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PYRENEES 2017-18

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Pyremaniac wrote:

As for escaping the crowds, this is my valley on the other side of the Port de la Bonaigua (affectionately known as Africa, due to being on the other side of a weather frontier that runs across the pass, meaning that it hardly ever snows on this side and all the precipitation instead falls in Baqueira... it's no accident that they put a ski resort there wink. Well this year it's already snowed heavily in the villages at least four times!):



Is this the side that they keep on talking about when they want to expand the domain?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Was in Baqueria Thursday - Sunday. Was surprisingly empty on Saturday as everyone had left after the Reyes holidays. Snow was Ok, off piste mostly destroyed by the rain as others have pointed out...

One thing I wasn't aware of, there is a "debutant" ski pass which only covers the Beret zone, it's about 30% cheaper, for anyone learning it's a great option as Beret is nice and quiet, the learning areas in Baqueria were packed.

Leaving the valley yesterday and there was only a bit of rain, then as we exited the Vielha tunnel we were met by a massive blizzard, I think we got out of there just in time..

Are they intending to run the motorway all the way from Lleida to Vielha? There is a new motorway which stops suddenly at the N-230 and has some blacked out signs for Velha on it...
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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?
I'm just dropping in from the Sierra Nevada thread as Baqueira is also on my "possible skiing in Spain in March" list! Booking 4-6 weeks in advance is a bit of a gamble snow wise, but perhaps there is more of a base in Baqueira than SN despite the recent rain? Generally the accommodation options look more pleasing too in comparison to SN;)
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@Dubmuffin With booking.com you can usually cancel a week before for free. Same with the Baqueria resort website
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@mrvinegar, There are flights, time off work and several other people on the trip to be organised - oh how I dream of just being able to drop everything and go where there's snow:) (one dayI hope.... snowHead )
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
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Quote:

I'm still refusing to do the Orri de Tredós lite (which is still bashed, and even marked I think) until such time as there is enough snow and low enough risk to do the real one first.


I was in Baqueira for the first time for the latter half of the Reyes week (I live in Barcelona so usually go Andorra and Neiges Catalanes resorts). I was very interested to read your comment about the "real" Orri de Tredós - not knowing aboou either, when I rode the 'new' one at the weekend I wasn't aware that it had 'replaced' the old.

I'm not quite sure that new one is a green-level piste as you joked, but it certainly isn't double-diamond black as the signs indicate! There is one steepish section at the start and then it levels out into a fairly easy red-ish level run. It isn't much of a challenge and I dare say it's nothing like the 'real' Orri de Tredós, but in its defence it is a really lovely piste which winds its way through the quiet forest with hardly any people. Being on my own and with much of the off-piste not in great condition, it was actually a nice place to escape the crowds, and I went back up several times. You should try it!

(Incidently, the crowds those days were wierd - on the 3rd and 4th the resort was rammed, and the slushy snow and millions of people turned even the blues into mogul fields. But on the 5th and 6th, everybody obviously went home to open their presents, as the place was relatively empty!)
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
What a difference a couple of days, a bit more altitude and 20cm of fresh snow make.
Pretty good days skiing in Grand Tourmalet yesterday.

Had hope to arrive just after the forecasted meter of snow, but with the weather clearing the afternoon before and only 20cm fresh tracks had to be looked for.

Best snow is definitely on the higher slopes in La Mongie.
Off pistes the chutes off the Col du Tourmalet heading into the Barčges area had filled in nicely.
But care need as coverage is still thin in places.

The new snow had freshened up the pistes everywhere, which were in excellent condition across the whole ski area.
Again snow forecast all week.
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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!
With the weather closing in and the avalanche risk significant at altitude we stayed low and in the trees for the first tour of the season.
We skinned up to the abandoned funicular station above Barčges, Grand Tourmalet.

Turns of the season so far in the trees on the way down with 20cm of fresh on top of a pretty good base.
Got a bit sloppy on the way back to the car, but an excellent day out.



Bit more snow over the weekend and then it looks like sun next week.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Fabulous conditions in the Pyrenees this last week, with a powder day on Monday and variable weather but cold temperatures and untransformed snow for the rest of the week. Best of all, the avalanche risk has been low all week in the central and eastern parts, and there's been a nice layer of powder which has remained in great condition for days on end.

