The magical experience of skiing in the Pyrenees is hardly a secret. People from all over Europe head to the mountains just a two-hour drive from Barcelona to play in the powder. Most, however, stay on the French side of the range. But we’re here to divulge the varied adventures you can have in the Catalan Pyrenees.
#1 Vall de Núria
Surrounded by dramatic peaks, Vall de Núria itself lies in a peaceful valley. The unforgettable views of a long, symmetrical hotel built next to an ancient shrine, with ski slopes disappearing into the brilliant sunlight and children everywhere on sledges is well worth the effort to get there. The ski resort can only be accessed via the cremallera (zip train) from nearby Queralbs, but the lack of cars and the areas compact size make this the perfect getaway for families.
Head to the giant play-park, Parc Ludic, at one point to tackle their wintry ropes course and try your hand at snow tubing. Slipping and sliding down a hill on what is essentially a big, inflatable tyre is sure to leave you in stitches. For the actual skiers in your clan, there are just seven kilometres of piste, mostly aimed at beginners. If you are an intermediate skier then you may struggle to find runs that suit you – there are lots of nursery runs, and some expert runs, but not many in between.
More information about ski passes and room rates here.
#2 La Molina
La Molina likes to be first. It was the first ski resort to be built in Catalunya, with the first ski lift and the first ski school in the country. Offering everything from sledging slopes and snowmobiles, to nighttime snow grooming tours and more than 60 kilometres of piste, this wide and open resort still remains family-friendly. Novice skiers and experts alike will enjoy themselves here, with many easy runs starting right from the top of the mountain and most slopes gliding through picturesque pine forest.
An advantage of choosing La Molina for a white weekend is that it is one of the easiest ski resorts in the Catalan Pyrenees to reach without a car. The train takes about two and a half hours from Sants station in Barcelona and drops you at the bus that, upon request, stops at the main hotels on the way to the resort, as well as the official stop at La Molina central offices—the location of the Alp 2500 Gondola lift area and Pista Llarga slope.
More information on all the activities available at La Molina, plus resort and package information here.
#3 Vallter 2000
Vallter is affectionately called ‘the Mediterranean resort of the Pyrenees’ because of its bright blue sky and hot sun. And while its minimal facilities make it harder to go to the bathroom whenever you want and warm up with a steaming cup of hot chocolate, the raw surroundings give this ski spot a wilder feel. It is the farthest east of any of the ski resorts in the Pyrenees, accounting for its good snow in springtime when eastern winds transform mist from the sea. Vallter 2000 is a mountain station, situated 2,000 metres above the valley of the River Ter. Due to its advantageous position, visitors can enjoy extraordinary panoramic views of the Costa Brava—specifically the bay of Roses—from the terrace of the café-bar Les Marmotes situated at 2,535 metres.
A unique feature of Vallter 2000 is its round trip ski lift. The up-and-back-down concept allows everyone to enjoy outdoor sports and mountain action like downhill skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing, ski mountaineering, ice climbing, snow camps, freerides and more.
You could make this a day trip, but if you’re looking for a weekend break, the charming town of Setcases, just a few kilometres from the slopes, makes a good base. Everything you need to plan your trip here.
Before the colder weather starts to wane, get out to one of these fantastic family ski resorts in the Catalan Pyrenees for some winter sun and snowy fun.