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why does no one ski in Spain?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
i'm looking at ski resorts in terms of piste size and ability etc - family of 4 liking a mix of blues and reds, and it seems there are a number of spanish resorts that come up. we ski at half term so don't like france as busy, my wife doesn't like germanic food... so that rules out most of the alps, we've had some fab holidays in the dolomites. Spain looks interesting but i don't know anyone who has skiied there
so is it a great kept secret or is it very expensive or do brits like to go to spain in the summer and france and austria in the winter?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I've skied for a week in Baqueria Beret in each of the last two winters, and will be spending another week there this winter. Nice resort, decent size, good range of terrain, very quiet midweek, a bit busier at the weekend.
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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?
HugoC wrote:

so is it a great kept secret or is it very expensive or do brits like to go to spain in the summer and france and austria in the winter?


Few, if any, Tour Operators go there due to the longer flights.
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When we run trips to Baqueria we work in partnership with Ski Inspired.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I've booked for HT next year in Viehla a really nice looking 2 bedroom apartment via AirBNB, £1k for 8 days. Flights went through the roof so I'm now playing a tense waiting game hoping they'll come down again otherwise its Ryanair urgh. But overall price looks to be much better than tour operator incl car hire. Can't comment on how good though as this will be our first time.
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Neilson and Ski Miquel do packages to Baqueira
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I always do book things independently, rather than go through package tours. Anyone else?
And I don’t Think the flights are further than Venice or Salzburg for eastern alps
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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!
HugoC wrote:
I always do book things independently, rather than go through package tours. Anyone else?
And I don’t Think the flights are further than Venice or Salzburg for eastern alps
Fly to Toulouse, about a 2.5 hour drive to Baqueria. Nowhere near as busy for the UK half term as the French resorts of a similar size to Baqueria.
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I skied once in the Spanish Pyrenees in the 80`s, at Molina, back then runs were limited and the time we went it was lacking in snow. We had to go up to Andorra for decent snow by the end of the week. I think that apart from a school trip it was the only TO ski trip I`ve done. I remember good food (I also dislike germanic food) lovely sunshine, but poor ski conditions. Friends have been to ski in the Sierra Navadas more recently and seem to have enjoyed it enough to go several years running. However I don`t think its the same kind of ski experience as the mega French resorts.
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Most resorts in Switzerland and Austria offer a lot next to 'germanic food'
And food in the Dolomites is very much under germanic influence, with some Italian hints (Dolomites were Austrian for centuries until 1918)
Some silly prejudices and clichés here I'm afraid. And a bit hilarious too, assuming its coming from anglo-saxons....
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@Langerzug, thanks
Yes I’m aware of that, and while she loves the wine, she’s not a fan of the typical fair and Alta badia may have some of the best mountain food in the alps. But it has become far more popular and we’re finding the price of accommodation higher and harder to come by.
The key question is less about that food (though important) but why does Spain get so little mention? Is there anything wrong with it or is it a very well kept secret
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I hope other people ski in Spain as I have recently booked a Snoworks trip to Baqueira for late Jan. For some reason, Geneva flights with extra ski carriage costs were quite expensive for that week so I got a return business ticket to Toulouse for almost the same price as economy to Geneva. Another good reason to go!
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@HugoC, Have a look at Formigal, sounds like your kind of skiing and is quite a sizeable place. The hill is away from the village but you could also stop in the fort town of Jaca if you had a car, you could then visit some of the day resorts like Astun and Candanchu as well.

In my experience, the Spanish, in general, regard skiing as a weekend sport so from Mon to Fri lunchtime you are likely to have the place to yourself, Fri pm onwards and it gets busy, as all of Madrid pops up to the P's for the weekend.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Name a resort and there's always someone who's been there when it's not been great. You can likely check the snow records online, but when I went Spain had the best snow in Europe. That's why I was there. I drove to Barcelona and drove up from there - it was maybe 3 hours. I followed the plough up the resort at the start of May.

The fact that other people don't really go should perhaps be seen as an additional positive thing. I can't answer what their motives may be, lack of imagination perhaps?

Food-wise, well it's possible to eat well in any country, even for Anglo-Saxons. In Spain you can also find lots of international cuisine, but for local stuff it's likely to be ham, and late.

Check possible additional hire car costs if you're going to hop the border. If hiring a car in Spain expect the hard sell and decline it all.

Oh, here you go, Masella from May a few years ago (noisy). From what I remember they had the best conditions in Europe at that point (clearly the off-piste was off):
2014-2015 Masella, Catalonia from phil 45464
https://vimeo.com/121837441
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Five years ago so much snow in the Pyrenees that many stations closed down....not that it stopped us Toofy Grin

We like lifts being shut :) from Weathercam
https://vimeo.com/59167934


Just an average day in the Pyrenees, considering it never really snows that much from Weathercam
https://vimeo.com/59165967


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Sun 14-10-18 21:43; edited 1 time in total
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
There are ~33 ski resorts in mainland Spain.

Baqueira Beret is the biggest.

Sierra Nevada is the highest.

Punto Ines is the smallest.

