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Pyrenees 2018-2019.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just booked Baqueira Beret for New Year and now it’s time to do more research and watch the weather/webcams for the next few months.

Usually ski the Alps but have only read very good things about Baqueira Beret so thought that we would give it a try for a change. We’re a family and it seems to cater for all levels.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Tue 9-10-18 18:15; edited 2 times in total
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Baqueira testing their snow cannons this morning.
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Might be an early start to the season again -

https://france3-regions.blog.francetvinfo.fr/pyrenees/2018/10/08/de-nouvelles-chutes-de-neige-sur-les-pyrenees.html
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Certainly snow on the tops when we flew over yesterday.
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Early snow at 2400m in Cauterets, French Pyrenees

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So the Grandvalira pass will continue for the next 12 years, there was some doubt earlier in the year whether it would continue. Also seems that Arcalis is being taken over by the same company and included in the same pass, which is a bit odd https://www.nevasport.com/noticias/art/55932/grandvalira-se-salva-y-se-amplia-con-la-estacion-de-esqui-de-ordino-arcalis/
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Freezing level forecast to fall to 1600/1100/700/1100 m for Sat/Tue coming. 26 cm of snow forecast in Baqueira too. Not that it will last but it does whet the appetite......
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Went in about 2004 I think and had too much snow! Couldn't ski for three out of the six days so be careful what you wish for wink I'm sure you'll like it though so report back.
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30cm at 1500m in BB overnight according to their Facebook page. Still tipping it down on the webcams and more in the forecast over the next few days.
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mrvinegar wrote:
So the Grandvalira pass will continue for the next 12 years, there was some doubt earlier in the year whether it would continue. Also seems that Arcalis is being taken over by the same company and included in the same pass, which is a bit odd https://www.nevasport.com/noticias/art/55932/grandvalira-se-salva-y-se-amplia-con-la-estacion-de-esqui-de-ordino-arcalis/

Thanks for posting this, I hadn't seen it. It is an excellent resolution of the situation, which was a little bit worrying - for a while I thought we were going to the return to the 'bad old days' of having to decide between Pas and Soldeu. The addition of Arcalis is nice plus too: it is fantastic freeride resort but only really worth going when the snow is fresh. Now it will be possible to go there in the morning to check it out, and if the off-piste is poor then nip across to spend the afternoon on the superior pistes of the 'main valley'.

I wonder in the future Pal/Arinsal will get absorbed and the whole thing will become one big happy family?

PLenty of fresh snow in Andorra, incidently, and more forecast, but then a thaw:
http://andorrawebcams.andorramania.com/soldeu-grandvalira-espiolets.php
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[quote="AlunAlun"]
mrvinegar wrote:
The addition of Arcalis is nice plus too: it is fantastic freeride resort but only really worth going when the snow is fresh. Now it will be possible to go there in the morning to check it out, and if the off-piste is poor then nip across to spend the afternoon on the superior pistes of the 'main valley'.


Yeah it's a fair old drive between the 2 though, approx 40 mins , not sure if many will make the effort to go there...That's why I thought it was a strange marriage
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Not the first time money resulted in a strange marriage...!
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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
AlunAlun wrote:
Not the first time money resulted in a strange marriage...!


Very Happy Maybe they'll run a bus between the 2 now...
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You know it makes sense.
Webcam pictures look lovely today.

The snow cannons were pumping out the white stuff yesterday too.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
La Masella opening tomorrow (!) https://www.nevasport.com/noticias/art/55973/masella-abre-este-jueves-dia-1-de-noviembre-la-temporada-de-esqui-en-espana/
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mrvinegar wrote:
So the Grandvalira pass will continue for the next 12 years, there was some doubt earlier in the year whether it would continue. Also seems that Arcalis is being taken over by the same company and included in the same pass, which is a bit odd https://www.nevasport.com/noticias/art/55932/grandvalira-se-salva-y-se-amplia-con-la-estacion-de-esqui-de-ordino-arcalis/


Correct, but you have to pay extra to get it included on the Grandvalira pass. So for this year at least Arcalis is still included in the Vallnord pass.

