Sun, Snow and Apres Ski

Sauce & Browns workforce was down by 33% last week, not that you would of noticed we hope.

I (Anthony) partook in a boys holiday on the Pirin mountains of Bansko in Bulgaria. The dream of snowboarding on a real mountain on real snow has been a long time coming ever since that first lesson on the outskirts of Tamworth on fake snow.

Once the trip was paid for I realised I had non of the essential gear needed to stay warm in sub zero conditions. In true S&B fashion once you start talking to our customers, they become friends that are more than willing to dig around in their loft and sort you out everything you need. So many offers of gear and advice from you guys which was priceless. As a topic of conversation that has never really cropped up in store before it was surprising to see how many dark horses out there are bang into winter sports.

The Catalyst behind the trip was actually to celebrate a good friends last few weeks of freedom before he gets married in April, so naturally he started the trip to Luton Airport dressed head to toe in lycra like a member of Cool Runnings.

A good 3 hour flight with the lesser known budget airline Wizzair got us into Sofia safely. The -13 temp hit us as soon as the aeroplane doors opened, that soon got the troops rounded up and on the mini bus for the 2hour transfer. We arrived at 5am local time so I decided to stay up, have a walk around and wait for the ski hire to open.

By 9am we were on the mountain in all the gear ready to go. Day one was full of learning, dodging others and also really taxing on the legs. It wasn't until the next morning I realised just how much my legs ached, comparable to the 12 mile run the week before. We ended the evening with a few beers and a glass of wine with a nice sit down meal.

Day 2 and everyone struggled walking to the gondola, the pain eased after a couple of easy runs down the slopes. The weather was incredible with blue skies and sunshine everyday. We grabbed a snack and had a couple of hours down time soaking up the atmosphere with a few bottles. Corona has never tasted so good as when the board and helmet came off, music was playing out of a snow hummer on tank tracks and everyone was taking in the perfect scenery. Lubricated by alcohol, the afternoons session on the board flowed beautifully. Apres Ski was just delightful down int he town with a Bulgarian cover band adding the music, only a quick shower and outfit change interrupted a good night of rock covers.

Day 3 started at different times for all of us depending on what ungodly hour each person made it back to bed. Naturally the first stop was top of the mountain for a coffee and a lion bar.

Everything came together today, of course it did, it just felt natural to be heading down the mountain at speed gliding side to side on the snow. It was the last day and we were running out of time and light, all of us cramming in as many runs as we could before heading down the peaceful ski road all the way to the kerbside just by our apartment. Board off for the last time until next time. I would of loved one more day on the board.

I have nothing to compare it to but Bansko delivered big time, great ski runs, fantastic on slope atmosphere and the price was unbeatable. I would recommend it to a beginner wanting to give it a go or even a seasoned skier wanting an affordable break.

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