With the holidays over, the tourists gone and the pistes empty once again I headed up to Formigal yesterday for my first days skiing of the season.
We’ve had a lot of snow over the Christmas period – a couple of really big dumps but mixed in with a few days of rain and some high winds so I’ve heard varying reports of the snow conditions so was keen to check it out for myself.
I’m happy to say there’s loads of snow and conditions are fantastic for the time of year. In both Formigal and Panticosa virtually every piste and lift is open. This is a vast improvement on the last cuple of seasons when during January the snow was very thin on the ground. I’m not saying it’s the best snow I’ve ever skied on but for this time of year it’s great and there’s lots more snow on teh forecast and I think we’re in for a great ski season.
It was a beautiful day at Formigal with perfect temperatures (just below zero), sunshine and very little wind. It was great to be out on the ski’s again even if the first few turns of the season were a bit rusty! One of my favourite runs called ‘Bosque’, which runs right from the top of the station to the bottom, was open – some years this doesn’t have enough snow on it to open all season.
I mainly stayed on piste, but one of the of the great things about Formigal is the amount of off piste areas you can reach using the lifts (free ride zones I think the trendy boarders call it!) so I headed off piste a few times. There has been a lot of wind so the snow off piste is quite variable but in general there’s good depth with some powder. There’s quite a bit of wind slab around so you need to be aware of avalanche risk when heading off piste.
As usual midweek there was hardly anyone around so there was no lift queues and several times I found myself the only one on a piste.
All of the resorts in the Pyrenees – both on the French and Spanish side – are reporting good snow conditions at the moment. With plenty more snow on the forecast over the next week or so, if you’re heading to the Pyrenees to ski or snowshoe you should be in for a treat!