Madrid is the 2nd highest capital city in Western Europe. Encircled by mountains. You cannot miss them.

Spain is largely unskied by foreigners because most resorts are small, snowfall is typically average, there are almost no legendary steeps to generate headlines or a halo in the international media, and Spain is seen as "too far south" for snow and widely perceived across the world as a summer destination (Barcelona, Ibiza, etc.).

BB is the best station for overall experience.

SN is best for novelty (snow + sun + sea + North Africa).
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Great lift served off-piste & freeride touring at Baqueira. Problem is that the word is slowing getting out which is not helped by threads like this rolling eyes
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Skied Formigal last HT flights £45 return to Bilbao Barcelona nearer but flights 3X price.
Decent 2 bed room apartment £1000 for 9 nights.
Good sized resort loads of snow.
Kids loved it.
Only problem we couldn't hire snow chains at Bilbao airport so bought some universal plastic chains off Ebay just in case and boy did we need them.
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My wife spent two seasons in Baqueira. She had to be extracted physically under duress by her parents after the second winter.

I’ve been for one weekend. It’s very good and some excellent off piste.

Just a bit of a longer drive than e.g, Chamonix from Geneva. No worse than the Tarentaise however.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I've always been tempted for a trip to Sierra Nevada for the reasons that @Whitegold gives... snow + sun + sea. I haven't got round to it yet, but maybe one day....
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Baqueira Beret sounds wonderful...

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/ski/articles/Baqueira-Beret-Spain-is-this-the-worlds-best-ski-resort/
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I've been to Sierra Nevada the last two winters for a couple of days and I'll be going again in December. It's great to be on the slopes in the sun and then spend a few days on the beach!
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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!
CaravanSkier wrote:
I skied once in the Spanish Pyrenees in the 80`s, at Molina, back then runs were limited and the time we went it was lacking in snow. We had to go up to Andorra for decent snow by the end of the week. I think that apart from a school trip it was the only TO ski trip I`ve done. I remember good food (I also dislike germanic food) lovely sunshine, but poor ski conditions. Friends have been to ski in the Sierra Navadas more recently and seem to have enjoyed it enough to go several years running. However I don`t think its the same kind of ski experience as the mega French resorts.


Sounds familiar, my parents took us for Christmas and New Year to La Molina in the 80’s. The hotel we stayed in was rather ... errr ... special.

There was no snow at all and too warm for snow canons but we did have a snow guarantee which meant the TO was busing us daily to Pas De Le Casa. Unfortunately after 5 days (if memory serves) it got cold enough for them to get 1 lift and 1 run open which meant they didn’t have to bus us anywhere.

The hotel was supposed to be walking distance of the nearest lift. We did eventually find the long since dis-used chair lift while exploring out from the hotel. I know my mum wrote a long complaint letter (wasn’t the only thing which wasn’t as advertised we had a catologue if issues) but to be fair I suspect the advert didn’t say distance to nearest operating chair lift. Toofy Grin
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Plenty of info here

https://www.tripsavvy.com/the-best-skiing-in-spain-4009539
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leggyblonde wrote:
I've been to Sierra Nevada the last two winters for a couple of days and I'll be going again in December. It's great to be on the slopes in the sun and then spend a few days on the beach!


Still beach weather in December?
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Quote:

Great lift served off-piste & freeride touring at Baqueira. Problem is that the word is slowing getting out which is not helped by threads like this rolling eyes


Spent last March hut to hut touring part of the Carros de Foc route in the Val D Aran some of the best off piste skiing ever and some fantastic steeps plenty of 300mtr peaks and then spent a day off the back of Baqueira wih some great off piste and pretty well empty. Great snow great empty mountains, greatfood , and cheap, Just dont tell anyone else!!

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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.
@Handy Turnip, It was 20deg last Christmas. Plenty of bikinis on the beach whilst I was surfing in my summer wetsuit:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdF2uneDfPA/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
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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
I go to Spain for paragliding. Slightly strange to walk past a bar at 0800 in the morning that sounds like a fight is about to break out. No, it's just the locals talking at their usual volume. It's a bit of a pain that the noise in the streets doesn't stop until dawn. No doubt that's some peoples idea of a good time but it isn't mine.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Thanks @leggyblonde, wow! Skiing is Sierra Nevada has definitely jumped up the list! Are those temperatures typical for that time of year?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Handy Turnip, Average December high for Malaga is 17deg so 20deg isn't uncommon
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Looks magic @Julianc
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I guess non French/Spanish don't come because it's not "easy", the transfers are usually 3 hours min, and unless you goto Andorra you need to rent a car. Also unless you speak Spanish or French you might find communication a bit tricky unless you goto Andorra. Regarding snow cover, the Pyrenees usually heats up mid Feb until end of March. This year was epic, powder up-to the knees....
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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?
@HugoC, If its got snow its great i'm sure, if it hasn't then you'll be disappointed you never went east/ north, its as simple as that isn't it, the SW of Europe is bound to be less snow sure by virtue of where it is. If you are happy to take the risk and it pays off then i'm sure it'll be good, if not you'd be annoyed but that's the choice you take with Spain I guess.

