This shift is never the same!
In January 2022 we go to Rila for the eighth time in winter.
We poke our noses curiously into deep Bulgaria, beyond the famous Bansko and Borovets, where the chairlift still gives you the jitters whether it starts or not in the morning, but the adventure terrain for seal walkers is wonderful!
In the early years we tried, sometimes even forced, the alpine hut to hut crossing between the Malyovitsa valley and the Rila lakes, over wide ridges and through superb glacial calderas.
At other times, forced by too much fresh snow, we abandoned the alpine hollow and traversed through the woods on a wild, scenic trail between Lovna Hut and Mayovitsa Hut.
But in later years we have settled our tours between the Rila Lakes; I must admit, the fact that the Rila Lakes Hotel is newly renovated and super comfortable has whetted our appetite for shorter, more intense tours and the urge to carry the "snowmobiles", the powder skis that is!
We also love that Rila's home front means adventure at hand.
We leave Bucharest at 6 am (well, we Brașovs drink coffee with crossed eyes from 3 am!) and at 4 pm we "land" in Panichishte and stay with our old friend Petru in the former Pionerska complex.
I know it hurts my tongue so I'm just writing one more time that we're leaving Panichishte 🙂 dis morning at... 9am with the first chairlift and all the calabash to set up camp at 2100m.
We pick up the super rooms and within 20 minutes we're locked and loaded in front of the hotel (which, yummy, is ski in ski out!!! ) some with our heels off and seals on skis, the others with alpine setups and eyes on the old but windy Brezhnev-era ski lift 🙂
You want to freeride?
Well, imagine you were at Bâlea and you had a ski lift that took you up to the Bâlii Curmetura and from there you could choose 6-7 different couloirs with inclinations of 20 - 45 degrees and 80 - 120 m difference in level.
Plus a few shorter, more gentle ones to get your courage up.
You want downhill skiing?
Mmm, you're not in the best place on the planet, you know!
If the snow helps you have a low difficulty "snake" that you can ride a few times a day plus a short, wide-ish and somewhat steeper but that's about it.
You come to the area especially if you want to get your nose off the slopes!
Want to ski tour?
Well, welcome to paradise!
So as a warm-up you can make a run up to the Otovitsa peak at 2696 m and back and check out all the side boilers - they all invite you to long descent laps!
The tour of the lakes itself is magnificent and you pick up over 1500m of positive elevation gain in a day, with 15 - 40 degree slopes on the descent.
It is also possible to do a tour with a stop at the Ivan Vazov hut on the opposite side!
Evenings are spent by the fireplace and at the end, before leaving for home, we dip our cold noses in the thermal baths of Sapareva Banja.
What more could you want from 4 days of winter adventure?
The tour is for any skier who wants to get out of the marked perimeter of the slopes and start their career as a versatile skier on adventure terrain.
Come and join us: