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Poster: A snowHead
Mon 10-02-20 9:12
Replies: 22
In Andorra, Hotel Canaro near to Soldeu has something along the miniscule lines of what mikeycharlton said - though it's only available to hotel clients. And there are a handful of other (public) micro-areas dotted around the Iberian peninsular outside of the Pyrenees: in Galicia and Portugal for example. That said, the place in the video from the OP looks lovely!
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Sun 9-02-20 21:45
Replies: 104
I didn't make the point as well as queenie pretty please did, but basically it's the realization that you don't actually need to ski pistes all day every day. Pick and choose the best times, days, weather for you. Ski for a couple of hours and then do something else just as (or more) enjoyable for the rest of the day. Or take a day off and go for a long snowshoe adventure! One thing about snowshoeing is that it takes time; between 4 and 8 hours is normal. During these hours - if you can get yourself onto lesser-trodden routes - you'll see more wildlife and feel more in touch with the natural environment than in an entire season of skiing pistes.
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name.
Sun 9-02-20 21:31
Replies: 104
I strongly recommend going somewhere with fewer people. Also, try ski touring and snowshoeing. I suddenly got into snowshoeing a couple of years back, and I absolutely love it (in fresh snow). A number of times, I know I've been the only human being in the entire little valley that I've found myself in (cos no other tracks ;-)). Snowshoeing is ideal in places where ski touring could be a drag; not everything in the mountains needs to be summitting and skiing back down. Personally I find myself going off-piste even in less-than-ideal conditions because I can't be doing with crowded pistes... too worried I might make a mistake and hit someone!
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Fri 7-02-20 8:11
Replies: 138
Also there's a large Alcampo pretty close to the airport, which sells a wide range of chains and snowsocks. But as mrvinegar says, you're unlikely to need them - especially to get to Llivia. They stand more chance of being used up at the car park of Cambre d'Aze, for example. But even then, without a change in the forecast you'll be fine without them. Do check that your car hire allows you to take the car cross-border; some don't.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Wed 5-02-20 20:30
Replies: 138
Llivia is fine, though largely an artificial town made up of second homes. (But is that really any different from Font-Romeu, for example?) It's a natural base for the Neiges Catalanes, and just a couple of minutes by car from Bourg-Madame and Puigcerdà. Your change of plan is a good move, I feel.
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Tue 4-02-20 14:18
Replies: 47
i may be unlucky but i have owned several goretex jackets in the past and they have all let rain water through, i now think it is just over hyped and over price, the only reason its the market leader is because of clever marketing, i generally buy stuff now from brands who have their own version of goretex, theres loads of alternative, cheaper options,and they are just as good. Strange. I swear by my (expensive) GoreTex snowboarding jacket; best bit of mountain clothing that I own. Perhaps there are different "levels" of waterproofness? Mine looks (and, on the outside, feels) like it should do a good job.
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Tue 4-02-20 14:12
Replies: 25
I was going to mention Puigmal in the eastern French Pyrenees, and then saw that it was the very subject of your post! Rossignol finally "opened" it last Saturday for this season - which means that there is equipment hire and a route map. But they're not charging for use of the road/parking/mountain. I was there just the week before, after the snowstorm (hoping to hire gear, in fact - so ended up boot-packing it up with my board on my back; fortunately the path up had been well compacted by other skiers). In the summer they'll be running the same kind of show but for trail running and mountain biking. Another company is studying opening something similar in the Val d'Aran, in the central Spanish Pyrenees. Skitouring, particularly as more of a fitness thing on/nearby the pistes, is booming hugely. I don't think most of the protagonists are particularly after groomed pistes, rather just safe and marked/obvious routes without obstacles under the snow. Old disused pistes are pretty ideal in that regard. They would still have to keep pistes relatively free of trees etc. We have a closed resort where trees have regrown pretty well on the old pistes and there are fallen trees on the side so a minimum of maintenant Puigmal is ideal because the lifts closed only 5 years ago and the pistes and lift paths haven't grown back much at all yet. I can't see many using up a week of precious holiday to stay fairly low down and skin up and down an old resort. That sort of market is better served way up the mountains in huts. Better snow too. In the Pyrenees it might work out better because the available vertical is less anyway and it's common to stay down at valley level.
