Although the lifts aren’t open, the ski stations have had the pisting machines out to compact and preserve the snow. So as long as you’re prepared to walk up there are loads of great empty pistes to ski!
We headed to Panticosa which is the smaller of the two ski stations in the valley. There’s a great track that heads up through the woods and is not too steep. There’s not always snow right the way down to the village, but with all the recent snow, we could put our skis on right from the car park.
There were a lot of people out on touring skis. When I say a lot, I mean maybe a hundred – that’s more ski tourers I’ve seen in a day before, but nothing compared to the thousands that would be on the slopes if the lifts were open. As most travel isn’t allowed at the moment everyone out was local – we met about half of Biescas on the way up!
We climbed from the village up to the highest point of the resort – Mandilar. It’s a climb of about 1000 metres but pretty easy as it’s on the side of the pistes or the tracks through the forest. You get great views of the cliffs of both the Sierra de Tendeñera and Partacua towering above you. The views from Mandilar over the whole of the Valle de Tena and north into France are just wonderful – the mountains look great covered in snow again.
We looked down onto a frozen Ibon de Sabacos – readers that have been on our Village to Village holiday probably passed this lake but it’s unrecognisable from how it is in summer.
As always with ski touring it was a long way up for a quick ride down! After the first few hesitant turns of the season, it was a lovely ski down. Off-piste the snow was a bit wet and heavy so we just stuck to the piste and skied the whole way from the top to bottom