Is there anywhere which doesn't have great conditions right now?! Masella had half a metre of fresh snow on that powder day, whilst La Molina and the other public resorts in the eastern Spanish Pyrenees are pretty much 100% open with great conditions; in Andorra, Grandvalira is also 100% open, and great conditions in VallNord too; in the western Spanish Pyrenees, Panticosa has depths of more than 2 metres up top; in the central French Pyrenees it's also pretty much all open, with more than 1.5 metres in places; and in the western French Pyrenees, N'PY had their best numbers for a decade over the Christmas and New Year period.

Thanks to the precipitation yoyo-ing back and forth over all orientations, we're in the fantastic and unusual position of having great conditions on both the north and south sides of the axis. To top it off, the avalanche bulletin for the Val d'Aran has been very positive about getting out and enjoying it, although with warnings about sporadic activity of course. That said, sadly a 34-year-old Frenchman was killed in an avalanche near to Piau Engaly last week, and although mountain rescue said that although the flag was at 3 out of 5 they didn't regard the area that the skiers were in as being especially risky at that time, and it seems that it was a terribly unfortunate situation.

Some small snowfall predicted for today, after a couple of centimetres falling overnight. But then we'll have a week of higher temperatures without precipitation, albeit not necessarily with much sun.


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Sun 14-01-18 11:08; edited 3 times in total
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski Guide wrote:
Pyremaniac wrote:

[...]my valley on the other side of the Port de la Bonaigua (affectionately known as Africa, due to being on the other side of a weather frontier that runs across the pass, meaning that it hardly ever snows on this side and all the precipitation instead falls in Baqueira

Is this the side that they keep on talking about when they want to expand the domain?


Kind of; they wanted to expand into the valley that's behind the high ridge that's on your left-hand side as you drive down from Cap del Port towards Peülla and the villages of the Val d'Ŕneu. You can reach that valley on foot from the Val d'Ŕneu via the abandoned village of Ŕrreu (in fact it's one of the places where I was snowshoeing to the other day) but it's quite a trek. In other words, although the target spot is geographically part of my valley, it's much closer to the existing ski resort than where all the villages are. (The old Lo Boscas itinerary briefly skirts the inside of it.) Indeed, it sits pretty much exactly on the weather frontier... which is what has led to Baqueira finally shelving that expansion plan, since after years of study they have concluded that the snow conditions simply aren't reliable enough. It's hard to believe it looking at it this year, but I can imagine that it would suffer in some years.

mrvinegar wrote:
Are they intending to run the motorway all the way from Lleida to Vielha? There is a new motorway which stops suddenly at the N-230 and has some blacked out signs for Velha on it...

That was the original idea, yes; and presumably they'll need it if Catalonia gains independence at some point, since the N-230 jumps in and out of Aragon all the way up! It's yet another example of Spanish political corruption, this time within Catalonia: the local mayor managed to get the middle of the motorway built before either of the two ends (presumably having friends in the construction industry), and then the money ran out. So, there were several km of motorway built, to which there are access and exit roads from the traditional non-motorway route; but it takes longer to get onto the motorway, use it, and leave it, than it does to just keep on the traditional route. As a result, the motorway was pretty much empty... at one point they had to close the accesses because the kids were using it for drag racing! They have now managed to connect it to the Lleida ring-road, so it serves a purpose as an access to the airport I guess; though it's still quicker to use the N-230 if coming from the Barcelona side.

AlunAlun wrote:
I was in Baqueira for the first time for the latter half of the Reyes week (I live in Barcelona so usually go Andorra and Neiges Catalanes resorts). I was very interested to read your comment about the "real" Orri de Tredós - not knowing aboou either, when I rode the 'new' one at the weekend I wasn't aware that it had 'replaced' the old.

I'm not quite sure that new one is a green-level piste as you joked, but it certainly isn't double-diamond black as the signs indicate! There is one steepish section at the start and then it levels out into a fairly easy red-ish level run. It isn't much of a challenge and I dare say it's nothing like the 'real' Orri de Tredós, but in its defence it is a really lovely piste which winds its way through the quiet forest with hardly any people. Being on my own and with much of the off-piste not in great condition, it was actually a nice place to escape the crowds, and I went back up several times. You should try it!

Yeah without doubt it'll be a fantastic piste Happy That's kind of why I'm grumbling about it; it's too valuable a reward for too little effort... I spent a long time learning the ropes at Baqueira, being forever motived to improve to become good enough to ski that hillside - and now they just give its beauty away for free! Toofy Grin Toofy Grin Toofy Grin. Mainly though, I object to expanding further onto that mountainside... it was very pretty virgin territory, and well-loved by ski tourers who are probably a bit irritated by it suddenly becoming part of the ski resort. It looks like it's here to stay, though; I guess they'll put it on the piste map next year.

