Author Archives: Cloud Nine Chalets

Calling Home from Bulgaria? You won’t need a loan….

Since their emergence at the beginning of the 21st century, smartphones have systematically changed the way we communicate with friends and family. Apart from producing a generation of teenagers that struggle with full sentences, everything is all rather convenient nowadays. Taking a photo, writing a caption and sending it to hundreds of people takes all but a few moments making the traditional snail-mail postcard effectively redundant.

In the UK, we have an understanding of what we can and can’t do to avoid seeing a frightful surprise on our next bill, and that’s ok. But the moment our plane lands in another country and we turn our phones back on (ignoring the captain’s request to wait until we reach the terminal building of course), there’s that sudden awareness that checking what your friends are doing on Facebook may mean not being able pay your electricity bill for the rest of the year.

June 2014: All Change

In mid-2014, the EU commission introduced caps on charges for EU-operating mobile phone networks, which slashed the prices we had all been paying when travelling within the EU, which as of 2007 includes Bulgaria, the nation in which the beautiful ski town of Bansko sits.

So, instead of returning home to a larger than normal surprise from your mobile phone network, you’re now able to keep your non-holidaying friends jealous with a phone call and only pay 15 pence per minute (19 cents). For topping up the aforementioned jealousy throughout your trip, a text message will now only set you back approx 5 pence (6 cents).

If the beautiful mountains and snowy scenery doesn’t keep your attention, you can see what your non-holidaying friends are doing on Facebook for approx 16 pence (20 cents) per megabyte. It’s probably worth looking up the average file sizes of those inevitable cat photos to get some perspective.

Photo to two women looking at a phone in the snow.

Calling home from Bansko won’t cost the earth.

999 Means Nothing Outside the UK

From childhood, our parents have drilled the fact into us that if we call 999, some responsible people will turn up and make everything ok again. In the UK that makes perfect sense, but what do you do in Bulgaria if you need assistance?

Unlike in the UK, there are three numbers depending on the emergency:

150 – Ambulance

166 – Police

160 – Fire

…and according to the EU website, calls can be answered in English which is helpful (although you might have to wait to be transferred to an English speaking operator).

The best thing to do is pop these numbers in your phone for your time in Bulgaria and we certainly hope you never need to use them.

Snow Capped Mountains vs Your Phone’s Screen

Whilst you’re out there, we know the breath-taking scenery will be something to remember and your mobile phone is going to take a back seat to good company, great skiing and a fantastic chalet holiday but it’s always good to be informed!

Learn to Ski Holidays in Bansko

Here at Cloud Nine Chalets, we’ve been skiing and snowboarding for quite a while now but we can still remember our first time on the snow. It can be a bit daunting the first time that you strap something to your feet that is meant to make you go fast down a mountain so we’re offering a beginner’s ‘Learn to Ski’ package so that the only thing you have to worry about is how you are going to stop!

Bansko is a great destination for learning to ski, there are several easy beginner areas to get you started and the instructors are friendly, helpful and patient. It’s always worth having lessons, even if you are already sporty and fit, as it gets you using the right techniques from day 1! Your chalet hosts have gone through it all so they will be on hand to give you all the tips and encouragement that you need.

Learn to Ski Photo from Bansko

Learn to ski in Bansko from £419.

I (Victoria) had loads of lessons when I started to ski which helped me advance really quickly but later on when I started boarding I went without lessons and ended up with a lot of bruises…. I got to the point where I was OK getting around the mountain but I felt I wasn’t improving as much as I could be, so I had a week of lessons.  My poor instructor had to spend the first couple of lessons correcting my stance and ironing out all my bad habits (there were quite a few) but I had an immediate improvement and I couldn’t believe that I had wasted all that time not doing it properly and falling over such a lot!

Our ‘Learn to Ski’ and ‘Learn to Snowboard’ packages are designed to make your week run smoothly so that you can just focus on getting going on the snow. For £419pp (Ski) or £439pp (Snowboard) you get:

* Airport Transfers from Sofia to Bansko

* 6 Day Bansko Lift Pass

* 5 Days Group Ski or Snowboard Lessons

* 6 Day Equipment Hire

* Fully Catered Bansko Ski Chalet Accommodation

* Free wifi

* Outdoor Hot Tub

These ‘Learn to Ski’ packages will be running in Bansko, in Chalet Soltir and Chalet Juniper for the 10th Jan and the 17th Jan weeks and at the moment return flights are around £100. Your chalet hosts will look after you all week and make sure that the hot tub is nice and hot so you can soak your muscles after a day on the ski slopes.

