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PYRENEES 2016/17

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
The first significant autumn snowfall has arrived this weekend... Arcalís (Andorra) is hoping to open for weekends in a couple of weeks' time!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Well the snow is arriving up top further west in the Pyrenees as well! Earliest opening around here is La Pierre St Martin around the 3rd December. In the meantime I best get some skins ordered!
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We had a break in the snow to pop up to the Tourmalet with the children to see how its progressing. A good 10cms and -3 at 2100m, not a bad start! Grand Tourmalet (Bareges, La Mongie and Pic du Midi), is opening at the end of November with a couple of new lifts and pistes this year.

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i wonder if this warm patch has derailed any plans for early opening in the western pyrenees?
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I think it might have. The chatter has gone quiet over the last couple of days.

Fingers crossed for the promising weather forecasts for next week though.
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http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Bareges/6day/mid

looking full on this week. early opening looks on the cards surely.....
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Well it's raining hard in the valley d'ossau which can only mean good things higher up!!!!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
anyone hear of any openings in the western pyrenees this weekend?
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I don't know about the western Pyrenees, but on the eastern side Masella once again gets the crown and will surely have the longest season in the Pyrenees; it opens tomorrow!

Looking at various webcams across the entire range, there certainly looks to be plenty to ski above 2000m. Let's see who else opens this weekend.
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La Pierre St Martin is looking at the third and Gourette are hoping for the same date as well now having previously looked at the 10th. Artouste will be around the 17th if memory serves.
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Various resorts in the eastern and central Pyrenees were open today: Baqueira opened parts of Cara Nord, Grandvalira parts of Pas de la Casa, and Vallter and La Molina both opened the odd piste.

The news for La Molina this season is particularly interesting, and it indicates a significant shift in policy from FGC (Catalonia's public rail company which has ended up responsible for all manner of Catalan outdoor leisure offerings to try to keep them financially above water). They seem to have finally conceded that La Molina, for all its historical importance, is not in fact in the same league as Baqueira - frankly IMO it's not even in the same league as its lift-linked neighbour Masella - and they've significantly reduced the price of the season pass and added in a range of much better day prices for the under-25s, along with several other decent reductions including on the day pass. These price drops made it hard work to negotiate the joint Alp2500 day and season pass with Masella, but they managed to pull that out of the hat just in time for opening day.

Hopefully that will help to stem the tide of Barcelona skiers who give La Molina a miss and carry on straight up to the ever-more-expensive Grandvalira or to the French Pyrenees which are very competitive this year. Porté Puymorens in particular is offering a great day price and even paying for the Cadí tunnel toll under certain conditions.

La Molina's new prices seem much more in line with what the resort actually offers, to my mind. Also, for their usual €10 opening day offer they've foregone the traditional 100m of green piste, and instead opened the gondola and subsequent drag so that there's a couple of hundred metres of high-altitude easy blue instead, which seems a lot more interesting.

Meanwhile, Masella pulled out all the stops with their spectacular snowmaking facilities and managed to open the full 935m vertical descent today!

The most promising resort right now, though, isn't even opening until next weekend: Boí-Taüll benefitted the most from the recent snowfall which seemed to largely come on a southerly (so I guess Cerler also got something from it) and it has up to 1.5m up top!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Opening dates for ski resorts in the Pyrenees - http://www.meteopyrenees.org/single-post/2016/11/29/POINT-SUR-LES-OUVERTURES
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On the Spanish side (plus Andorra), almost everywhere will be trying to open this weekend, as the Spanish early December bank holiday rolls around once more. Resorts which benefit from southerlies, most notably Boí-Taüll and Cerler, are looking particularly good, with up to 1.5 metres at the highest point. Not much precipitation on the radar at the moment, but decent enough temperatures so the snowmaking will be doing its thing.
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Grandvalira opening 147km of slopes for the weekend.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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Yep, I think that makes them the resort with the most skiable kilometers in Europe this weekend.

Boí-Taüll will open for free on Friday, with 40 of its 47 pistes available!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Any update on conditions or expected snow fall?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
What snow there is (decent above 2100m; at lower altitudes, not so much) is holding up well, and Grandvalira, Boí-Taüll and Cerler in particular are in good shape. There's not much on the horizon though, save for a possible dusting on Friday evening.

I seems that it was a satisfactory-to-good bank holiday period (which this year was a 9-day stretch punctuated by just 3 working days!). Financially, an improvement on last season - so the resorts must be happy so far. Boí-Taüll in particular has had a great start; apparently they had more skiiers during that week than in the whole of December last year. What a difference it makes to them (and Cerler) when the storms are southerlies instead of the more usual northerlies...