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Mon 3-02-20 14:13
Replies: 138
Sounds and looks like it was a great trip!
Then you'll get to see more forums.
Sun 2-02-20 23:51
Replies: 138
Excellent! Do you know which peaks the heli took you up to? (The skidoo was from Montgarri I assume)
And post your own questions...
Sun 2-02-20 21:16
Replies: 138
Well after the up, there's the down. I missed all the fun last week due to being back in the UK, and so today I did a quick day-trip blast up from BCN to La Molina with the family. With the recent higher temps I wasn't expecting much, but even so I was disappointed. While the levels are still good, it has obviously been bucketing rain this week, even up at the top of the mountain. The snow quality for the entire resort is best described as "heavy slush" - late spring conditions on the 1st of Feb! My mood wasn't improved by the fact that every person and their dog had decided to go to La Molina today, every car park was full to overflowing. In the queue for the lift passes, which I estimated to be an hour long (no exaggeration!), I had time to figure out the buy-online option on my phone - despite being a convoluted and most user-unfriendly experience, after 10 minutes I had succeeded on buying our passes, and skipped the queue to go to the automatic collection booth, where you just flash a QR code and it prints your passes for you. It was the only thing I was impressed with all day. I was thinking of going up next weekend but the forecast is not promising - a freeze midweek, possibly a tiny dusting, and then higher temps again. Sigh. Ouch :( We were at Masella next door, and indeed it seemed like half of Catalonia was there; arriving at 9:30 we ended up parked 10 minutes' walk away! Somehow the crowds dispersed a little after the first couple of hours though... maybe they went over to La Molina! We did just one run down to that side, and that final green back to base was like the Ramblas in August :skele: . However, in Masella at least, pretty much everyone insists on having lunch at the same time, and so the lift queues pretty much disappeared at that time and it was fine for the rest of the afternoon. I don't think it rained much in La Molina last week; those all-day spring conditions are due to the scorching temperatures I think. It was t-shirt skiing weather. Crazy for the beginning of February! But the cold weather will return in the second half of this week, it seems.
which other snowHeads love to answer.
Thu 30-01-20 19:04
Replies: 168
@queenie pretty please, sure but I suspect you need a certain level of the language already to do that, and the OP.... oh hang on, perhaps he's underselling himself again... :D The quickest way to get to that "certain level of the language" is to live amongst the locals. The fewer English speaker the better. :shock: I'm an immigrant myself. I see around me my fellow non-English speakers who, after decades living in an English speaking environment, still don't have the language fundamental to get through a bit of tough spot (for example going to the doctors and learning a whole bunch of unfamiliar words in one sitting). Because they spend a lot of their time speaking their native language! :( Ultimately, it's the mindset. You're either moving "to be close to the 'mountains'" which happens to be located in Europe. Or you're moving to LIVE in Austria/France/Italy/Spain. There's a difference between the two. :roll: This.
And they're a friendly bunch.
Thu 30-01-20 18:58
Replies: 14
There are loads ;-). Start with Andorra, sure. It's the most similar to a typical British alpine experience. Little by little you'll discover all the others.
You know it makes sense.
