Skiing in Borovets

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Before this trip Ming said adamantly: “I won’t leave the mountain if I can’t ski a blue run!” Well, she got injured on the 3rd day, and myself on the 5th, but I guess we would both call it a successful trip, as we did managed to ski a few blue runs this time. The most successful one for me must be the Musala Pathway, a 10km stretch crossing the mountains, the longest run in Borovets, and the nicest, in my opinion.

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On the fourth day, my morale was pretty low, as my good partner hurt her leg the day before, so it was the first day i skied without her. Fortunately, my other friend was kind enough to stick around with me (unfortunately for him though, to be stuck with a boringly slow and clumsy skier!). He was dying to do the Musala, i could tell. He seems to have confidence that i could do it too, though i wasn’t so sure myself. I couldn’t say no to him though, i felt like i’ve wasted his whole day waiting for me to be ready. Maybe i was simply afraid. But he was very patient with me, and guided me much more than the instructor ever did. (Vielen Dank Mario!)

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We had 4 new students from Wales joined our group this day. Two girls, and two boys. The tall boy, the short boy, the white girl, and the black girl (as in color of their jackets). That was how we identified them. And I quote: “…and the short boy’s name changes everyday!” Hahaha! 😉 (It was only after the 6th day that we actually learned his real name!) And then after lunch, our group suddenly grew by 3 more tiny tots, much to our amusement, all of whom could ski better than us.

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After skiing more than 30km of ski runs on that day (few rounds in the long and tedious Sitnyakovo skiway, Martinovi Baraki, and down to the gondola station and up the Yastrebetz peak and finally down via the Musala Pathway); i felt physically spent, but emotionally uplifted. Somehow, there was a certain sense of gratification, though by definition the runs are still categorised as “easy”. It’s like looking at the map, we’ve covered almost half the mountains there.

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Our friend actually studied the ski map every night and make a list of runs he wanted to do the next day. It was kind of funny, i thought the small paper was a grocery list, until i looked at it closely and realised they were the names of ski runs, sorted by their colors, with a checkbox at the side to indicate done! Well at our level we could only do the greens and blues. But as the excited Welsh boy so happily shared his new found revelation with us : “The colors are all in your head!! You can ski any runs you want!” Yay!! 😉

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Yastrebetz peak 2369m, 25 minutes via the Yastrebetz Gondola. Peak view – Rila mountain, Moussala (highest) , Malka Moussala, Irechek, Deno, Aleko.

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Weather can turn foggy anytime at the peak, one minute we were looking at the long stretch of slopes in front of us and discussing our ski plans on how best to cross the slopes… and then suddenly, in the blink of an eye, we can’t see anything within 10 metres! Paralleling and gaining speed in the fog without seeing or knowing what’s in front can be a pretty scary experience.

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“More beer, no fear” – that’s what the instructor told us. So there we were, chilling out during lunch break. A cold beer on the piste. Nasdrave!! Brrrr……. !!!!

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I survived Martinovi Baraki! That’s the name of our first blue run.

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View of Borovets from the crossing at Cherveno Zname, the black run. One of the 3 awesome-horror-crossings, as what i call them. That’s because everytime i have to cross these pathways, i always have to calm myself and tell myself repeatedly: Don’t panic, don’t be scared, don’t stop, go parallel and cross quickly, and most importantly, don’t ever look down! But down is the only place i actually looked, of course, our mind works in ironic ways. The scenery was so awesome, that everytime i cross these paths, i couldn’t help looking down and thinking that i wanted to stop and take a photo here. But stopping here could be quite perilous, as an out of control boarder or skier could run into you anytime and down you’ll go snowballing.

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My friends later gave the slope a new nickname, called Ann’s slope. Coz this was the slope that i very nearly fell into……, and probably break all my limbs, if not my neck (i suddenly remembered that i wasn’t even wearing my helmet). Clinging with my hands at the edge of the cliff and with my entire lower body dangling down, skis and all, there was only one direction where my eyes could look – down. I couldn’t move, couldn’t remove my skis, couldn’t climb up. A tiny movement would send me tumbling down for sure. I was stuck there for some time. Everything looked so tiny down there. It was the first time i felt real fear after skiing for so many days and falling down so many times.

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I would expect to panic then, but surprisingly, i realised that my mind was racing wildly against time, devising emergency response plans on what to do if i really fell down here in the next second. (Instructor never taught us what to do in such a situation!) Many plans flashed across my mind, but none of them seems to work! Finally, i felt a strong hand behind me firmly gripping my arms and dragging me all the way back up onto the crossing. (Thank you Mario, for saving my life!) A costly mistake i learned : When you absolutely must overtake someone at a narrow lane, always do it at the side where the up-slope is, even if you have to ski up the slope while doing it.

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After injuring our legs and not able to ski on the 6th day, we’ve decided to take a walk in the forest behind our apartment. The snow was so thick, we could not resist playing snowman and snow angel.

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And then the weird thing happened. My phone disappeared. Right after we took a picture with it. It wasn’t on me, wasn’t on my friend. We could only assume it fell into the snow. We have only taken about 10 steps in those snow, but we could not find the phone anywhere along our tracks. It was so baffling as there was no trace at all, almost like it has magically disappeared. But the snow was as high up as the knee level, and my phone was unfortunately snow white in color.  After 40 minutes of searching high and low in those 10 steps, the sky was growing dark and we were growing restless. I could not understand what happened so I started digging impulsively;… and miraculously, I found it! The entire phone was buried deep inside the snow, vertically. I could not believe it. It was like finding an archeological artifact. Anyhow….., all’s well ends well. 😉

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