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Sun 18-12-16 13:52; edited 1 time in total
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
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Resorts in the French Pyrenees opening despite the lack of snow -
http://france3-regions.blog.francetvinfo.fr/pyrenees/2016/12/15/les-stations-de-ski-ouvrent-ce-week-end-malgre-le-manque-de-neige.html

We're heading to the Grandvalira as that seems to have the most skiing.
Will of course report once we've had a ski.
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The central Pyrenees are still bathed in sunshine with clear blue sky. The snowline is effectively around 2000 metres however on northerly slopes is is lower. The snow cannons have been running and certainly with the forecast period of cold weather they should be running full tilt for a good few days. There is the possibility of some snow midweek, with the Christmas week looking uncertain.

Quick update on our resorts:

Luchon-Superbagneres: Delayed opening
Peyragudes: Opens today with 32 pistes open. Access and return via chairlifts to 3 sectors, no runs down to the resorts bases
Baqueira - Beret: 48 pistes open (74km) with 24 lifts running.

Fingers and everything else crossed for next week Very Happy Very Happy
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The big news from yesterdays’s trip to the GrandValira was the first use of the Ax-les-Thermes by-pass. On a good day the new road probably saves around 10 mins, but on a busy day it will provide much reduced blood pressure, not having to navigate the junctions in the town centre. The OH also pointed out that it will save money as we no longer pass Telemark Pyrenees (https://www.telemark-pyrenees.com). No more popping in for that essential nicknack and coming out with armfuls of kit !

Driving up to Andorra the snow level was the highest I’ve ever seen it on a ski trip. However, arriving in Pas all the lifts seemed to be running and the piste covered in snow. Heading up to ski we decided to head for the sun and ended up skiing all the way across the area into the Canillo sector stopping for a coffee at El Forn. The snow conditions on all the open piste was remarkably good considering the lack of snow fall over the last few weeks. Anything open and lower down were runs covered by the extensive snow cannon network.



We then skied around the El Tarter and Soldeu sectors and again on all the open runs the snow condition were good. The odd icy and bare patches, but easily avoided. Even skiing down for a quick lunch stop right at the bottom of El Tarter, the snow was holding up well on the two runs open to get you there.



Heading back over to Pas the best snow was definitely found at altitude with the reds coming down to Grau Roig and back into Pas.



All in all a much better than expected first day, probably helped by the clear blue skies. The whole area was quiet and we skied straight onto every lift and had many pistes to ourselves.

Snow is forecast of next week across the whole range. Which is good as next stop is Baqueira for us at New Year. We skied with people who had been there last weekend and they commented how much better the snow was in Andorra !
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Arrived for our honeymoon in El Tarter today, had a couple of runs and was very impressed when nothing serious has fallen in weeks. Even most of the resort runs looking good.

First time here and first time in a big resort for 15 years, can't wait to get properly up the mountain tomorrow.

Another bonus, asked for twin-tips at the hire and got a brand never been skied before pair. (One goal for this trip be is be adle to ride switch properly, not just be ok practising at the bottom of a blue/green slope.)
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Whagwan, congratulations!

Boí-Taüll is opening pretty much everything this weekend. It's their best early season for years. Cerler and Masella will also have most runs open, and indeed Masella received 20cm more snow yesterday.
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Not good in Baqueria witnessed them helicoptering snow up the mountain to patch worn pistes. White ribbons on green pastures.
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@mortonia Yikes!

Still nothing forecast in the Pyrenees for a while, looks like I'll be waiting a few weeks for my first ride of the season...
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Yeah, not much to write about at the moment Confused

Looks like the weather may break in just under a couple of weeks' time. If I were based in resort this year I'm sure I'd be enjoying it all the same, but at the moment I'd rather save the cash and the time for better conditions - although I keep being tempted by a trip up to Boí!
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Definitely the case of making the best of poor conditions and a big congratulations to Baqueira for keeping as much open as they have.
As it hasn’t snowed in weeks there is a lot of work going on to ensure there is skiing in all 3 of the areas and it’s possible to ski between them. Has mentioned before even helicoptering snow up !



The central Baqueira area has the most skiing with the best coverage. Skiing is possible all the way down to 1500, just. You can ski from the Cap to Bar Baqueira giving you 1000m of descent.



Piste here were busy with ski schools, but thinned out as you moved away form the central area.

Over in Beret skiing is limited to runs supported by the snow cannons, all of the higher lifts are closed due to the lack of snow.





Similarly, in Bonaigua the only run open is the longish blue, but the tapas is still excellent.