Wed 29-01-20 23:14
Replies: 138
Time for the post-snowstorm report! After some umming and ahhing we decided to bite the bullet and go up on Thursday morning, at a leisurely pace in the rain, on the low ground through the Cadí tunnel, and without expecting there to be much open before midday. Upon arrival in the Cerdanya, the snow bulletins from the various ski areas were clear: everything closed everywhere south and east of Andorra, except for the same couple of runs in Formiguères and - ta da - Les Angles, who were planning to get the lower and middle section open. So that made our decision pretty easy; over we went to Les Angles, through the uncharacteristically snowy Cerdanya and Capcir: https://snowmediazone.com/the_zone/data/500/20200123_111858_-_Les_Angles_small.jpg The morning was cloudy but the views were still great, such as this one over Les Angles village: https://snowmediazone.com/the_zone/data/500/20200123_141335_-_Les_Angles_small.jpg It's fair to say that some snow had fallen ;-): https://snowmediazone.com/the_zone/data/500/20200123_162651_-_Les_Angles_small.jpg 1.5 meters of the stuff, in fact. Although the snow in the lower sector was heavy, they opened the short drag up the middle section after lunch, and we had a blast in the small but sweet terrain that it served. The sun even came out for a while! The snow bulletins on the next day, Friday, were little changed. Masella and Cambre d'Aze were opening a few runs in the lower sector, but only Porté Puymorens and Font Romeu were putting in a decent showing. (Over the other side of the axis, Vallter 2000, entombed under 2 metres of snow, was clearly going to be a non-starter for the hopefuls coming up from Barcelona and Girona.) Les Angles, however, were promising to get the top lift open :sH:. Couldn't argue with that. And what's more, as mrvinegar has shown, it was going to be a beautiful sunny day. Best day of the 2019-20 season? It's going to be hard to beat 8) https://snowmediazone.com/the_zone/data/500/20200124-WA0015_-_Les_Angles_-_3p_small.jpg (Friend's photo) https://snowmediazone.com/the_zone/data/500/20200124_-_20200129-WA0012_-_Les_Angles_-_3p_small.jpg (Friend's photo) https://snowmediazone.com/the_zone/data/500/20200124_152612_-_Les_Angles_small.jpg Who knew that Les Angles had fabulous tree skiing? Well, we do now. And indeed we did nothing else but lap the trees until last lifts. Beautiful views towards the frontier axis; I've literally never seen the eastern Pyrenees look like that. An absolute treat to see them strutting their stuff as if they were the central zone. (There are some serious mountains in the frontier axis, from Canigou through to the Cadí. The snow caps did them justice for a change.) https://snowmediazone.com/the_zone/data/500/20200124_152629_-_Les_Angles_small.jpg We were staying overnight in a village on the main road to Perpignan, at the start of the narrowing of the valley and just before the road closure. It was my first time on that road, and the valley looks interesting and a bit wild. The village itself was called, oddly, Fetges, which means livers in Catalan. Turns out the apartment we'd booked was in some sort of creepy house of horrors. What with that and the story of the hospital on the other thread, it's clear that this valley is going to need further exploration! Saturday offered a choice between Cambre d'Aze and Porté Puymorens. (Masella and La Molina still weren't opening top lifts.) But Porté had already been open on Friday, so clearly there wasn't going to be an inch of untracked snow there :D. Whereas Cambre was opening top lifts for the first time... and in any case, I've been wanting to get to know it for years but there'd never been the oodles of fresh snow that I felt it merited. (It looked respectable enough two weeks ago, though, on my way home from Formiguères:) https://snowmediazone.com/the_zone/data/500/20200106_120144_-_Cambre_d_Aze_small.jpg So the decision was easy - and I'd guess that they sold more lift tickets on that day than they usually do in a week! It's a beautiful tree-lined resort which tops out at a very respectable 2400m offering a black itinerary and off-piste options to rival Baqueira and Arcalís, off the shoulder of an extraordinary, compact, perfect glacial cirque where there are some true extreme skiing lines: https://snowmediazone.com/the_zone/data/500/20200125_104042_-_Cambre_d_Aze_small.jpg There were metres of snow here too, and the avalanche risk was high. But there were one or two places to play. https://snowmediazone.com/the_zone/data/500/20200125_121810_-_Cambre_d_Aze_small.jpg Unfortunately the forest is too tight for much tree