About Doncho

“Doncho Invitational” is a freeride riders meeting, that is being held annually in the region of “Donchovi Karauli” above hut “Vihren” in the Bulgarian mountain Pirin. The meeting gathers passionate freeride skiers and snowboarders who also share their love for the winter mountain. The terrain where the event happens offers interesting features not only for pro-riders but also for beginners – steep hills and technical lines, short couloirs, and other natural features for backcountry jumps. One thing that makes “Doncho Invitational” is that the event is held deep in the mountain, where the beauty of nature is untouched by ski resorts, thus the riders have to reach the hut and later the face of the event by foot and in that way earn their line.

The idea of the event is for friends from here and there to meet up and ride together while giving their best without the unnecessary pressure of official competition.  During the event are held the traditional competitive categories – man/woman/junior ski and snowboard. The event goes on for two days dedicated to two different disciplines – “Big Mountain Freeride” and “Free Slope Style”. In accordance with the snow condition, two different faces are chosen for each day and they are being secured by the professional mountain rescue team.

“Doncho Invitational” is not a competition with judges or string regulations, rather it is a free-spirited event where the riders themselves choose the best of the day. There is no classical ranking on a podium but the prizes are for “best line”, “best run”, “biggest drop”, “the best trick”, “the youngest rider”, “freeride legend”, etc. The runs of each rider are being videotaped later played for the riders when each rider has the opportunity to give his vote for his personal favorite. Later the votes are counted and the prizes are given in accordance.

Transport Open Map

STEP 1 Reaching the hut
Parking at drag lift "Stara Kotva" (by car) - 
The starting point of the walk up is located in the Bansko ski area. To get there you drive from Bansko to Shiligarnika, and then you turn right after the barrier. before you reach Shiligarnika. The distance is about 14km. From 07:00 to 16:30h there is an one time parking fee of 12 leva collected by the ski area. 
STEP 2 Reaching the hut
Vihren hut (by foot) - 
The path to Vihren hut starts at the parking lot at "Stara Kotva".
From there you start walking, you cross 3 ski slopes - Kolarski #1, Tomba #9 and Tomba #9A). After that you will enter the Banderishka valley.
The time to get there is 1h - 1:30h and it's about 5km.
You can walk on foot or with skiis.
Please follow the road to the hut only on the way shown on the map.
Reaching the event:  "Doncho kani" slopes (by foot)
The distance from the hut to the place of the event is about 1.5km and 1:30h of walking.
Please follow the marked flags and instructions from the team.

Terms for participation

Who can participate in “Doncho Invitational”
In the event can participate anyone in good physical condition, who is registered beforehand online, has paid the participation fee and signed the declaration of liability (for minors – under 18 years, the declaration should be signed by the parent at the event or presented with the parents signature and notarized)

How to sign up for the event?
The registration is done solely online via a registration form at the website doncho.org (there will be no registration at hut “Vihren”). Part of the fee will be paid via direct bank transfer, the information for which will be found on the registration form along with a unique number which will be later used as your starting number. The rest of the fee will be paid at the hut upon signing the declaration of liability.
While filling the registration form you will be asked for your ID number. This will be used ONLY for issuing an insurance policy for you, which is obligatory. The organizers of “Doncho Invitational” are not to be held liable if the information provided is incorrect.

What is included in the fee?
Participation in “Doncho Invitational 2019”
Obligatory insurance policy for the days of the event that covers rescue and primary medical care.

What gear is obligatory?
Each rider is required to have the following working equipment:
Avalanche beacon
Back protector (separate from backpack)
*Riders without the necessary equipment will not be allowed to participate
**If you are having trouble with getting the equipment, please contact us and will try and help you out.

What is a technical conference?
At the technical conference, you will be informed about the face, chosen for the event, the snow conditions, avalanche danger, the starting order of the categories and other detail regarding the event. Every rider is required to be present at this conference. There are two such conferences, respectively for “Big Mountain Freeride” and “Free Slope Style” and they are held the night before the respective discipline. 

How to get to the start?
Each rider walks up to the starting point and is required to follow the marked path and any additional instructions given by the rescue team.

How many lines are being used for the ranking process?
Free Slope Style – The rider can perform multiple runs, however, they have to choose only one to be used at the video ranking.
Big Mountain Freeride – Each rider can perform only one run. There is the possibility for multiple runs but this would be specified at the technical conference.

What are the criteria’s for the ranking?
During the two days, all runs are being shot on video. During the video projection after, the riders vote by writing the number of the rider, who performed best according to them. Later the votes are counted and the ranking is done in the different categories. 

Rules for using photo and video material from the event
Photos with low resolution will be uploaded on Facebook and our website.
Please always give credit to the photographer/camera operator under each photo/video you use. You can find this information under each photo or on the page on our website where we publish the materials.

The usage of photo/video material with commercial purposes is forbidden. If you want to use them with a commercial purpose, please contact us via contact@doncho.org.

Photos with high resolution are free ONLY for editorial use.
Please always give credit to the photographer/camera operator under each photo/video you use in your editorial materials.