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Article by Xavier, for Madame Bulgaria, a french nomad guy passionate of sports of sliding and of travels around the world, based in Sofia, and cofounder of 2 successful companies : Tribway (a concept store of the best gifts of the web) and Tribway Consulting (helping you develop and launch your web projects). Distinctive sign : super cool. 

It has been snowing in Sofia for days, with temperatures between -10 and -20 C°. Fortunately, this Friday the weather finally announces sun and positive temperatures ! I jump at the opportunity to spend the day in Borovets, and enjoy this fresh snow. I leave with my friend Viki who recently won a season ticket to the raffle (which lucky !). Well equipped, we start to assault the pleasantly deserted trails on this weekday. As expected, the sun and the snow are at the rendezvous. We take full advantage of it! It is by bus that we return very tired but satisfied, in Sofia. We can not wait to go back! Situated at 1300 m, on the northern slopes of the mountain of Rila, the station of Borovets has 58 km of alpine ski runs (from 2560 to 1300 m) and 35 km of cross-country ski trails, all levels, grouped in 3 zones : Sitnjakovo (8 slopes); Jastrebec (3 slopes) and Markudžika (4 slopes). Borovets is providing very good conditions for snow sports during the winter : skiing, night-skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, ski jumps and biathlon, ski-doo, etc. While skiing, you can enjoy amazing views of the valley, with the Samokov town and the Iskar Lake. In the distance, you can also see the Vitosha mountain, and on the ot her side, you won’t miss the Musala peak, which is the highest peak of the whole Balkan Peninsula, at 2925m ! The resort itself is very pleasant, with many restaurants and bars. On a good day, you can enjoy a tasty lunch on a sunny terrace during your ski break. The fantastic Hotel Rila will make your stay unforgettable (although you won’t forget the price either). If you’re on a budget, you’ll find cheaper accommodation in the town of Samokov, which is only 20 minutes away. In summer, Borovets is also the starting point of many wonderful hikes, such as the ascents of the Musala and Malyovitsa peaks. Have fun !

Practical info : To get to Borovets : First, you have to take a bus from Sofia (station “south”) to Samokov. Travel time : 1h10 early in the morning, rather 1h30 on the return with traffic. Cost : 6 leva per journey. To enjoy the day it is advisable to take the first start at 7:00am. After that, leave every half hour (schedule details). Once in Samokov you have to take another bus to Borovets, which runs every half hour. Do not rely on the schedules displayed at Samokov, which are incorrect! Cost : 1.40 leva per journey. Duration : about 20 minutes. A taxi for the same journey costs about 15 leva. Otherwise by car : 73 km and about 1 hour 20 minutes. Start of the ski lifts : 8:30am/End of the ski lifts : 4:30pm-5:00pm, depending on the lifts. Price of the day package : 55 leva. Prices of equipment rentals : about 25 leva the day for a pair of ski / snowboard + shoes. Lessons: 35 leva / 2 Hours. I like : scenic views, runs for all skill levels, many food options. Could be better : a direct bus from Sofia would be great !

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Some members of the Nitro Crew are at home in the cold. Others, including notable badasses of summertime sports are easily felled by ice and powder. Here are two times Nitro athletes braved the cold for some winter fun:

One of the best places in the U.S. to experience winter awesomeness is Utah, a state with geography to suit any action sport (an important reason why we picked Salt Lake City to host the Nitro World Games). After the Nitro tour touched down in Salt Lake City, the Crew took a day off to go snowboarding. When you’re riding with world-class snowboarders Brandon Schmidt and Ethen Roberts, you know you’re going to see sick jumps. But you have to give credit to snowboarding rookies for braving the same slopes and trying to stick some of the same tricks.

Curling isn’t a sport you would normally associate with Nitro Circus. It’s not exactly a sport that gets the adrenaline pumping. But when the crew gave it a try, they decided to add an extra element to make things more interesting — human curling.

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Roger Marolt

I don’t hate snowboarders. I hate snowboarding. This is not because I think they go too fast or make loud noises as they scrape snow off the ski runs or even because a few snowboarders cuss and smoke cigarettes in lift lines.

For me, it’s simpler than that; I think snowboarding set the evolution of winter sports back about three decades, and now I don’t think I will live to see simple adventurers snatch skiing back from wine sippers.

I came to this conclusion through experience at the time snowboarding was gaining fast popularity and the experts predicted it was going to revolutionize the snow-sport industry. A friend of mine, who was an instructor, gave me a free invite to participate in a three-day clinic that was guaranteed to “blow my mind.”

In the first hour of the clinic, I was admittedly an uncoordinated mess and could barely figure out which end of the board went in front. By noon, I discovered that the front and back of the board were completely irrelevant. By the third day, I was a bona-fide expert and I knew with certainty that I had gotten all I was ever going to get out of the sport.