skiing - but the pistes were in ideal condition and great fun. The place has a wild feel, if a little awkward to get around; it's almost entirely served by a multitude of short drag lifts, which isn't ideal when there are crowds. But the slow pace of the place is part of its charm, really. (And let's not forget what became of Puigmal, as I'll recap in a moment.) One of the fun things about the Neiges Catalanes areas is that many of them are in sight of each other. Here's Font Romeu (centre) and Les Angles (a little further right) from Cambre: https://snowmediazone.com/the_zone/data/500/20200125-WA0038_-_Cambre_d_Aze_-_3p_small.jpg (Friend's photo) During the day we heard news that there had been a power cut in La Molina for two hours, and they'd had to close the lifts for a long while. An acquaintance was stuck on the lift for 40 minutes! After three days of fresh powder, no-one was in the mood for downgrading to tracked out snow on Sunday ;-). Masella and La Molina were opening top lifts, which was tempting... but it felt right to keep in the Neiges Catalanes vibe, and so, at long last, Puigmal called. https://snowmediazone.com/the_zone/data/500/20200126_105339_-_Puigmal_small.jpg Puigmal was also a Neiges Catalanes resort, until it bankrupted the village of Err a few years ago and had to close. Like Cambre, it was pretty much entirely drag lifts... and then they installed a four-seater chair lift at a cost of several million Euros. https://snowmediazone.com/the_zone/data/500/20200126_133934_-_Puigmal_small.jpg Alas, two terrible snowless seasons later, the writing was on the wall. All the infrastructure is still there, and in surprisingly good condition. I doubt it'll ever open for alpine skiing again though. https://snowmediazone.com/the_zone/data/500/20200126_105811_-_Puigmal_small.jpg These days, Rossignol are supposedly running a mountain station there, with all types of winter and summer activity (except downhill skiing). I can't say we saw any signs of that, though. For now, the only way up is under one's own steam. An easy and safe route that's well worthwhile. https://snowmediazone.com/the_zone/data/500/20200126_114917_-_Puigmal_small.jpg I'll be back to do it again in clearer weather! And finally, on Monday, Vallter 2000 opened :sH:. I didn't make it over there myself, but I'm sure that anyone in the Girona area who could grab a day off was having a ball.
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Wed 29-01-20 19:29
Replies: 168
This article is probably relevant though like most Brexit related advice (including on here) it is probably not completely correct or will vary from country to country but the basic thought is correct ie "if you are going to do this do it before the end of the year" https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/jan/29/the-britons-getting-out-before-brexit-drawbridge-goes-up (This really is not an invitation to reopen the endless dull arguments, other places for that) Completely off-topic, but: Under the withdrawal agreement British nationals can settle in another EU member state right up to 31 December and claim lifetime rights as EU citizens. Does anyone know if those rights to study, work and retire for settled British nationals apply to the whole of the EU area, or only in the specific country in which the person has settled?
Poster: A snowHead
Wed 29-01-20 13:20
Replies: 168
Without wanting to hijack this thread, how would your advice change for someone younger? I am 21, on track for a good degree from a good uni, albeit in a non-technical subject (history). I have taught myself to speak French to an advanced level. I similarly want to make a life in the mountains, my overwhelming goal is to become a mountain guide, but that is far in the future as a long process. I would like to find something more fulfilling than working in a bar. My advice wouldn't change. The younger you are, the less worry about the opportunity cost. (Doing Plan X means you're not doing Plan Y or Plan Z; but there's plenty of time to do those latter plans later in life if you want. Those latter plans could also be "career"-type jobs). You'll also be happy enough on the lower income that you're likely to have in your new country. (There's that "hidden" cost to living abroad for most foreigners; I'd guess that most people aren't able to achieve quite the same quality of job or level of pay as they would in the UK - though that very much depends on the line of work.) Importantly, when you're younger it's also easier to make friends with whom you'll actually do loads of stuff together. If you're going abroad as a single person, it's an important factor.
