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PYRENEES 2017-18

 Poster: A snowHead
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Was in Baqueria Wednesday - Saturday, the drive up from Barcelona wasn't as bad as feared, even made it without chains. Arrived fearing the worst with the forecast showing rain, but instead Friday and Saturday were glorious sunshine with a bit of new snow each morning to freshen things up, there was even some great off piste snow around La Peulla in Bonaigua, great weekend..
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I have been in Soldeu since Sunday and have had snow, wind, clouds and bright sunshine often within an hour...
Today started with bright blue skies and a few cm of snow had fallen overnight. I was very lucky to meet up with @ysb33r, and had a wonderful couple of hours skiing with him finding some interesting areas of the edge of the piste.
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Was hot yesterday in Baqueria.

This morning looks like some fresh snow overnight in vielha so would assume more on mountain.
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From the west end of the Pyrenees I can report that Artouste had 20cm of dry fluffy powder and blue skies most of today! Had the chance to ski a bit of it in my lunch break and it was super. The main freeride area has been closed today as avalanche control affected a lift and the pistes so if you are looking for some fresh lines tomorrow head west!!
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Orange200 wrote:
Well, assuming my assumption above was correct (weather from Lisbon travels east), I'll tell you that Lisbon is expecting rain for the next week, after having it for the last week.


Wow... and for all next week too...!

My local bunny slope (La Covatilla in Bejar near Salamanca) has a depth of over 2m now, but no-one can get to it as it keeps closing due to high winds!
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3 excellent days in Baqueira. The forecast had been all doom and gloom, but each day the sun came out and we had excellent skiing across all 3 areas.

Yesterday was fresh tracks all over Beret, but the temperature rose sharply throughout the day and the snow became quite heavy. The run down for the end of day drink at the 1500 bar had turned into slushy bumps.

The forecast is for a much warmer period so anything that falls is likely to be rain.
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Feels like summer is coming in Barcelona, the heating has been turned off !

Hopefully one more big dump of snow for the Pyrenees before the end of March...
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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!
Baqueira was a bit wet and sticky today. Made for some interesting conditions for our last day
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P*ssing with rain in Grand Tourmalet this afternoon. Many lifts closed due to avalanche danger.
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Not surprisingly as large avalanche in Bareges yesterday.
https://www.ladepeche.fr/article/2018/03/09/2756528-grosse-avalanche-a-bareges-aucune-victime-a-deplorer.html
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Very windy and icy up top in St Lary though there was a sweet spot between 1700 and 2100 of soft snow out of the wind. Some lifts shut due to wind and runs closed due to the persistent avi danger.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
We had a very odd, but also unexpectedly fun, weekend in Andorra this weekend. We arrived in Soldeu on Friday night to light rain and rising temps which were thawing all the snow. Nevertheless, Saturday morning was sunny and fun in a heavy wet-snow kind of way; the pistes in particular weren't in bad nick at all, and the poor forecast meant that the resort was much quieter than usual.

Saturday night it pissed down with rain in the resort, but the temperatures dropped steadily through the night. The precipitation clearly fell as snow higher up because as soon as the cloud lifted sufficiently on Sunday I spent most of the day getting fresh tracks in the El Tarter sector Cool

More snow is forecast this week, although due to family commitments I suspect it was the last weekend of the season for me. Still, it's been a good one, and it was a great day to finish!
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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
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Any idea how it's looking in Ax? I'm wondering if they might extend the season beyond the 2nd April?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
iainm wrote:
Any idea how it's looking in Ax? I'm wondering if they might extend the season beyond the 2nd April?


Might be going this weekend so will let you know, some big snow showing up on the long term forecasts now...
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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I was in Ax yesterday. Snow coverage is still pretty good.

Hard in the morning and soft in the afternoon as you'd expect.
Looped the new Savis II lift a few times and the snow coverage the worst in the whole resort on the Carroutch run.
Off piste there was some good spring snow if you followed the sun.

