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US Star Ted Ligety Compares Bulgaria’s Bansko to Aspen, Tijuana

1 March 2011

Two-time World Cup giant slalom champion Ted Ligety, the 2006 Olympic champion in the combined, has shared his experience of the Bulgaria’s Bansko ski resort with the Denver Post.
"This Bulgarian ski town is really different. It’s like a mix between Aspen and Tijuana.
You’ll be walking down the street and there will be a five-star hotel next to a shantylike line of shops selling dinky stuff just like in Tijuana.

There will be 15 shops in a row, all selling low-end goggles and gloves in tiny booths. Then there will be a nice ski shop, or a place that sells leather jackets, fur coats or Rolex watches.

Then there’s a bunch more shanty-esque shops, followed by a beautiful, huge hotel. Then there’s a building right next to it that looks like it was abandoned when it was halfway finished.

The ski area itself is really cool. It’s a really long gondola ride to get up to the main skiing area, but there’s a lot of vertical. The race hill is pretty good, and there’s really good skiing off to the sides in the backcountry.

The day before we got here, there was an avalanche longer than a kilometer. When you have a kilometer-long avalanche, that’s pretty good terrain.

Bulgaria has only one racer on the tour, Georgi Georgiev, and he’s near the bottom of the standings, but there was a good crowd for the races.

You wouldn’t think a Bulgarian ski racing crowd would be all that knowledgeable, but I was recognized here more than at any other race. Sometimes, fans in Europe see the U.S. Ski Team jacket and say, "Bode Miller!" In Bansko, I’d be walking down the street, not wearing a team jacket, and people would recognize me left and right. Walking through crowds to get on the lift, I was barraged for autographs and photos. They knew who I was."

Ligety matched his career best Audi FIS Alpine World Cup super combined result with fourth Saturday as the men’s World Cup made its debut at Bansko.


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