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Wed 29-01-20 10:29
Replies: 47
Masella in the eastern Spanish Pyrenees has 900m of vertical which can be done on only reds, with only the uppermost 150m being above the treeline.
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name.
Wed 29-01-20 10:24
Replies: 5
Don't have any tips, but Panticosa is a lovely little place.
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Wed 29-01-20 10:20
Replies: 26
figured it is not worth a new topic It's always worth a new topic! It makes possible for others to find it. FWIW I don't follow that logic.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Wed 29-01-20 0:04
Replies: 168
^ with respect, I don't agree at all with [the implication of] that. Not finding a niche isn't necessarily a sign of any sort of incapability. Some (awful ;)) people have bucket-lists which they choose to complete by the age of 20, 30, 40, 50, ... . Others would choose to put the bucket over said people's head. Horses for courses... (That said, if going abroad is simply "running away from home" then I do agree that that's not necessarily going to solve anything.)
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Tue 28-01-20 23:36
Replies: 168
^ agreed, but not everyone is entrepreneurial. Don't [the OP] write off the simple option of just getting a "normal" job. If the mountains are less than 3 hours' drive away so that weekends are always a goer then the party's on. Better still if your days off are not weekend days - but that's a much harder gig to set up if you've got a partner who also works, of course.
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Tue 28-01-20 23:26
Replies: 168
^ I think there's a lot of mileage in that, in-resort in certain places.
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Tue 28-01-20 23:13
Replies: 168
1000 euros a month doesn't sound like much to cover food, heating, other bills etc. Which country would this be? Spain. Italy?? Presumably also Slovenia and other more leftfield skiing options.
Then you'll get to see more forums.
Tue 28-01-20 22:01
Replies: 168
(5) Integrate yourself into your new country. Find whatever job (e.g. bar work) but with a plan to move quickly into a more stable line of work - which could be just a normal "boring" office job like anyone else. Learn the language. Let the new culture blur into your existing one. Live like a native - because you're well on the way to being one anyway. I don't know how many Brits fit into that category, but I know enough of them who do (plus my own first-hand experience) to know that it's an entirely reasonable objective for newcomers.
And post your own questions...
Tue 28-01-20 21:53
Replies: 168
Firstly let me start by saying I know this is an immature post BTW it didn't strike me as remotely immature. Quite the opposite. You'll need to be a little bit of a "self-starter" to make it work. The fact that you posted what you did shows that you are one (or capable of being one). But you don't need to be the most extrovert or wheely-dealy person on Earth to start; just enough to make the leap and find work. The self-sufficiency will grow from there almost on its own.
which other snowHeads love to answer.
Tue 28-01-20 21:29
Replies: 168
Anyway; judging from the "feeling" that you described, you absolutely must at least try spending a year abroad. You have a metric ton more capital than I did, so money really doesn't even enter into the equation.
And they're a friendly bunch.
Tue 28-01-20 21:26
Replies: 168
^Not sure that that's technically true (in Spain at least); but in practice no-one will know.
You know it makes sense.
Tue 28-01-20 21:16
Replies: 168
Also, depending on what you want, you don't need to live in the mountains necessarily - and there are numerous advantages to not doing so. The trick is to be within reasonable driving distance. However, ultimately, emigrating is emigrating. It simply won't work out if you don't, in your heart-of-hearts, want to live in a different country, culture and language.
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Tue 28-01-20 21:13
Replies: 168
^ Excellent point; try to get those 3 months in before the end of the year (even if you take a short sneaky off-the-radar trip back to the UK during those 3 months after having got your temporary residency card).
Poster: A snowHead
Tue 28-01-20 21:05
Replies: 168
What kind of work have you done up until now? Post-Brexit, you might find Spain turns out to be easier than e.g. France or Austria; I'm certain that the UK-Spain agreement will be pretty much the best of the lot. *Big* vested interest on both sides (due to the high reciprocal ex-pat residency numbers), and Spain always strikes me as less arsey and more welcome-you-at-face-value than certain other countries (though that's entirely subjective of course). In Spain you'd have the Pyrenees or Sierra Nevada (Granada) or numerous other small places dotted about.
