Stories from the Spanish Snow #InPyrenees

Boots in the Lake District Snow Boots in the Lake District Snow
Vakkter 2000 ©Maria Geli and Pilar Planagumà. Images Archive PTCBG. Vakkter 2000 ©Maria Geli and Pilar Planagumà. Images Archive PTCBG.
Dry slope skiing Kendal Dry slope skiing Kendal
Spanish Skiing in the Pyrenees ©Àlex Tremps. Images Archive PTCBG Spanish Skiing in the Pyrenees ©Àlex Tremps. Images Archive PTCBG
Mother and Daughter in the Snow at sunset Mother and Daughter in the Snow at sunset

Stories from the Spanish Snow #InPyrenees

Kirstie Profile Small Stories from the Spanish Snow #InPyrenees

There’s nothing that symbolises winter like a snow flake; a statement that was recently proved when a single flake clung on to the global spotlight, ousting an Olympic Ring in the process. Its historic moment on the world stage was perhaps more meaningful to us than most as we’re about to get familiar with some snowflakes of our own. For the first time in our family’s history we’re off to play in the snow in a European resort. But we’re not going where you might expect, and we’re not doing what you might expect either…

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.

DSC00808 Stories from the Spanish Snow #InPyrenees

Snow is not all about skis. Think dogs, boots, crampons, snowshoes, sledges. 

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.

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This is about as far as my family snow story has got… sledging in the back field!

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.

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We’ve even been doing some training… on dry black snow

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.

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Snowboarding in the Pyrenees. Image ©Àlex Tremps. Images Archive PTCBG

A prologue

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.

VALLTER 2000.009 Stories from the Spanish Snow #InPyrenees

Vallter 2000 ©Maria Geli and Pilar Planagumà. Images Archive PTCBG.

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.

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Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of the project, the misadventure magnet part of the partnership and a busy mum.

7 Responses to “Stories from the Spanish Snow #InPyrenees” Subscribe

  1. Thomas Arbs February 13, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    Yee-hah! You will have fun! You will be mushers! Oh how I envy you that, far more than all the skiing in the area. Which will be fun, too, and I don’t believe your rubbish claims at all. Bet you’re about as good as I am, which is, well not totally rubbish, but clearly still the one dragged behind by the rest of the family.

  2. Mums do travel February 14, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    You’re going to have such a great time and I can’t wait to hear all about it.

  3. Gill Harvey February 14, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

    We skied in La Molina 3 or 4 years ago and had a fabulous time. Its a hairy drive up there, round and round the mountain but worth it! Great pistes for beginners. My son was about 9 at the time and had had a couple of lessons on dry ski slopes before we went. The Greens are very Green and the Reds are very Red if that makes sense! Loved the different little circuits you can do to link with different lifts and after 20 years off the snow it was enough for me to pootle about with my Dad and my Son on blue runs that suited us all. I no longer felt the need to dare myself down an icy Black because it was there. A couple of runs around a circuit and a coffee or a beer in the sun at the bottom (watching everyone else) was lovely. Cool snow park too with rails and jumps the kids can manage easily after a couple of days. Much fun!
    So jealous, have a fantastic time x

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