

Year: 2017

Where can I get it? Amazon and skiingthebalkans.com lists other places too

Bulgaria has held a special place in my heart for nearly a decade and a half. Ever since venturing on her soil and traipsing around in her vast and beautiful mountains, amidst friendly people, and with history all around…. I fell in love. While I have never skied in Bulgaria, I have passed through many of her majestic mountains in summer, and I always vowed to go back in winter. Who would not want to saunter through the beautiful town of Bansko in the snow? Now, it seems, I have the perfect tool to fuel a backcountry ski trip to Bulgaria – a guidebook written by Dimitar Dimitrov.

Bankso, Bulgaria
Village buildings beneath Pirin Mountains, Bansko, Bulgaria. Photo courtesy of Huffington Post.

A collection of photos from my two trips to Bulgaria. Click to enlarge:
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Dimitrov begins Skiing the Balkins with some critical background information – most of which is present in just about any backcountry skiing guidebook. But, a couple of things stood out as I read through his introduction. First he says, “One very important point to understand for avalanche forecasting in our mountains is that there is practically no official bulletin available” (p. 19). That’s right, there’s no Bulgaria Avalanche Information Center or something like that. He recommends checking the bulletins at nearby ski areas, the Mountain Rescue Service, or the Bulgarian Extreme & Free Skiing Association.

The other thing that Dimitrov mentions is the extensive hut system – which some call “chalets”. After hiking around the Rila and Purin mountain ranges of Bulgaria, I can attest to this extensive network. The huts are good, the food is good, they are indeed plentiful, and they will make a great basecamp. Perhaps the best way to get an avalanche forecast is to ask other hut-goers.

The table of contents for Skiing in the Balkans.

As the subtitle states, Skiing in the Balkans contains 50 backcountry ski routes in Bulgaria. These are scattered over three separate mountain ranges – the Rila Mountains, the Pirin Mountains, and the Vitosha Mountains. Each range begins with its own chapter introduction with further explanation of the region. Routes are complete with an info box that contains the name, aspect, approximate total time, skill level, starting point, summit point, hazards, special equipment needed, and nearby huts. In addition, each route contains a thorough description.

Backcountry skiing in the Balkins.
Colored pictures and maps supplement route descriptions in Skiing in the Balkans. Blue lines denote ascent routes, red represents descents.

Color is use to really enhance the maps. While some maps may contain several routes and others may only contain one, one thing is consistent – a blue line is used to demark the up track, and red is used to show the descent. This carries over to the color photos too – some of which are marked with specific route overlays.

Skiing in the Balkans: Fifty backcountry descents in Bulgaria, is a 250-page book packed with information and colorful pictures to inspire. If you’re willing to make the journey, Bulgaria will mesmerize you with her character and her beauty. And I am sure the routes in this book are just a small sample of what the magnificent peaks of Bulgaria have to offer to backcountry skiers.

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Book Review - Skiing in the Balkans: Fifty Backcountry Descents in Bulgaria
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Book Review - Skiing in the Balkans: Fifty Backcountry Descents in Bulgaria
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Complete with color photos and maps and detailed descriptions, Skiing in the Balkans will lead backcountry skiers to good ski routes in Bulgaria!
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Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things,Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate 🙂 Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

Latest posts by Brittany Walker Konsella (see all)

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things, Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate :) Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

5 thoughts on “Book Review – Skiing in the Balkans: Fifty Backcountry Descents in Bulgaria

  • November 7, 2017 at 7:22 am
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    It’s a lot cheaper than other parts of Europe, too, isn’t it?

  • November 10, 2017 at 11:42 am
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    Pretty far south. Do they get much snow? When is the best time to go?

  • November 10, 2017 at 12:26 pm
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    Yes, quite a bit cheaper!

  • November 10, 2017 at 12:27 pm
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    It sounds like the snow can be variable. A recent reply on our Facebook page has said that Bulgaria is feeling the impacts of global warming. It sounds like the best time to go might be in and around February…..

  • November 11, 2017 at 11:57 am
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    From end December to half March it has good snow coverage on the higher altitudes. 2017 was a long season with very much snow. And sun, plenty of sun.

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