Looking like a bit of a storm heading in at the end of the week, but Snowforecast doesn't seem to have been too accurate the last few weeks.

If you're coming in from/or heading back to Toulouse be careful as on the way home yesterday there was a Gendarme in full camouflage gear up a tree with his speed camera !!!! Obviously, the applies to people heading to Andorra too.
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Keep the reports coming peeps... I'm now glued to this and the general weather thread...Arrive in Arinsal on the 25th NehNeh
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Looks like heavy snow tomorrow down to 800metres, Sunday could be good!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
iainm wrote:
Any idea how it's looking in Ax? I'm wondering if they might extend the season beyond the 2nd April?


I was in Ax last week and had an amazing time. Nice bit of fresh snow early in the week, and generally good cover all over. I intend to write a TR at some point, but haven't got around to it yet.

Loved the resort - good terrain and a really nice little town.
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Sorry I keep missing everyone in Baqueira these last couple of weeks; too much work and not enough snow time, unfortunately. But finally I have time to upload some photos from this month. They make it look like it's a sun-fest all the time, but the reality is quite the opposite! If nothing else, though, I do at least get to choose which hour a week I manage to get up to the mountain! Confused Very Happy










Bear tracks crossing hare tracks! The reintroduction of bears into the central Pyrenees is working well it seems, although it must have been hungry to be up and about at this time of year. (Happily that didn't cross my mind when I spotted these, since for some reason I thought that they were nocturnal!) A special prize for anyone who can explain why the bear seems to be bipedal though (although from the movies and cartoons we know they can be!). Seems like an highly unlikely find. Puzzled Yet everyone I've shown the photo to so far has immediately said that it is indeed bear.

The weather doesn't show any signs of letting up; there was fresh snow on several of the last days, with more to come. The ambient temperature is beginning to feel more spring-like, and of course it's not getting dark until 7:30 now... but there are still plenty of surprisingly-long cold snaps. It continues to be a very unusual winter. Still, the wildlife carries on as normal, not least in my valley where the climate is so much milder than on the Baqueira side:


The foaling season has already started here.

To second what ysb33r said, I also read that Arcalís will try to open until May 1st (like Masella); it's part of the new policy being followed by Joan Viladomat, primary shareholder of the company which runs the Pas de la Casa - Grau Roig side of the Grandvalira resort in Andorra. He's effectively now the primary shareholder of Arcalís as well, although the paperwork is still to be signed. For more about this saga, see here.

On the other hand, I can't see Baqueira extending the season. For all that there's plenty of snow and some great wintery conditions, it's not quite a repeat of 5 years ago, and I don't think they had all that much financial success from the impromptu extension that they did that season anyway - no matter how much us season pass holders enjoyed it. In any case, the snowshoeing and ski touring season will be really fantastic in April!
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Excellent skiing in Grandvalira this weekend and with 20cm of fresh yesterday being the highlight.
Fresh tracks all over the mountain and with the sun coming out mid morning it turned into one of the days of the season.

More snow forecast this week so more good skiing to come.
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mortonia wrote:
Excellent skiing in Grandvalira this weekend and with 20cm of fresh yesterday being the highlight.
Fresh tracks all over the mountain and with the sun coming out mid morning it turned into one of the days of the season.

More snow forecast this week so more good skiing to come.


Good stuff.... 5 days and counting for me Very Happy
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Snowed in the hills behind Barcelona last night, woke up to this

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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@mrvinegar, fresh tracks across the terrace!
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Hi all, so given the great conditions I have managed to 'negotiate' two more days of skiing this winter Smile - one of which is this saturday.

I am doing a day-trip from Barcelona and would like to go somewhere other than the usual Andorra or La Molina/Masella, and try somewhere I haven't been before. Bear in mind that what I value the most is decent off-piste. My ideas so far are:

- Les Angles: One of the largest Neiges Catalanes resort. Has a large freeride area. Friends have said it's good. 2.5hrs with tolls, 3hrs without.