If you want to know more about learning to ski in Bansko, just drop us a line and we will be happy to help you out!

10 things that we love about Bansko!

Bansko is well known it’s inexpensive ski holidays but we think that it has so much more to offer. Read on for 10 more reasons to visit Bansko:

1. It’s different from the norm, where else do you find a snowboarder clad in all the modern gear crossing the road at the same time as a herd of goats, a goat herder and his dog? Traditional life is still carrying on in Bansko, despite the brand new ski resort that popped up above the town in 2005.

Old men in Bansko

Bansko locals watching the world (and the snowboarders) go by.

2. Something for everyone. If you don’t fancy skiing on every day of your holiday there are museums, a narrow gauge railway, paragliding, 4×4 safaris, micro-lite flights and an abundance of 5 star spas for some serious relaxation.

3. A huge choice of restaurants. Ranging from traditional taverns to pizzerias, steak houses or quick and easy bar snacks to fine dining in elegant surroundings, Bansko has them all.

4. Bansko’s Old Town is a UNESCO protected heritage site, we never get bored of roaming through the cobbled streets, finding atmospheric hidden taverns and hand made pottery shops around every corner.

Photo showing the snow in a street of Bansko

The meandering streets of Bansko’s Old Town.

5. Nightlife, Bansko might not have as crazy an apres-ski scene as some resorts but it if you want a lively night out it has plenty to choose from. There’s the quirky little renovated house ‘Bash Bar’ that is popular with locals and seasonnaires, ‘Amigo’s’ have excellent live music and bar staff that like to do a bit a flame throwing, the more chilled out bar ‘Pirin 75’ and new for the 14/15 season is ‘The Hub’ which promises to have something for everyone with performers already lined up for the season…. watch this space!

6. It’s great value for money. We couldn’t leave this out – a round of 5 drinks in Bansko will easily cost less than £15 which is great for your holiday spending money fund!

7. Fast new lifts, Bansko’s current infrastructure was all new from 2005 onwards meaning that the ski lifts are modern and fast (except for the three man that was leftover from communist ski holidays – it’s best to only use this one if you need a nice long rest).

8. Good variety of pistes. Beginners have several gentle slopes to choose from and can gradually work their way around the mountain on increasingly challenging runs and snowboarders can easily avoid most of the drag lifts in resort if they want to! Intermediates have some fantastic wide slopes to cruise on and advanced skiers can try out the World Cup blacks.

Photo showing the runs on-piste and off-piste in bansko.

Wide piste and great off-piste tree runs in Bansko.

9. Accessible off-piste. There is a huge amount of amazing off-piste in Bansko that can be accessed from the lifts, without having to hike. It ranges from easy open runs to technical, steep tree runs and we love it!

10. Stunning scenery on the Bansko mountain. As a UNESCO protected area, building is limited on the mountain which means that you wont see any high-rise monstrosities looming over you during your day on the slopes.

Winter is on the way to Bansko!

The snow has arrived on the mountains which gives me a warm, tingly feeling 😀 It’s all about log fires, hot chocolate and snow laden trees.

bansko snow topped mountains

The snow has arrived in Bansko.

We (Jeanette & Richard) will be back in the lovely Chalet Juniper for our 7th season in Bansko! We obviously love it and we’re looking forward to welcoming the new members of the team, Chloe and Laura who will be running the cosy Chalet Soltir which is new to Cloud Nine Chalets this Winter.

All the fun is about to begin and we’ll be helping Chloe and Laura to get their heads around shopping in Bulgaria, learning the most important phrases in Bulgarian (“another of those, please” is one of our faves), sampling the local wines and learning where the best apres-ski bars are.

Photo of Bansko chalet hosts enjoying a sunny day

Chloe & Laura – Your Hosts in Chalet Soltir

Chloe and Laura have had a head start on us as they have already been practising some of the chalet recipes, this photo of their lemon meringue pie made my mouth water so I can’t wait to taste the real thing! We love our food at Cloud Nine Chalets so planning all the chalet menus is a great job at the start of the season.

Home made lemon meringue pie

This lemon meringue pie looks delicious.

 

Love Jeanette & Richard xx

Bansko Bar Crawl.

You might think that a Tuesday night in Bansko would be quiet but No! Every week, we ask our guests if they want to come with us and do the Bansko Bar Crawl. It’s a great time to see Bansko by night, have fun and for some of our guests, to try to speak French!
This season we have been singing at the karaoke bar, clubbing at Oxygen, dancing on the bar at Jack’s House, and watching the live band at Amigos…

So now it’s the end of the season and it is with a lot of pride that it’s time for us to look back over the ski season and award the winners:

CATEGORY Best Singers
Some have been a bit shy to start but then, the machine was on and some people just didn’t want to let go of the microphone! Thank you to all the team for that great night.

