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Pyrenees snow report 2019-20

 Poster: A snowHead
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I see C'Ambre d'Aze is staying closed for another day with no electricity and over a metre of snowfall- amazing news for the small resort previously struggling ahead of Feb half term as its challenging runs will be great to ski! Font Romeu looking heavily dumped on too!
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Still absolutely bucketing down in Formigueres judging by the webcams. I think Font Romeu is also closed due to a power outage
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El Tarter webcam shows handrails with coverings approaching 5 inches deep, and Grandvalira site reports problems due to "snow accumulation". So I think we can safely say GV has been topped up!
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All eastern Catalan ski areas are closed today - and most of the Neiges Catalanes too; though that's as much to do with those electricity problems as it is with the weather.

Things are looking hopeful! I don't much like the look of the rising temps (Porté Puymorens is reporting rain) but hopefull those areas in the epicentre such as Cambre d'Aze will come through unscathed.

I'm planning to get up there on Thursday and Friday.
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@Pyremaniac, Where you heading ? I can't get out until Friday and will head to Ax.
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On Friday, almost certainly Cambre d'Aze if they predict opening the upper lifts. Otherwise, probably Les Angles. Ax will be in good shape too, but it's a little too far away from where we'll be staying.

Currently doubting about whether to try to ski tomorrow... looks like it'll be foul weather all day, and I wonder which areas will open anything. Formiguères has managed to open the draglifts which go up the left-hand side, with the accompanying couple of reds and blue/greens; a pretty good effort, given that everywhere else east and south of Andorra is shut (or effectively shut). They're reporting avalanche risk 5! The rather more official bulletins give 4 for today and tomorrow.

Cambre d'Aze say they're going to try to open at lunchtime tomorrow. Let's see.
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Does anyone know if buying Lift passes online for Font Romeu & Formigueres saves queueing up?
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This mega dump looks good for me as I'm heading to PDLC on Friday. Does anyone anticipate the roads being a problem? I'm driving from Barcelona and the snow is forecast to stop tomorrow.
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Les Angles looks like it may be a touch vulnerable to rain in the lower slopes but hopefully not enough to shift the mega dump! I think Font Romeu and C'Ambre d'Aze seem to have come off the best
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EdYarker wrote:
This mega dump looks good for me as I'm heading to PDLC on Friday. Does anyone anticipate the roads being a problem? I'm driving from Barcelona and the snow is forecast to stop tomorrow.

In theory they'll have cleared the roads; but in my experience the French are pretty laissez-faire about it Wink. Also, it might snow on Saturday a little. Honestly, I'd recommend taking chains or socks. You can pick them up cheap in Alcampo (near to the airport, or in Sant Adrià de Besos close to the Ronda Litoral (Coastal Ringroad) when leaving Barcelona from the coast heading northwards.

mrvinegar wrote:
Does anyone know if buying Lift passes online for Font Romeu & Formigueres saves queueing up?

If you already have the physical electronic pass, yes. Also, I believe there are collection points in the town itself (machines; or shops). Formiguères charged me a non-refundable €2 for the pass, the cheeky wotsits! [Typically the passes are returnable and refundable in these situations, e.g. at Ax - a few years ago, anyway.]

Dr. Will wrote:
Les Angles looks like it may be a touch vulnerable to rain in the lower slopes but hopefully not enough to shift the mega dump! I think Font Romeu and C'Ambre d'Aze seem to have come off the best

Yeah we've been worrying about the temperatures all day. Les Angles is our plan B if Cambre doesn't get its act together; but it's looking like FR or even Formiguères might be a better option. Masella could also be a goer, though I've done it to death over the last couple of years and could do with ringing the changes. Porté Puymorens is always worth a look, but be aware that it's a peculiar resort that won't suit all tastes.
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OMG visible roofs on PDLC and ET webcams now have well over a foot of snow on them, cams show it is absolutely dumping, GV site reports 55/210kms open and most links between sectors closed. @EdYarker, good luck tomorrow!