- Ax-les-Thermes: Very positive reviews from more than one person on here. Although its lower in altitude the snow quality and current low temps at the moment makes this irrelevant. Long and/or expensive for a day trip though: 2.45hrs drive with tolls, 3.5 without.

- Porte-Puymorens: The closest of the neige catalanes resort (just over 2hrs with tolls, 2.5 without). Small but has some interesting freeride options. Maybe better as an afternoon hit, rather than for a full day.

Discarded: Font-Romeu, Port del Compte, anywhere in Andorra (been before), Boi-Taull (too far), Vallter-2000 (not big/interesting enough)

Currently the front runner is Les Angles, with Ax nipping at the heels. Any opinions?
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Les Angles is nice, some good between the trees ski-ing, the only thing I didn't like was the drag lift to get to the higher areas, bit of a pain on a board.

Last time I was in Ax parking was difficult near the Telecabina, but you can always drive up-to Bonascre and skip the Telecabina journey.

FYI: Going to AX means an extra toll going through Puymorens tunnel...

I'm thinking of going up Sunday, but keeping an eye on the forecast as there might be too much snow!
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Yesterday was one of those days when the stars just align for a truly unforgettable day.

It could have been a complete disaster having booked a guide for the day and waking up to 50kph winds and 4/5 avalanche risk.
Many resorts were partially closed.

However, having chosen to ski in Ax I ended up having a day where I could have been in an Canadian Heli skiing movie !
30-40cm of light fluffy powder and a guide who knew all the secret glades and chutes through the forest above Ax made for the day of the season.



More snow due over the weekend, but slightly higher temperatures means it won’t be quite as light and fluffy.

This season as got better and better, shame for it to end soon !
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
What's the current view on likely touring conditions towards the end of April, probably in the Baqueira area ? I'm guessing there us no shortage of snow.
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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
Anyone out in the Vallnord area that can give some local weather reports from weekend onwards? Never trust snow-forecast but they are given warm temperatures from Monday/Tuesday with Freeze Levels above 2500 meters and possible rain Crying or Very sad

We arrive on Sunday

Cheers
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@AlunAlun, Have you considered Baqueira ?
@AndAnotherThing.., Very positive. People talking about touring well into May.
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Le Mourtis (Boutx) was pretty good today.

Firm on piste, relatively loose off piste. Very good coverage, apart from a couple of windswept parts of an upper red run.

Only open for a couple more days.
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mortonia, looks really, really great. But also doesn't surprise me; my one day in Ax left me with a very good taste in the mouth. I still say that, although small, the place has the potential to be a realistic season-long destination for people looking for intermediate-level off-piste. As for your ski day, often the idea of a guide tends to lead us to imagine lofty aims in extreme environments, but it seems to me that one can get more than good value for money simply skiing the secret spots in a great area with somebody who knows it inside out.

mrvinegar, wow! Where is that, more or less? It's been eight or so years since I last saw such a decent snowfall near to Barcelona.

AlunAlun, if it's cold, Les Angles. If it's not, Ax. Although if Porté has the bus running from the road (serving the Balade off-piste run) then it's a serious contender too; I concur that it's usually a half-day resort, but if the snow is fresh and cold then it's a genuine option.

AndAnotherThing... conditions should be spectacular. Personally, I expect there to be options for touring or snowshoeing until well into early summer.
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And as for these last few days in the central Pyrenees: spectacular! Sunday was an absolutely classic tree day in Port Ainé (a curious mix of the best tree-skiing resort that I know of, and one of - if not the, best beginners' areas in the Pyrenees). Followed by a couple of days of storm (just in case we were daring to think that spring might appear), and then yesterday with all western Catalan resorts shut due to the extreme wind, including the Bonaigua sector of Baqueira (making that resort also effectively shut from the prespective of those of us who live on the other side from the Val d'Aran), a great snowshoeing day in the more sheltered side-valleys. And today, the stuff of legend in Baqueira... it's been a fair old while since I last did a 9-to-5 eat-on-the-lifts day, but today was one of them. Deep powder, relatively safe, beautiful sunshine, very cold... what more could we ask for? It was one of the very best days of the season. March never disappoints in the Pyrenees!
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mrvinegar, wow! Where is that, more or less? It's been eight or so years since I last saw such a decent snowfall near to Barcelona.