Our best karaoke guests in Bansko!

Our best karaoke guests in Bansko!

CATEGORY Best Costume

A fabulous week with a daily vote to choose the lucky?? one who had to dress up in a ballet Tutu during the day on the ski slopes.

Our guests took it in turns to wear a ballet tutu on the slopes!

Our guests took it in turns to wear a ballet tutu on the slopes!

CATEGORY Best time on the slopes

Even with two injured people, this afternoon on the slopes was perfect! Just be careful on the way back on the Homerun….

It's always a worry when your guests hurt themselves on the last run of the day :( but these guys didn't let that stop them from having a great ski holiday in Bansko.

It’s always a worry when your guests hurt themselves on the last run of the day 🙁 but these guys didn’t let that stop them from having a great ski holiday in Bansko.

CATEGORY Best dancers

From 10pm to 4am, those guys have been dancing all over the places in Bansko! Really, congrats (and where did you get the energy from?)

These guys danced their way around Bansko!

These guys danced their way around Bansko!

CATEGORY Best Entertainment

There was dancing…. but also smoking Shisha pipes and watching Bulgarians trying to beat Craig’s punching ball record. So yes, entertainment is the word!

Experiencing all that Bansko has to offer... including the Shish pipe bar!

Experiencing all that Bansko has to offer… including the Shish pipe bar!

CATEGORY Best New Year’s Eve

We had a fantastic time in Bansko watching the fireworks and celebrating the New Year with plenty of Champagne.

Fireworks in the town square and lots of champagne to see the night in!

Fireworks in the town square and lots of champagne to see the night in!

CATEGORY Best Clubbers

Skiing during the day and clubbing at night? Yes they have done it during all the week: great week, great night, and great guests! We needed a week off after they left 🙂

Skiing all day, clubbing all night in Bansko! Well done guys!

Skiing all day, clubbing all night in Bansko! Well done guys!

Our suggestion for a great day in Bansko!

Here is our recipe for a great day on the Bansko ski slopes!

7:30am: A delicious chalet breakfast is waiting for you with freshly cooked eggs and porridge in addition of the continental breakfast! Your hosts will take care of feeding you well before you go skiing, making sure you are ready for a day on the slopes.

8:00am: It’s time to go – we will drive you to the Gondola station to beat the crowds to be the first on the slopes enjoying the fresh snow!

08:30am: Be amongst the first people on the mountain and enjoy the empty slopes and fresh morning sunshine. It’s our favourite time of the day!

Bansko ski lift in the morning

Bansko ski lift in the morning

10:00am: Stop for your hot chocolate break at the 180° Bar on the slopes, on run no.4!
You will debrief your first runs and vote for your favourite! In our opinion, no. 10 and no. 12 are the best because they are steep enough for keen skiers but not too difficult for beginners! They offer bumps and small detours around the trees, which is always fun as long as you remember to aim for the gaps!

12:30pm: We recommend you to have a lunch at the Bulgarian Tavern located on the run no.1. You’ll find delicious traditional food, a warm atmosphere and the best money for value on the slopes.

Rustic Bansko Tavern

Rustic Bansko Tavern

3:00pm: Take time to stop at the top of Banderitsa lift chair to admire the stunning view and get some great holiday photos of Bansko and the snowy peaks!

Photo opportunities from the Banderitsa ski lift

Photo opportunities from the Banderitsa ski lift

4:30pm: The 2nd part of your day begins with a fresh, cold and well deserved beer at Harry’s Bar which is also the meeting point for a lift back to Juniper Chalet if your legs need a break.

5:30pm: Enjoy the freshly baked cake in the chalet with a cup of tea!

7:30pm: Enjoy a yummy 3 course meal in the chalet prepared with care by your hosts and served with free flowing wine and beer.

9:00pm: Do you want more? Let’s do a Bar Crawl to see Bansko night life! You will always remember your holidays at Juniper Chalet… although, maybe not all of the bar crawl??

Gluten Friendly Chocolate Fondants

At Juniper Chalet, we welcome all dietary requirements such as vegetarian, kid special menu and Gluten-free.
We specially brought special gluten-free ingredients from the UK and we have practised making some yummy recipes!
Our gluten-free should never feel left out!
That is why we take care of your special dietary needs, baking delicious white chocolate chip muffins, meringues, dark chocolate fondant and vanilla pancakes!!