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Thu 23-01-20 12:18; edited 1 time in total
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Down to 48km open now. Still snowing seem to have have over a meter in the last two days...
May start having to look at some late deals....
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By now I'm guessing stuff will be shut due to avvy danger?
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I would think so the only link open is between Soldeu and Tarter
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Just noticed there has been a landslide on the N260 between Martinet and La Seu d'Urgell.
Http://transit.gencat.cat/ca/inici
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Any news for the western Pyrénées?
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We had 50cm at Artouste last night, snow a bit heavy and been Avvy controlling all day!
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N116 is closed: landslides at Villefranche and between Thues and Canaveilles. This weekend is looking bleak if anyone's planning on driving up from Perpignan ☹️
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@Pumba, 50cm at Artouste ties up with a report from a friend of mine (Luz Ardiden) who said about 50cm fell last night.
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@crosbie, to be honest it caught us out, had only predicted 10 I think! Busy day securing the ski area and more to do tomorrow but should now be able to open 100% this weekend.
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Today looks like 'a perfect day' - fresh snow, and sunshine.
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Formigueres fully open, Font Romeu only partially..

Heading up tmrw, cant wait!
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A picture tells more than a 1000 words

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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 snowHead
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Amazing photo.
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Per the above reports, Morris seems to have been exactly right (again) as regards snow being heavy lower down and good above 2000.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Good Day in Ax too. Friends in Baqueira also report fresh tracks !

@Onnem, Cracking picture.
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Pas de la Casa.

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Went to Font Romeu and Formigueres this weekend. Font Romeu is worth a visit, they had just opened an area when we arrived so there it was still possible to lay some new tracks in the "Calme Nord" area, as others have mentioned the snow is a little heavy and best up high, not "powder powder" but still great.

I loved Formigueres, it reminds me of a mini Courchavel, lots of space to go between the trees and some lovely runs, it has nice vibe and the snow was better there, it snowed some more on Sunday morning, it was also super quiet (and cheap!), I'll definitely be back...

I was tempted to goto Cambre D'Aze but noticed it's mainly drag lifts, not great for a boarder, so I chickened out!

Only negative was the 1 hour traffic jam getting into the Tunnel de Cadi on the way home!



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Just back from a week skiing in Pal/Arinsal. Conditions are fantastic, great quality snow all over the resort, slopes were in fairly good shape before the large snowfall on Wednesday and Thursday - but Friday and Saturday conditions were brilliant.
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The N116 is fully open again, quicker than announced!

Mrvinegar, Cambre d'aze is great just for that reason; most of the crowds stay over on the chairlift at St Pierre and this means that the steeper runs serviced by the top drags are comparatively quiet. Even on a weekend afternoon following snowfall, it's usually possible to find more than just pockets of fresh on fontfrede, which is a reason in itself to go there when conditions are good.
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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:



The morning was cloudy but the views were still great, such as this one over Les Angles village:



It's fair to say that some snow had fallen wink:



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 snowHead. 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 Cool


(Friend's photo)


(Friend's photo)



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.)



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 Very Happy. 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:)



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:



There were metres of snow here too, and the avalanche risk was high. But there were one or two places to play.



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:


(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 wink. 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.



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.



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.



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.



I'll be back to do it again in clearer weather!

And finally, on Monday, Vallter 2000 opened snowHead. 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.
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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.
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It was raining in the northern foothills of the Hautes Pyrénées this morning, but I don't know if that translated to snow in the mountains. It could be just as warm up there as it is down here, which would mean rain up top! Shocked

It almost felt as if winter was over today.

Thing is, I'm off to The Grand Tourmalet next week, so I'm praying for mega dump on Monday, then cold snap thereafter (with blue skies of course).
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@Pyremaniac, looks fantastic, I'm gutted I haven't been able to get to the Pyrenees this year so far and those photos are making it all the more painful.
I'm just going to rub salt into my wounds even more and link to the episode of Bon Appetit at Cambre d'aze and Puigmal

http://youtube.com/v/Ht2GFv2o6tU
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AlunAlun wrote:
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 Sad
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 Skullie . 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.


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Sun 2-02-20 23:45; edited 1 time in total
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Just back from a Snoworks Backcountry week in Baqueira.


http://youtube.com/v/7qzXK--vNHI

Spring like conditions today, but we did get some cracking snow before the temperature rise and rain Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
Temps dropping again, but much snow on the horizon.
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Excellent! Do you know which peaks the heli took you up to? (The skidoo was from Montgarri I assume)
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Skidoo was Montgarri.

Heli pick up behind Bagergue and dropped us at the top of Tuc d'Areho skied down, then skinned up to Tuc Dera Pincela, skied down and up to Bonh d'Arenho.
Then skied back to pick up point.
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Sounds and looks like it was a great trip!
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