Stories from the Spanish Snow #InPyrenees
A love story
My relationship with snow is something of a love story. 28 years ago Stuart and I met over a leaflet for the university ski club; he was the club captain, and I was a fresher. He was a competent skier and I was rubbish. Our relationship developed in parallel with blue, red and green runs in France, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria and America. By the end of a decade, he was an expert skier and I was still rubbish.
A short story
And then we had kids.
Fine powder became something we put into nappies. The skis went into the attic. Skills were put on hold. Our first hand experience of skiing in European resorts shrunk to a day’s sledging with three children on the hill behind our house on the rare occasions the British weather threw some white stuff in our direction. A ride in the gondola and a leisurely run down a mountain became a memory of a child free existence. The idea of ski holiday with toddlers was too tantrum filled. With tweens too expensive. With pre-teens too complicated. We thought our story of snow had ended.
A new story
But now we are starting a new chapter. Or possibly even a new book. And like any good story, the premise is surprising. We are off to the Costa Brava; but not off to sunny Spain. For this is a different version of a British classic. We are heading to the snow; to the Catalonian mountains. And we are taking the kids.
A snow story
Of course, skiing in a ski resort isn’t a story; even if it turned out to be 50 shades of white. Our story will be about all the different things you can do in a resort. And not just in one. We’ll be whizzing around a network of Catalan ski resorts in the Pyrenees. We’ll begin in the two resorts that make up La Cerdanya; La Molina and La Masella.
La Molina is the oldest resort in Spain; with over 116 km of slopes and two snow parks. It has a sled pulling circuit for husky dogs and mushers. What’s a musher? We’ll be finding out when we have a go at being one by taking the reins of a husky dog and sled. We’ll then step onto a rather bigger sleigh when we ride in the snow grooming machines to find out what it’s like to groom pistes. And we’ll be taking the kids night skiing in the forested resort of La Masella to discover the darker side of snow.
At the Guils Fontanera resort, we’ll be strapping on nordic skis or snowshoes and heading out across a frozen desert, before catching a snow train up to the traffic free resort of Vall de Nuria to ski and toddle around the play park. At Vallter 2000 we’ll go trekking with crampons, then we’ll be snow bunnies at the Mollo Parc; Cap de Creus’ natural wildlife park, meeting up with the animals of the Pyrenees including bears, wolves and marmots.
We’ve been practising for our adventure at Kendal ski slope, teaching the kids to handle the ‘black dry snow’ in advance of our journey into white. It’s only 70 metres long but still managed to propel one local snowboarder into the British Olympic half pipe team, although there’s no sign of it doing that for us yet.
Over several sessions it has become apparent that Stuart is a as stylish on skis as ever. Cameron is a speed freak. Matthew thinks he’s invincible. Hannah is starting to pick up the plot. And I am still rubbish. But this family story of snow hasn’t yet begun. I’m sure there will be a few twists and turns during our winter trip to The Pyrenees. So stay tuned here on the blog and on social media and join the fun. Keep track on #InPyrenees.
Disclosure Note: Our thanks to Costa Brava Pireneu de Girona Tourist board for their support and assistance to enable us to bring you these stories from the Spanish Snow. As ever all the stories, opinions and experience, remain our own.