(Quite some bit of intervention from the politicians to get Grandvilra agreement not to dissolve).
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More snow last night judging by the photos. If this keeps up December powder could be a possibility in the Pyrenees...
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I spent my youth ski-ing in the Pyrenees - 2 weeks every Easter in Les Agudes, on French Exchanges.

It was a cycle of rutted ice in the mornings (no piste bashers back then), then slush in the afternoons.

Loved it, all the same, and it gave me a love of ski-ing in slush, which persists to this day!
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Skullduggery!

http://www.tellerreport.com/news/--andorra---police-investigate-sabotage-attempt-after-cable-cut-on-chairlift-.By2axPJTQ.html
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The Arcalis website states that it is opening this Saturday (17). Well, I drove up there yesterday to have a look around. It is not looking good. The access road that is usually used for skimo or a green exit run is still wide open. As such I managed to drive up all the way to the La Coma ski-lift. Maybe that is their plan - only open the bowl around the La Coma.

IMHO unless one has serious snow withdrawal symptoms it is not worth the money (yet). For someone with a season pass, maybe about three runs just to test out some gear, but nothing to get excited about.

State of the La Coma bowl


Lower Arcalis
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ysb33r wrote:
The Arcalis website states that it is opening this Saturday (17). Well, I drove up there yesterday to have a look around. It is not looking good. The access road that is usually used for skimo or a green exit run is still wide open. As such I managed to drive up all the way to the La Coma ski-lift. Maybe that is their plan - only open the bowl around the La Coma.

IMHO unless one has serious snow withdrawal symptoms it is not worth the money (yet). For someone with a season pass, maybe about three runs just to test out some gear, but nothing to get excited about.


Not anymore. Just got news that opening has been postponed to the 24th.
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Happy autumn, everyone!

Well, this is the first time that my opening post on the Pyrenees thread has contained pictures of real off-piste skiing already enjoyed before winter has even started snowHead :





That was Masella on the 2nd of November! Extraordinary. They'll be doing a 6-month season again this year - exactly ten years after their last one.

It was a bit of a flash in the pan, though, as the high temperatures of the last couple of weeks have meant that they're now down to 16km open... although that's certainly not too shabby for the time of year. Indeed they're still the only resort on offer at the moment, although it's starting to snow in the eastern Pyrenees right now and so perhaps there will be other options available next weekend.

The big news for this season - apart from the fact that Grandvalira is here to stay - is probably the new Baciver draglift in Baqueira, which raises their highest point to 2610m and gives them 1100m of continuous pisted vertical. It's not the biggest pisted vertical in the Pyrenees, though, whatever their marketing department likes to say; Cerler has 1150m. (Pic du Midi has even greater lift-served vertical, but it's runs are not pistes in the ordinary sense.)

Hopefully things will get going soon!
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Quote:

That was Masella on the 2nd of November! Extraordinary. They'll be doing a 6-month season again this year - exactly ten years after their last one.


Looks like quite a number of of tracks on the 2nd pic. Did you see many other early birds?
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Yeah actually it was quite busy! 3000 people on Thursday the 1st, which was a bank holiday in Spain and elsewhere; I had to wait until the next day, because I've taken out the weekdays-only pass for Alp2500 (Masella and La Molina) this year.(*) Over the four days of that long weekend, they apparently had 16000 visitors, albeit that many will have been season ticket holders. That's Masella's business model though: they sell more season tickets than any other Pyrenean or Iberian resort - in the order of many thousands - on the back of offering the longest season and a decent book of invitations for other resorts.

Over that weekend they had half of the resort fully open, and it was a fun atmosphere. The off-piste up top was as good as on any day in mid-winter!