I outlasted the sport. Yes, I may be old, but snowboarding is dead. How do I know? You don’t see kids riding them anymore. Snowboards may have been the first snow-carving tool, but modern skis came along and do it much better with far more versatility. Ask any 7-year-old which is better and you will instantly appreciate the stubbornness of the last of the snowboarders you see riding out into their looming midlife crises.

OK, you see a few tourist kids now and then on them, but you can blame that on the parents who told them that it was the cool thing to do and who garnered this information from watching the X Games on TV and still think that three-day infomercial during a mid-winter lull in the real sports world is a harbinger of hip trends. The main reason kids show up at the venue anymore is for the concerts after the events.

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The best part about Calgary being so close to the mountains is that we have a wide variety of great ski & snowboard resorts nearby. Take a peek – you might find your new favourite!

With the mountains so close, Calgarians are truly spoiled for choice when it comes to skiing and snowboarding. Whether you’re a devoted park rat, or prefer thigh-burning moguls, there are many choices within just a few hours drive from the city.

Lake Louise Ski Resort

Featuring 139 runs and 9 lifts, Lake Louise Ski Resort is the largest in Alberta. With a huge variety of terrain, skiers and snowboarders of all difficulties can test their skill in some of Canada’s best snow. With stunning scenery in every direction, the chairlift rides are almost as good as the skiing itself. Just a two hour drive from Calgary, Lake Louise Ski Resort is local – and international – favourite. As a speed-freak, one of my favourite runs at Louise is the World Cup Downhill on the front side of the mountain. This very fast run takes you all the way from the top of the Summit Platter to the base of the ski area. Each November, some of the world’s best skiers compete on this run in the Winterstart World Cup.

Sunshine Village

An enduring popular choice amongst Calgarians is Sunshine Village. Located just 20 minutes west of Banff, Sunshine features terrain fit for all levels, from fresh beginners to seasoned experts. For the daring and advanced riders, Sunshine has world-class terrain, like the appropriately named Delirium Dive. Due to its prime location on the Continental Divide, Sunshine gets more snow than any of the other resorts near Calgary. The three mountains (Goat’s Eye, Lookout and Standish) each present their own challenges to the avid skier or snowboarder. My personal favourite run at Sunshine is Wildfire, a steep blue on Goat’s Eye. A quick detour off the busy Sunshine Coast run, Wildfire is much a quieter and snowier slope. The turns are deep here even in the early season, and you often have them all to yourself.

Mount Norquay

Although smaller than Lake Louise or Sunshine, Mount Norquay packs no less a punch. The only Banff-area resort to feature night-skiing, Norquay is the perfect hill for a few laps after work. With ample beginner’s areas, and some of the toughest terrain in North America, Norquay has terrain for all levels. Located just a few minutes drive from the centre of Banff, Norquay is the closest of the Banff resorts to Calgary. A must-do for any advanced skier at Norquay is a trip up the North American double chair. The chair provides access to Norquay’s toughest terrain, including the infamous Lope Pine run. This double-black diamond run features almost endless thigh-burning moguls, and it is of the steepest lift-accessible runs I’ve ever done. A successful attempt of Lone Pine is rewarded with sore legs, and a well-deserved sense of accomplishment.

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From technical baselayers that look like tailored shirts to ski boot dryers that don’t need plugging in, visitors to this year’s Telegraph Ski & Snowboard Show can get a first look at a range of exciting new launches. Often the brains behind the kit are people who love skiing and snowboarding, inspired to create something different because they want it themselves.

The impetus for Red7SkiWear’s one-piece was reinvention. “It started as an idea for a Christmas present and developed from there,” says co-founder Naomi Hampton. “We liked one-pieces because they’re comfortable, and practical in deep snow, but couldn’t find one that worked for us.” Red7’s CG1 is soft yet waterproof four-way stretch material, with space underneath for layers and a fleece lining. Clever inner straps allow it to hang down the back, but not too low, stopping the jacket dragging on the floor of the bar. Show goers can sign up for a suit via Red7’s Kickstarter campaign. Full price is £350; the first 43 to pledge can get one for £199.

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Scandinavia is the new Japan for western skiers looking to up their travel ante and boasting rights and make some turns in Sweden, Norway and Finland. Lucky for you, Mint Tours have launched an 11 day Arctic Circle Road Trip powder tour that will have you salivating.

From March 17 to March 27, the team at Mint Tours will be taking a small group of skiers and boarders to the Nordic regions of Finland, Norway and Sweden. And you could be one of them.

Guided by Finnish locals who have been riding here for years, you’ll ride some legendary areas including challenging off-piste, incredible backcountry, and perfect free-riding terrain.

Add some unique husky and snowmobile safaris, try your luck at ice-fishing, head into the local backcountry to go snow surfing on Ilahu Boards and bask in the amazing natural beauty of the Arctic Circle and Northern Lights.

The ultimate highlight is a snow cat trip to Låktatjåkko Mountain Lodge, Sweden’s highest located Mountain Lodge, for an unforgettable overnight experience. This fully hosted tour includes private transportation, loaded up with local knowledge on all the ‘secret’ spots to shred.

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