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Mon 27-01-20 21:37
Replies: 49
Intriguing! I'll have to pay it a visit next time I'm in that area :o
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name.
Sun 26-01-20 22:34
Replies: 49
Yeah we were staying in the village just before (on the western side) of that problem. The road from there to Perpignan is in fact open according to the temporary signs placed there - but let's say "French-style" open... at your own risk ;-)
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Sun 26-01-20 22:28
Replies: 64
Have a look at where the heel of your shoes wears down the most. Quite. I have to change my shoes with absurd regularity because of the weardown on the "corner". It feels very unnatural to make my feet more parallel than 70 degrees; wheareas 90 degrees is perfectly comfortable. (Just to put my situation in context.)
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Sun 26-01-20 21:46
Replies: 49
Absolutely worth it right now. If now isn't the time to visit the eastern Pyrenees then I don't know when is. (Don't go expecting any untracked in Les Angles, though; we already killed it on Friday :-P. Best tree skiing I've had for a while; last season was boring for off-piste.) Later this week I'll be posting a full update on the Pyrenees Snow Report thread.
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Sun 26-01-20 21:34
Replies: 64
Thanks - I have clown feet whose happy position is 70 degrees (yep) apart... As you can imagine it plays merry hell with my skiing (and to some extent, snowboarding) because to get my feet parallel with knees bent I end up almost touching my knees together. Always happy to find out more about what could potentially be done!
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Sun 26-01-20 21:13
Replies: 64
5. One knee collapsing inside sounds like an A Frame problem (if it happens on both sides). This could be down to the "way you are built" and needs corrected with alignment. Mrs. F had this problem for 25 years until an Instructor sent her to have her alignment checked. After correction, she can now change both edges at the same time and by the same amount. What is this alignment-correction procedure of which you speak?
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Sat 25-01-20 21:44
Replies: 49
Anecdotally I think that might be the case.
Then you'll get to see more forums.
Sat 25-01-20 21:20
Replies: 49
I can dig up some data on average yearly snow depths in some Pyrenean ski areas - but not until I've finished ripping up this latest snowfall (which resulted from Winter Storm Gloria which tore through the western Mediterranean up from Africa, not from the Atlantic).
And post your own questions...
Fri 24-01-20 14:01
Replies: 138
Quick on-the-spot update: the eastern Pyrenees barely opened yesterday but the exception was Les Angles which managed to get the everything up to the mid section open. Wet snow below 1900m unfortunately but great between there and 2100m; even the sun came out! Today, the whole Pyrenees has a smile on their face I think! Almost everything open in many places, including Porté Puymorens, Arcalís and I presume Grandvalira. Les Angles has the top lift open albeit not some of the pistes - but everthing is fair game and the extensive tree skiing is as good as you'll find anywhere in the Pyrenees with the resort in these current conditions. Metres of snow up top, and pretty light. And not a cloud in the sky :sH:
which other snowHeads love to answer.
Wed 22-01-20 22:56
Replies: 2678
But the general gist is correct, I think. Also, there's a world of difference between people on a once- or twice-yearly snow holiday and people who are fortunate enough to drive up for a day trip as if it were a merely a walk in the woods. I take a sandwich, a chocolate bar and a bag of nuts. Don't usually bother with €40 in a hut with lunch and wine (although exceptions can be made where there's value for money, such as in several places in Andorra and the French Pyrenees. Not so much in Spain though).
And they're a friendly bunch.
Wed 22-01-20 20:44
Replies: 2678
Eyne (Cambre d'Aze, FR) Woooooooooooh https://www.facebook.com/302391446628746/posts/1248457468688801/ I'll be there in 15 hours' time or so, and will confirm if it's real! ;)
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