(*) which - when you buy it through Masella rather than La Molina - comes with the same invitations book that you get when you buy the Masella season ticket alone. In fact, that was the main reason for choosing that pass this year... I've now got day tickets for 10 different resorts in the eastern Pyrenees, plus a couple of central/western resorts in the French Pyrenees as well as two days in Sierra Nevada, plus an handful of multi-day passes for lesser-known places in the Alps, plus some even further flung places which unfortunately I certainly won't be able to visit. And at the weekend my plan is to spend as much time as possible off the beaten track... Puigmal is my first target!
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The skiable snowline sits firmly at 2000m at the moment, but that's just fine for Vallter2000, which started its season today with almost everything open. Boí-Taüll - the only other Pyrenean ski area that's entirely above 2000m - never does early openings, presumably due to being pretty remote; but they're reporting great conditions there too and are optimistic about the start of the season. Arcalís - whose base is as close to that altitude as usually makes no difference - was hoping to get going, but have decided to postpone precisely because of the lack of snow on those first 60 metres. Meanwhile, down south, Sierra Nevada also opened today with a stunning 47km of piste available, which is their best ever first-day offering. Those guys are never far behind Masella when it comes to length of season. (Masella itself is still going strong, with 29km open this weekend.)

Pretty much all other Spanish Pyrenean areas, both the Andorran ones, and a few of the French Pyrenean ones, are scheduled to open next weekend, in plenty of time for the subsequent long bank holiday weekend which will also see a number of additional French areas opening. As always, there are a handful of small French resorts which won't open until nearer Christmas. All opening and closing dates can be found at https://www.infonieve.es/estaciones-esqui/fecha-inicio-fin-temporada/
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I have to say that right now there's not much that's positive in the forecasts for the coming week or so... there's a high centred on Spain and the Balearics that's keeping temperatures high and fending off all that rain that's hitting the UK. (It's merging with another high over Germany and Poland which is keeping the Alps relatively dry as well.)

Despite the optimistic opening dates for most Pyrenean resorts, the snow looks to be thin on the ground at lower altitudes. Aim high!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
But when you do go high..... wow! Here's mouth-watering photo-laden thread on the Spanish forum most similar to sH (Hope @admin doesn't mind me posting links to it;(*) obviously just let me know if you do.)

This was Boí-Taüll at the weekend - November!!! And a fantastic showcase of this small but wild and remote ski area has to offer:

https://www.nevasport.com/phorum/read.php?3,3972511,3972511,page=1#msg-3972511

(*) I have no connection to it whatsover other than as a punter, just as on here.

BTW I feel a bit ashamed for not having given cheeky little Port Ainé the props it deserves in my earlier post! After all, it's entirely above 2000m too, except for that sweet pisted (and cannon-fed) black that winds down from the main base through the forest to the lower bend of the road. It's another area which will have a fantastic start to the winter.

Southerly-fed areas are having a field day in this pre-season period snowHead

Indeed, at lovely Port del Comte they reckon they'll open everything this weekend if they can get the cannon snow to stick on the lower slopes (despite the 20-minute detour that's currently needed as they continue to clean up the mudslide that's currently closing the main route up). And hectare-wise it is not a small place! But IMO it's a big if... temperatures are sky high today.
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Apparantly Arcalis is opening tomorrow. It looks like they are dead keen to open before any other Andorra resort. Very Happy
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28/11/2018

The ski and snowboard season has arrived in Baqueira Beret with a seasonal start according to the forecasts and much of the central area of Baqueira open for those who want to get rid of the irrepressible desire to slide on the snow after a warm summer And a fall with a high precipitation.

Among the heavy snowfalls in early November, which left important thicknesses in high altitudes, and the snow production of the last weeks is expected to open 27 km of slopes all in the area of Baqueira. The thicknesses are currently 30 cm in 2500 and 15 cm at 1800.

The openings for the premiere will be gondola Baqueira, TSD Mirador, Tsd Pla de Baqueira, Cintas Carreretes 1 and 2 in the area of beginners and TSD Jorge Jordana that will give access to the entire North face. The station will keep its operation open during the week in a stable way, if the weather allows it, until the scheduled closing date that is April 22nd. The station's technical managers are working to make possible the opening of more tracks and lifts facing the December bridge.

