Apart from his family, Strahil Georgiev loves three things: Snow, snow and snow. The skiing and snowboarding professional usually stays in Borovets, one of Bulgaria’s most popular skiing resorts. In winter, there is hardly any moment when Strahil Georgiev will not stand on skis or snowboards. During the other three seasons, the 36-year-old loves to hike on Bulgaria’s wonderful mountains. Also, he takes excellent photos. Imanuel Marcus spoke to Strahil Georgiev.
Magazine79: You are a skiing professional and one of those who wait for the snow to fall all year long. Also, you are a skiing instructor and you do snowboarding. For your private pleasure, what do you like most? Skiing? Snowboarding? Do you use official slopes or wild places?
Strahil Georgiev: I’m in love with all of it. Skiing and snowboarding pretty much give me the same pleasure. I think I have tried all kinds of adventures in the snow. They are connected to each other, but you have to know what you are doping and how. That is why I teach people right there on the slopes. But since I love off-piste skiing and freeboarding as well, I teach those too.
Magazine79: What do beginners have to know before they stand on skis for the first time?
Strahil Georgiev: It is not easy to be a beginner. They should be taught by professionals, and not by friends. We know what we are doing, while in most cases friends do not. When beginners are in good hands, skiing or snowboarding will easily become their favourite sport for the rest of their lives. They will be addicted to snow. That is exactly how I fell in love with winter sports.
Magazine79: For those who have not done any skiing in Bulgaria: What makes this country a good skiing place?
Strahil Georgiev: Bulgaria is great location for winter holidays. First of all, our country is easy to reach. We have all kinds of slopes, from beginners to pro levels. For off-piste lovers, Bulgaria offers far more than they expect. On top of that, night skiing and our night life is great. Also, skiing in Bulgaria is cheaper than skiing in the Alps. For families, visiting smaller resorts is an advantage, since they are more quiet. Bulgaria has those kinds of resorts. And our winters are long.
Magazine79: There are several skiing resorts in Bulgaria. You go to Borovets a lot. What makes Borovets special? Why is it a good skiing place?
Strahil Georgiev: Borovets is my favourite ski resort in Bulgaria because it is the oldest one with a lot of history. And everything is close. Borovets is located one hour from Sofia Airport, and the hotels on site are right next to the skiing slopes. That is what people are looking for. Night skiing is also excellent in Borovets, the best in the Balkans region. On tip of that, Rila, which is right next door, is the highest mountain in the entire region. And we have hot mineral water geysers in our area. Then we have slopes for all skiers, from beginners to pros, as well as backcountry skiing and snowboarding. There are lots of slopes in four areas, which are well connected, there are restaurants right on the pistes, they offer WiFi all over the place, and the service is good. What else can I say?
Magazine79: What about Vitosha, as a skiing spot? What is your opinion?
Strahil Georgiev: Vitosha Mountain is a very good location. But if they invested more, if they replaced the old lifts and actually maintained them properly, Vitosha would become a new generation resort, and the only one in Europe which would be located so close to a capital and a major airport. The lifts are very old indeed. Only a few of them are operational. They could easily repair it all between spring and autumn.
Magazine79: When will there be enough snow for skiing? What do you expect this year?
Strahil Georgiev: Well the the good snow almost always starts falling from the mid-December. That’s the ground rule. Sometimes, like last winter, the season the opening took place a bit early. In this case, it happened around December 8. From that moment onward, we had enough snow all the way through the season. I sincerely hope it will be the same this time around. At this stage, the weather can be described as normal, for the time of the year. Above 2000 metres, it’s winter already.
Magazine79: Thanks a lot, Strahil.
All photos by Strahil Georgiev.