We completely adapt our menu, making special pastries for our tarts and pies and we have created some fabulous new desserts, always in accordance with your tastes and your tolerance.

gluten free dessert

Delicious desserts!

Here is our delicious recipe for our Gluten-free Chocolate Fondant:

Preheat the oven at 180°C and grease 6 ramekins

200g of dark chocolate

120g of butter

4 eggs

½ cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of gluten-free flour (corn, rice or special mix)

Melt the chocolate and butter in a “bain-marie” or a glass dish over a pan of boiling water.
In a bowl, beat the 4 eggs with the sugar.
Pour the melted chocolate into the bowl and stir. Add the flour and mix well.
Cook the fondants for 10 minutes.
ENJOY 🙂

Love Cami & Yohann xx

Horizon Festival, Bansko

Now that I’ve fully recovered from Horizon Festival I can take some time to write a quick review!

This was Horizon’s second year; last year it had a great start and the organisers did a great job of improving the festival to make it bigger and better with new venues and different events like Pro Rider Demo’s in the park.

Once again, there was a fantastic, friendly atmosphere thoughout Horizon – the partygoers were loving the fresh snow that conveniently arrived for them at the beginning of the week as well as the budget loving prices in Bansko. The Horizon staff were great; cheerful and helpful and even the DJs were joining the crowd to party after their sets.

CAM00243

At the ripe old age of 33 I couldn’t quite manage a full week of partying (my excuse is that I had to do some work) but I loved that Hotel Tofana got involved this year at Chalin Valog. It’s a great mountain venue and the nicely organised shuttle buses made it easy to access for those who didn’t make it onto the slopes. Kerri Chandler was fantastic – please can he come back next year??

Tofana Fire Dancers

Tofana Fire Dancers

Even though I didn’t make it to all the parties, it was great to see the chilled out town of Bansko hosting a festival like this; the energy and atmosphere in town is fantastic and the display of animal onsie’s and 80s retro ski gear on the slopes was very impressive.

Yummy Orange Cake Recipe

To really delight your taste buds, we offer you a Yummy Orange cake recipe. It’s a great recipe to satisfy even the most gourmet skiers for afternoon tea or dessert! 

Photo of orange cake

Delicious Orange Cake

 

Ingredients :

–          3 oranges

–          175g of flour

–          175g of butter

–          175 of caster sugar

–          125g of icing sugar

–          ½ sachet of baking powder

–          3 eggs

 

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C

2. In a saucepan over medium heat mix the melted butter (not liquid) with caster sugar, then add eggs

3. Add the flour and the baking powder and mix well

4. Add two oranges zest and the juice from one

5. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes

6. For the icing: in a saucepan over medium heat, mix the icing sugar and the juice from 2 oranges. After covering the cake with the icing, keep it in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Yohann & Camille xxx

Why should you choose Chalet Juniper?

You are looking for something different than a hotel? Something smaller, friendlier and more relaxed with great food?

Having your holidays in a Chalet could be a great option for you. If you have never tried a chalet holiday, here are some of the reasons why they are so popular:

  • The Chalet is friendly and sociable. You will enjoy your own privacy (5 bedrooms, all with their own ensuite wet rooms) in a family/friendly environment butyou will have your breakfast and evening meals with the other guests and your chalet hosts near the roaring fire, where you can swap ski tips and stories and enjoy some great company.
  • You can relax in the communal lounge equipped with TV, DVD player, Wii, books, games and a bar, it’s like a home from home where you can make yourself really comfortable.
  • Your hosts will cook a delicious three course evening meal for you accompanied by local Bulgarian wines, beer and soft drink. After a day on the slopes you don’t always feel like getting dressed up and venturing out into the snow again – eating downstairs in the chalet means that you can come down in your slippers and your onsie if you want to!
Bansko Ski Chalet

Bansko ski chalet

  • Every morning, your hosts will give you a lift to the Skimania hire shop and the gondola. They will be with you at the shop to book your gear and ski lessons. And you can have a lift back to the chalet every day after a day on the slopes if you don’t fancy walking! We make everything as easy as possible for you so that you don’t have to worry about sorting out all the little bits and pieces that come with your ski holiday. Your hosts know all the ins and out of the resort so they are on hand all week to make sure that everything runs smoothly and you get the best from your holiday.
  • An afternoon tea will be waiting for you in the Chalet after your day of skiing. It’s great to come back to home-made freshly baked cake – a different one every day!
  • Just outside of the Chalet, you will enjoy and relax in the hot tub or your hosts can book for you a massage in the comfort of your own room if really feel like being pampered.