Catalonia: Thick Pine Forests; High Altitude Slopes -
To the north lies France and Andorra; to the east, the Mediterranean Sea. The Catalonian Pyrenees in northeast Spain is home to 10 ski resorts, including Baqueria-Beret, Vallter 2000, Boi-Taull, La Molina, Tavascan, Port-Aine, Espot Esqui, Masella, Vall de Nuria, and Port del Comte.
Baqueria-Beret is Spain's single largest resort and the most popular. Skiers and snowboarders of all levels are attracted to its sunny slopes, varied terrain, and lively après ski. It 86 kilometres of pistes (four green, 36 blue, 26 red, and six black) are linked by 26 modern lifts and reach a height of 2500 metres altitude. The resort enjoys reliable snow cover with skiing and riding above 2000 metres.
Baquieria-Beret also features seven kilometres of cross-country trails. Beginners will find the large ski school welcoming with its 200 instructors who are fluent in French, English, and Spanish. Snowboarders are also well catered for with a funpark and permanent halfpipe. The après ski in Baquieria-Beret is amongst the best in Catalonia, with plenty of lively bars, pubs, and a disco.
Vallter 2000 is set above the Ter River valley and offers stunning views. The ski area stretches for 19 kilometres and features 12 pistes, nine ski lifts, and an impressive 585 metres of vertical descent. At 2000 metres above altitude, Vallter benefits from reliable snowfall. It is a favourite with intermediate skiers and also offers a terrain park for snowboarders.
Boi-Taull boasts the highest ski slopes in the Pyrenees, reaching up to 2751 metres altitude. The resort is known for the natural, untouched surroundings of the Boi Valley and excellent snow cover. The village offers plenty of traditional charm with its traditional wooden chalets. Boi-Taull's 41 slopes appeal to all levels (eight green runs, seven blue, 19 red, and seven black). The town centre is well equipped with bars, restaurants, shops, a nightclub, spas, ski schools, and a snowpark for children.
La Molina is the oldest ski resort in Spain and continues to draw the crowds for its pretty pine tree-lined slopes, modern lift facilities, and extensive terrain. The resort's local ski area is made up of 40 pistes stretched across 50 kilometres. All levels of skier and snowboarder are well catered for with seven green runs, 12 blue, 15 red, and six black.
The modern lifts transport 16,000 skiers per hour. There is also four kilometres of cross-country trails through the forests. The larger resort of Masella sits next door and between them they offer more than 100 kilometres of runs. Non-skiers can enjoy husky-drawn sleigh rides, snow-shoe hiking, and hot air balloons rides.
The resort of Espot Esqui is a firm favourite with families for its children's nursery, playground, and gentle beginners' slopes. Port-Aine offers 44 kilometres of terrain for all levels with a skiable height of 2440 metres altitude. Non-skiers can enjoy dog sledging, snow biking, and snowshoeing.
Port del Comte is surrounded by beautiful scenery of thick pine forests and natural beauty. Its wide slopes are well suited for all levels, particularly families. The area is also home to the smaller, quieter resorts of Tavascan, with five slopes, and Vall de Nuria, with 10 slopes. The Catalan Pyrenees ski resorts are a 40 minutes drive from Girona Airport and railway station.