No snow forecast and current conditions can be described as rock hard. Coverage is ok, only the occasional bare patch or stone, more frequently ice to be negotiated.
Edges and care needed to avoid a hard landing !
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
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Ouch! A shame to see it looking like that, but that's the way the cookie crumbles. It's been a few years since the early season snow came from southerlies, and I'm delighted for Boí and Cerler that they've finally been the resorts at the top of the pile, instead of pulling up the rear and looking enviously at all the snow in Baqueira (which relies on the much more frequent northerlies). Bear in mind that the three resorts are a mere valley or two apart.

The interesting one is Grandvalira in Andorra: it doesn't seem to matter all that much which direction the storms come from. I know it's spread out over multiple orientations, but that can be said of other resorts (including Baqueira) and yet they don't have quite as much flexibility. The quirks of how the geography and the weather interact, it seems. Like houses, it's location, location, location!

Anyway, I fully hope that by the end of the month we'll have forgotten what the problem was snowHead
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Looks like 40-50cms on the way for Sunday
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You know it makes sense.
The forecasts are looking good for Andorra this week
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Indeed, the weather has broken earlier than expected! There may be up to 48 hours of snowfall between now and the weekend, with plenty more on the horizon after that. The French Pyrenees in particular will be breathing a huge sigh of relief. (Of course France in general has had a nightmare start to the season this year.)

In the Spanish Pyrenees, the holiday season has been surprisingly profitable in general. Masella, Boí and the Aramón-branded resorts in Aragón have all done very well. It's amazing to think that their last proper snowfall was in November! It doesn't seem to matter what the webcams look like; at Christmas and new year, people want to ski. And what with the amazing snowmaking and piste-preparation in the Pyrenees - not to mention the avalanche control in snowier times - the Goldilocks zone for ski resort profitability is getting wider. There's skiing left in the Pyrenees for a fair few more years, I suspect.

The big loser on the Spanish side has been Baqueira... but Baqueira is Baqueira, and although it was their worst season start for years, they always get by thanks to their loyal following. I'm told that the Vall d'Aran was heaving even if may people didn't bother with the skiing, and so the money was still flowing in to the local businesses.

On the opposite end of the scale, Sierra Nevada came close to breaking records for km open and skier numbers! Yet again it has turned out to be one of the best options in Europe in these funny times.


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Tue 10-01-17 21:07; edited 1 time in total
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Ski club forecast more than a metre over the next 48 hrs for Baqueira !!. I know they tend to be a little optimistic but that should get things up and running.
I have an off piste week on hold which I have to commit to by end of week, is there anyone out there to confirm how thing look in a few days ?
Be much appreciated .
Dave

eta forecast now 60cms,
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@scarbski, is this the local ski club forecasting this?
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Ski club GB so must be true rolling eyes
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Ah, I see - big difference Toofy Grin
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The forecast is getting better and better. By Tuesday, which now looks like it might be the first sunny day, there will have fallen at least 60cm I would guess, and I wouldn't be surprised if it were more. (Though I confess to knowing nothing about how they predict the intensity of snowfall! The various forecasting sites that I use are all coinciding on an extended period of precipitation though.)

And.. it's out in fantasy land at the moment, being two weeks distant, but there may, may be some really epic snowfall near the end of the month.

I'm going to be in the mountains from Friday night for a week (though not necessarily skiing every day). First stop will probably be Benasque for Cerler, to enjoy the great weekend atmosphere there. Then, Baqueira on Tuesday and Wednesday currently looks like a good plan. Finally I'll be able to put some photos up here! snowHead
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Yup looks good!

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Holy moley, looks like Saturday's going to call for some of those hand warmer thingies!
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Almost all of the Catalan resorts have reported on their results from the holiday season now, and it's great news all round: an improvement on last year - in some cases, a huge one - across the board. It's the same story for the Amdorran resorts. Grandvalira mopped up a lot of Fench skiers who were put off by the poor conditions in the French Pyrenees, and Vallnord also did very well, with Arcalís repeating its excellent numbers from last year, thus making it ever more viable; hopely we'll hear no more in the short term about shutting it down.

You don't need lots of snow, it seems... you merely need just enough.

Oh, and it's snowing in Vielha at the moment snowHead
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That is good to know, a friend of mine was in Soldeu over Christmas and he said there were no queues at all. So it's reassuring that they did get the numbers and that the mountain even with reduced runs could absorb them all.
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Baqueira web cams are showing white at last, anyone know how much snow actually fell ?

Looking like another dump on way for end of week as well, fingers crossed. snowHead

Any local info be much appreciated thanks.
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