One of the countries with an increasing prominence as a winter holiday destination, Bulgaria also gains a positive reputation when it comes to hosting some high-level snow sports events in recent years. Numerous World Cup and European Cup competition have been organized successfully at Bansko, Borovets, or Pamporovo in the 2000s and 2010s. Bulgaria skiing conditions and traditions build firm foundations for the boldest move of the state in the past decade – the bid for the Youth Winter Olympics in 2024. It seems like the country has the support from the International Olympic Committee and the chance to win the opportunity to host such an event more real than ever.
Three bids failed in the past
The country has a negative history speaking of Winter Olympic bids. Bulgaria applied for the Games in 1992, 1994, and 2014 with no success at all. This time anyway it looks like the opportunity is up for grabs. The main events will not affect the main destinations of the non-professional sportsmen and travelers if they pick Bulgaria ski holidays as the option for the winter break. Sofia will be the host of the Youth Winter Olympics, and most of the action is planned to happen on Vitosha Mountain which forms a living organism literally with the state’s capital. Among the other centers of skiing in Bulgaria, only Borovets would host part of the events. The Rila Mountain resort is situated just 70 km away from the biggest city in the country and will be used for the competition in cross-country skiing, biathlon and even ski jumping.
How far is the country from the Olympic standards?
Not that far, indeed. In Bulgaria, skiing does not produce the greatest sports stars yet and the most prominent Alpine racer – Petar Popangelov, had been active three decades ago. But the much recent breakthrough of the snowboarder Radoslav Yankov who won the World Cup in 2016-17 season shows that there is more to hear from the country. The continually improving condition at the main resort helps not only the rise of the Bulgaria ski holidays popularity but also attracts a larger number of children to the training and developing of their skills in some of the winter sports. Bansko hosted several competitions of the Alpine and snowboarding elite, so the local sports management is pretty much aware and trained in terms of organization. Skiing in Bulgaria is a hobby for thousands of people, and the good news is that more and more of them see their chance in the professional sports year after year.
The country is catching up with the Western European standards concerning the accommodation, the services, and the apres-ski variety. Borovets resort which is in the plans of the Winter Youth Olympics bid goes through the process of a significant modernization and improvement to regain its status as the leading destination for snow tourism. But it would not be easy to achieve since Bansko has scored so many points in the past decades to become the primary Bulgaria skiing choice for travelers from abroad. And Pamporovo works to get on top with the expansion of the winter sports zone and the merger with Mechi Chal is about to create the most extensive complex for skiing in Bulgaria and on the map of the Balkan Peninsula.
Well, the chances for the success of the Winter Youth Olympics bid depend on the condition at Vitosha. The facilities at the mountain near Sofia need a total reconstruction, and the whole area requires a substantial development to receive the honor to host such an event. There are many options for Bulgaria ski holidays already, yet is it prepared for the highest level is still to be tested.