Plenty greta food if you're looking in Austria and Italy btw, my main thing is the skiing though, and the food is an add-on.
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@Handy Turnip, as @leggyblonde says, Sierra Nevada is great for a combination of Ski and Sun - my OH lives down there and she's often spent Xmas day on the beach. It's probably about a 90 min drive from the ski station to the beach.

Just beware though that Sierra Nevada is:
a) not a huge area - you can ski most of it in a day if you put your mind to it; and
b) very prone to high winds (and hence crust and sastrugi) - it's lovely seeing the sea from the top (on a clear day you can see Gibraltar) but there's basically no similarly high ground to the East until you get to Mt Etna, and to the West until you get to the Rockies!

It's great for getting in a few days skiing while you're there, but it's probably not worth a trip just for the skiing.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
NickyJ wrote:
CaravanSkier wrote:
I skied once in the Spanish Pyrenees in the 80`s, at Molina, back then runs were limited and the time we went it was lacking in snow. We had to go up to Andorra for decent snow by the end of the week. I think that apart from a school trip it was the only TO ski trip I`ve done. I remember good food (I also dislike germanic food) lovely sunshine, but poor ski conditions. Friends have been to ski in the Sierra Navadas more recently and seem to have enjoyed it enough to go several years running. However I don`t think its the same kind of ski experience as the mega French resorts.


Sounds familiar, my parents took us for Christmas and New Year to La Molina in the 80’s. The hotel we stayed in was rather ... errr ... special.

There was no snow at all and too warm for snow canons but we did have a snow guarantee which meant the TO was busing us daily to Pas De Le Casa. Unfortunately after 5 days (if memory serves) it got cold enough for them to get 1 lift and 1 run open which meant they didn’t have to bus us anywhere.

The hotel was supposed to be walking distance of the nearest lift. We did eventually find the long since dis-used chair lift while exploring out from the hotel. I know my mum wrote a long complaint letter (wasn’t the only thing which wasn’t as advertised we had a catalogue if issues) but to be fair I suspect the advert didn’t say distance to nearest operating chair lift. Toofy Grin


I didn't have any real issues with the hotel we stayed at, it was fine, with pool and sauna, though hot water was sometimes an issue at the end of the ski day lol. The balcony was a super place to sunbathe but that lovely sunshine melted the snow very quickly. I don`t remember any issues accessing the slopes but in my mid 20`s walking a short way even in ski boots was probably not the same issue it became with kids in tow, and then with ageing muscles lol. I remember Pas de la Casa (from that trip) as a rather 'grey' place but thats because it was dull and overcast, it did however have ski-able snow! I also had the nicest snails in garlic, served in a bucket, I`ve ever had for lunch anywhere!
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Looks magic @Julianc
It was magic which is why i will be back again, and it was 3000mtr peaks not 300 Laughing
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It was This Good!!
And hate saying this but it wasnt French Toofy Grin
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@CaravanSkier, our hotel had a pool but it wasn’t open. We had a ski room they lost the key to so had to break the door down. They also locked us in the hotel and couldn’t find that key. We were at the door trying to get out to get the bus to pas de la casa. Thank god they didn’t have a fire!

The chef walked out so they had to bus to another hotel for food.

We weren’t in walking distance of the actual operating lifts.

Only plus point is due to the staff not knowing how to make a gin and tonic they accepted my parents directions as to the quantities Twisted Evil
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Thanks everyone
If I’m reading this right there are some pretty decent horror stories from the 80s but people wore shell suits in the 80s and things do improve.
Those who do go now love it esp the Pyrenees
But you some people are still nervous that it’s too south too West and so too warm for great snow?
Having looked at all of this I’m thinking either Formigal, Baqueira-beret or La Molina/marsella
B.B. seems to be the best but stayigf the village proper seems more expensive and thoughts on La Molina/marsella
It’s all looking exciting for 2020 already as off to the Dolomites for 2019 - nothing like planning ahead or as my family say an excuse to spend hours looking at piste maps
Thanks all
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Not a great heading. May be why do british people not ski in spain? The Spanish certainly do at weekends and I suspect the french in the south west go to some spanish pyrrennees resorts as well as the french ones.

Sierra Nevada - a good day out - coast is reachable in about an hour - conditions can be very variable as it is a high resort above treeline and being close to the coast can be more windy than further inland. Can be happily skied in a day.

From a fortnight exploring the pyrrennees - the areas I visited were good but some lifts were a bit antiquated. BB - good skiing - some old lifts away from the centre and Bacqueira was a miserable place during the week being totally dead. All the reviews I have read since say stay down the valley at Arties which has far more life to it - I wish I had as I might have enjoyed the experience more. Also I felt that the pyrrennees weather was a bit more maritime perhaps than France, Switzerland and Austria - more wind and more variable weather but that may just have been the time I was there.

If I did not enjoy Austria as much and had not discovered the Dolomites I would certainly give the Pyrrennees another look. As for Sierra Nevada a few days at the OHs apartment on southern spain and a sub four hour round trip when the weather looks great for a day's skiing is a definite repeat.
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