Ski area Mechi Chal
Originally started out as the first Bulgarian recreation center, built because of the exquisite local climate conditions in 1937, Chepelare today is a cozy, small resort town, popular as the ‘Green Heart of Bulgaria’. The main sport center Mechi Chal is less than a mile near the town and is named after the Mechi Chal peak (1873m/6,145 ft) where the runs of the ski area start and in whose base the sports center is situated.
Chepelare has decades of history and traditions as a winter sports center and manufacturer of ski and snowboard. Its nickname “the winter Olympics capitol of Bulgaria” is due to the fact that many of the best winter sports stars and champions started from here – alpine skiing, ski running, ski jumps, biathlon and snowboard medalists and athletes. The town is a birthplace of the only (at the moment) Bulgarian champion to win the winter Olympics – the biathlete Ekaterina Dafovska, golden medalist from the winter Olympics in Japan, Nagano 1998 and the Snowboard World Cup winner (Men's parallel and giant slalom) for 2016 - Radoslav Yankov.
Ski area Mechi Chal has approximately 20 ski tracks and runs with various levels of difficulty, that are to be additionally developed and categorized in order to cover the international standards in the next couple of years. Long-term project for the area focus on the ski area development with new tracks, existing runs development, overall cultivation and marking according to the European standards and also the construction of a finish line, to host international competitions and large groups of guests. The ski area is suitable for biathlon, ski running and snowboard.
For the coming ski season, one of the longest ski runs for alpine skiing in Bulgaria (the ski run for advanced skiers “Mechi Chal 1”) is in development; the run has all necessary qualities to operate as a premium class run to host world rank competitions. In the ski area project plan for the coming years, major role holds the development of one of the longest ski runs in Bulgaria for advanced skiers – about 6km long, as well as a more difficult run for deep snow and freeride with 1.2km length. A new powerful and modern artificial snow system to provide snow for the main trails and runs is in progress.
Winter sports enthusiasts can use a modern 4-seat chairlift of the French company “Pomagalski” with capacity of 2,000/ hr. The 2700m (1.7mi) distance from the base to the top of the ski center Mechi Chal takes only 9 minutes ride. The access system for the area is secured by the Austrian company AXESS – fast and reliable enough to reduce large lines and queues during the rush hours.