I did however get to do the "real" piste a couple of times last week; I'm pretty sure it follows the same route as the exit route we took a few years ago when we toured up to Baciver before they put the Saumet lift in. Fantastic piste! Baqueira have certainly added a couple of gems to the resort thanks to that lift.

mortonia, looks great!
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Quote:

So, there were several km of motorway built, to which there are access and exit roads from the traditional non-motorway route; but it takes longer to get onto the motorway, use it, and leave it, than it does to just keep on the traditional route.


Ha that's ridiculous!

Any reports on how the off piste is in Grandvalira at the moment? Hoping to go next week
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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.
Some big snow coming http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Pas-de-la-Casa/6day/mid
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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
That motorway story probably also explains the weird 15km of fast road built out of Lleida to Balaguer on the way to Andorra. Oh great, I thought, they're speeding up the frustrating last leg to Andorra. Er, no they're not.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Orange200 wrote:
That motorway story probably also explains the weird 15km of fast road built out of Lleida to Balaguer on the way to Andorra. Oh great, I thought, they're speeding up the frustrating last leg to Andorra. Er, no they're not.


What benefit would it have to the Spanish (or more precisely in this case Catalunyan) economy to have a fast road all the way to Andorra? I can see no motivation for that. Maybe up to La Seu d'Urgell, but even then...
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Some more sad news to report from over the weekend, this time from the Catalan Pyrenees [ https://www.nevasport.com/noticias/art/54585/Fallece-un-esquiador-en-Masella-y-otro-en-Baqueira-Beret/ ]:

A 34-year-old Basque man was killed when attempting to descend the notorious Vinyeta line down the most exposed skiable part of the "North Face" area of Baqueira, a run which has claimed a number of lives and will no doubt continue to do so. The details of the accident are not clear, but it seems like it was a fall... alas much of the north face is no-fall zone. Photo with map: https://www.nevasport.com/phorum/read.php?77,675296,2786942#msg-2786942

A 68-year-old Spaniard was also killed in Masella, hitting a tree after accidentally coming off of a blue run in the central part of the resort (The rather flat Volta Maria piste).

RIP.

And in Port Ainé, a 29-year-old was seriously injured after hitting a snow cannon whilst coming down a red piste.


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Thu 18-01-18 21:10; edited 1 time in total
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
What do you find the most reliable for wether forecasting in the Pyrenees?

Looking at these 2 and they tell different stories, the first predicts a whiteout Saturday & Sunday with crazy wind, the second predicts some snow with only 30 km p/h winds

https://meteoexploration.com/forecasts/Grandvalira/

https://www.theweatheroutlook.com/twodata/arpege.aspx?run=na&charthour=25&chartname=eurprecipsnow&chartregion=eur&charttag=Snow

There is also meteo.cat but they only do the next 2 days, http://meteo.cat/prediccio/pirineu
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Differences in forecast can have 2 causes:
(1) Different meteo model input. Most weather sites use raw GFS data because it is free. But some sites use different models.
(2) Timing differences. Even if 2 sites both use GFS, timing of the "data refresh" can be different.

The model used for data input is by far the most important factor in determination of forecast reliability.

Weatheroutlook uses Arpege (as you can read in the URL) model, which is specific for France and gives better results (for France that is) than GFS.
No idea what model meteoexploration is using. If they use GFS (that would explain the difference) then I would expect it to be less reliable than weatheroutlook.

I would say weatheroutlook is better for Pyrenees.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Thu 18-01-18 16:24; edited 2 times in total
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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?
from meteoexploration: "Forecasts from day one to five are based on the WRF model, from day six to eight they are based on the GFS model."
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Just back from 2 days in Baqueira.
Weds a bit limited due to all the high lifts being closed due to the wind.
Made up for it with a very good lunch in the Cinco Jotas at 1800.

Thursday all open. Skiing with the OH meant we were blasting around on piste.
Snow conditions excellent everywhere and the best I've seen for ages down to 1500.
Off piste looked well skied with groups touring further field to get some fresh tracks.

Had a look at the Orri de Tredňs “lite". Groomed and marked. Looks like it’s here to stay.
Still opens up a lovely little valley, but not sure it justifies the black rating.
Also improvements to the lift system with lift passes now being scanned from a distance rather than having to physically scan a barcode.
With the resort being quiet I couldn’t tell, but I imagine it will speed up the process during busy periods.

Warmer temperatures over the weekend looks like rain rather than snow, which is never a good thing.
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