Halfway November the weather in Barcelona is sunny, warm with about 19 degrees, no wind and blue skies. But on one of those regular November mornings I woke up to find out that all of my clean clothes, that were supposed to be drying in the sun, were getting soaked instead by heavy rain. So instead of rushing outside to get them in, I rushed to my couch, where I had my Macbook, to check the webcams in the Pyrenees. I knew there was already a lot of snow in La Mongie on the French side, but I was getting my hopes up for some options closer to Barcelona. Since La Mongie would still be a 7 hours drive away.
My suspicion was quickly confirmed when I saw that webcams in Andorra were showing images of snowy highways, white villages and foggy cams with snowflakes falling in front of them. After checking out about 20 webcams at 20 different resorts I decided to take my clothes in. It was still raining, which it would keep on doing for the next three days. Which meant the Pyrenees were continuously getting pounded.
A week later there was more than 150 cm of Fresh Pow in the entire Pyrenees, except for the western part. And more snow was expected! And it was still only November 22nd.
Grandvalira: here I come!
When a new dump came on the maps for November 30th I decided I had to be there. About 30cm of fresh was expected to hit Andorra and that day is also the day on which the resort Grandvalira would open. With that much snow coming in that day I didn´t really expect it to be busy so it would be the perfect weekend to go. I found a cheap place to stay in Pas de La Casa, rented a car and was ready to go.
We arrived in Pas de la Casa on Friday evening. There already was a lot of snow in the village. But still clear skies. So after some cheese fondue we went to sleep waking up the next morning in the middle of heavy snowfall.
Heading out to the lifts, there was already about 40cm of fresh snow. And it continued snowing! The beauty of our timing was that there was almost nobody in the area and because it started snowing at night, the slopes weren´t prepared. That means that every decent, both within the controlled area as well as outside provided a blanc canvas to sign with our lines. Snow was at some points almost knee deep, great conditions.
The entire morning and afternoon we went into the Grau Roig sector. Because there was almost nobody, we had most places to ourself! As if they opened the lifts for us.
It doesn´t snow as frequently here as in the Alps. But when it starts snowing, it starts snowing hard. Really hard. In the late afternoon the wind was picking up. The lifts were closing. That meant that we had to go back to Pas de la Casa.
Next day we woke up, blue bird, no wind and powder everywhere. The avalanche report still wasn´t available yet, but there had been a lot of wind. So we pretty much had to plan our routes by not riding to steep and staying between the trees in the Soldeu sector. We did a few runs here through untracked pow and enjoyed the sun with a big smile on our faces!
Lots of Fresh Pow
Hiking mellow terrain
By the end of the day we dug out and loaded up the car. Bought some autosocks in the village for our rental to get of the mountain (no cars with winter tires in Barcelona) and drove back from Grandvalira to Barcelona with a big smile on our faces!
Have you been in Grandvalira on a powder day? What do you think of Grandvalira? Any tips and tricks? Let us know!