Vallvidrera / Les Planes. 12cm of snow! 2nd highest total in the last 100 years apparently...
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@mortonia, @Pyremaniac, Cheers. Tempting...
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Saturday is going to be a day of snow and wind, Sunday seems pretty clear http://meteomuntanya.cat/prediccio_muntanya/
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Pyremaniac wrote:
And as for these last few days in the central Pyrenees: spectacular! Sunday was an absolutely classic tree day in Port Ainé (a curious mix of the best tree-skiing resort that I know of, and one of - if not the, best beginners' areas in the Pyrenees).


Looks magic

http://www.portaine.cat/en/winter/
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Mike Pow, yeah, the snowpark picture on the homepage (the third of the four rotating main images) gives an idea, as does Image 46 in the gallery; although neither do it full justice. The Google Maps satellite view[1] probably shows it best! With tree skiing, so much depends on the spacing between the trees, and Port Ainé has it almost perfect, with endless back-to-lift and roadside lines. That and the fact that when it snows the powder in the trees is always excellent. And then it has really the most beautiful long easy green that I know of, that winds its way from the 360-degree panoramic mountain top down through the trees to the base station, plus some easy blues which do something similar, for good progression. Which other resorts have a green starting at the exit of the top lift? Only Font Romeu, that I can think of in the Pyrenees. Whenever I'm based for skiing at Baqueira, I almost always take any beginners who are visiting me to Port Ainé instead, whose other great benefit for beginners is that the whole place is just one large bowl in which everything feeds back to the base station, giving a very safe feeling for beginners, families with young kids, etc. Baqueira also has some decent beginner runs, albeit less beautiful in themselves; but the price of the lift ticket doesn't offer such good value for money for beginners in my opinion.

Other great tree-skiing options in the Pyrenees are Pal and Arcalís in Andorra, where there are far fewer lines but more sustained steepness on those lines.

[1] https://www.google.es/maps/place/Port+Ain%C3%A9/@42.4194867,1.2021155,4573m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x12a6077d1341df2f:0xe534f8cffbcd9e3f!8m2!3d42.4280044!4d1.2123776!5m1!1e4
[copy-paste it rather than click it, since the sH website doesn't seem to be smart enough to parse it properly]


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Sat 24-03-18 10:23; edited 2 times in total
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That's not too far from Baqueira ?
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All the publicly-owned resorts in Catalonia have announced that they are extending the season to the 8th of April, which seems like the minimum one might hope for. Baqueira don't seem to be shifting from that date either. Several small resorts in the Cantabrian range of northern Spain have extended to late April (the tiny local economy in those places is heavily reliant on the ski resorts, and I can imagine that the hoteliers etc are desperate to squeeze as much value out of the season as possible; the fact that these are tiny areas is probably a benefit in that sense, since whereas the politics and admin of extending the season in large resorts is huge, in the small places it probably requires little more than a nod from the mayor and the local representative of the Environment Department).

Arcalís and Masella will open until May, although there's a rumour that either - and especially Masella - will try to go even further! Massella will no doubt be hoping that they can reach the 8th, so that they can publicise a 6-month winter season, just as they achieved 5 years ago. Is this the longest lift-served unbroken winter season in Europe?
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AndAnotherThing.. wrote:
That's not too far from Baqueira ?

Not if you live in the Valls d'Ŕneu on the other side of the Bonaigua Pass from the Val d'Aran... I have Baqueira 15 minutes away and Port Ainé 40 minutes away.
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