Winter has arrived early in the Pyrenees and it’s been snowing for most of November in the mountains, right down to village level.
Formigal and Astun ski stations both opened last Saturday (16th Nov) – I’ve never known them to open that early before. From today Panticosa and Candanchu are also open. The snow is fantastic! Probably better than at any stage last season and there’s a good covering on and off-piste with plenty of powder. Great news for all those signed up to our snowshoeing holiday in Feb/March as this snowfall has set up a great base that should last all season.
We’ve taken advantage of the snow and headed out both on the ski’s with the family to Formigal and on snowshoes to the peak of Errata.
Last week we ran our first snowshoeing holiday and it was a brilliant week with excellent routes, fantastic views and sunshine every day! We did five routes during the week – three in the Valle de Tena, one from Somport and one in the Ordesa Valley.
On the summit of Pico Canal Roya
There were five intrepid guests with varying level of snowshoe experience, but all did brilliantly so we got to do some great days and reached a couple of high summits.
Snowshoeing out from Portalet
The weather couldn’t have been better – clear blue skies all week, not a breath of wind and perfect temperatures. The snow line is quite high this year so all of our routes started from quite high altitude. The Portalet pass on the French/Spanish border in the Valle de Tena is perfect for this as it has an altitude of nearly 1800 metres and always good snow conditions.
Next February we are running a guided snowshoeing holiday in the Valle de Tena. We’ve been asked about this lots of times by readers of the blog, so hopefully some of you will be able to come and join us for this advenure!
Snowshoeing near Portalet
Snowshoeing is brilliant fun and requires no previous experience or technical skills – if you can hike you can snowshoe! We’ll teach you all the techniques you need to know during your stay. It’s a great way of discovering the mountains in winter. The scenery is simply beautiful and the winter really is a magical time to be in the mountains.
The great snow conditions continue in the Pyrenees and yesterday we got the snowshoes out. The weather didn’t look that great up the valley so we headed across to Cotefablo – the pass halfway between Biescas and Ordesa/Torla. It’s south of the high cliffs of the Sierra de Tendeñera so gets much better weather than just 10km north on the other side of the cliffs!
Many of our guests will know the spot as we sometimes head here in the summer to hike up to the summits of Pelopin or Erata. It’s nice and high at around 1500metres so there’s usually snow right from the off. Yesterday we headed in the other direction to the north to the peak of Toronzué (2263m).
The ‘A-Team’ – Gustavo, Brecas and David
Four of us headed out – David our guide who I’m sure spme of you will have hiked with, Gustavo and Brecas two friends from Biescas and Ruby our dog who had her first winter mountain day and had the most fun of us all!
Heading out from Cotefablo
What are you thinking about doing this weekend?
I wondered the same question last week and I decided to go snowshoeing. On the border with France, at the head of the Valle de Canfranc there are some fantastic snowshoeing routes.
Making fresh tracks in the snow – fantastic!
I decided to go to “El Bosque de las Hayas” or Beech Forest; between Candanchu and France. You can park at the ski resort and head out from there.