In terms of restoration, the Self Service Café Bosque, the Parrec D'Orri and the Möet Winter Lounge restaurant will be open with DJ Luca Feller cheering the terrace and the establishment with more atmosphere après ski will be opened, the Bar Baqueira 1500.
With regard to the ticket office, you can purchase the ski pass in the galleries of Ruda, and the 1500 central offices. The price of the ski pass will be special for the occasion of €31 Adult Day and €21 infantile day.

With regard to the rental and sale of equipment, the Ski Service stores of 1500, Ruda and Bosque will be operational. In addition to the rental and preparation and repair of material with two new machines of last generation, in Baqueira Store of Ruda it is possible to acquire everything necessary for the winter. During this weekend you will be able to hire the practical services of ski-guard and boots, for the whole season, located in Ruda, Baqueira 1500 and Baqueira 1800.
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Ax 3 Domains and Cauterets are both delaying their planned opening of this weekend, but Les Angles is going to open up. Couple of pics posted on Twitter:

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I should be out in Baqueira Beret for 10 days covering Feb half term period instructing Smile
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ysb33r, that doesn't surprise me! Quote rightly, they're going full out on the premise of being the [Arc]Alaska of the Pyrenees. Small place, doesn't get much press coverage outside of freeride circles, ... The notoriety of being an early-opener late-closer does it the world of good.

Can't wait to pay it my first 2018-19 visit!
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JoyZipper, BB will be on fire at NYE... You'll have a blast!

The pre-season belongs to the southerly-dependent areas though... Port-Ainé and Espot have announced their customary free opening day this Friday Little Angel
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iainm, great pics of Les Angles! They'll have a fine first weekend. Lovely place.

Little Martin, congrats! At that time of year you can hope to see it at its best Very Happy
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Pyremaniac wrote:
JoyZipper, BB will be on fire at NYE... You'll have a blast!


Thanks - looking forward to it - we have never skied the Pyrenees before.
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Hope everyone had a good summer.

I've got a bit of travelling to finish off before getting into the mountains.

Should be at La Mongie for the weekend of the 15th of December for the first turns of the season.

Looking forward to checking out the changes for 2019, particularly the new lift in Baqueira.
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Slim pickings in the Pyrenees at the moment, too warm for Baqueria to make fake snow http://baqueira.es/actualidad/prensa/
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Indeed, we've been spoilt the last few seasons with great conditions on this long back holiday weekend, but we were due an iffy one. You won't find much stoke on the webcams at the moment, but the resorts are doing the best they can. Masella, Boí, Port del Comte, Baqueira, Cerler and Vallnord each have some 30km open, and other Catalan resorts have some reasonable skiing as well. Grandvalira has managed to get up to 50km, but even so they had to stop selling walk-up passes for the weekend due to the place being dangerously overcrowded. None of the other Aragonese resorts have been able to put in a showing, nor have the large majority of French resorts. Given that the snow came from the south and east, the places which look the most wintery are Boí and Cerler without doubt. Baqueira is a bit of a miserable sight. But still, that can all change as soon as the next storm hits, which could be next weekend. There's still plenty of time for things to improve before the Christmas period.

This was Masella higher up on Wednesday, where things are holding up well thanks to the deep north-facing glacial valleys; the sun barely touches the place in December and January. It truly has a special little microclimate within that peculiar geography. (Across the Cerdanya valley, where the likes of Font-Romeu sit on those sunny rolling hills, it looked like midsummer's day!)





The snowline ends abruptly at 1900m though, just as in all other Pyrenean resorts. It's like summer lower down, with cows grazing and all sorts Laughing
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mrvinegar wrote:
Slim pickings in the Pyrenees at the moment, too warm for Baqueria to make fake snow http://baqueira.es/actualidad/prensa/


Baqueira pumping out the man made snow on the upper mountain this morning.
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That's right; the drop in temperature means that the reservoirs which power the snow cannons are getting something of a battering right now! I heard that thus far in the season Grandvalira has already used 50% of the water reserves that it had planned to use for the entire winter Shocked All because of this darned "Constitution" bank holiday weekend! The joke is already doing the rounds in Spain that whenever they sign off the next version of the Constitution they had damn well better do it in March. Just like in the Alps, there's no tradition of starting the ski season before Christmas.
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