Vall de Núria
The Vall de Núria resort lies in a peaceful valley 2000 metres above sea level and surrounded by dramatic peaks. It can only be accessed by a ‘zip train’ from nearby Queralbs, and the lack of cars and its compact size makes this a great option for families. There are just seven kilometres of pistes, many of which are for beginners. For younger non-skiers, the snowpark with sledging and tubbys (like big inflatable tyres) is close at hand. The resort has a large, reasonably-priced hotel with a restaurant and bar.
Just a two-hour drive from Barcelona, in the green Vall de Camprodon, is the relaxed resort of Vallter 2000. Small and family-friendly, there are 18 kilometres of downhill skiing with plenty of beginners’ slopes. You can’t stay at the resort itself, but there are several picturesque towns nearby, such as Camprodon and Setcases a few kilometres away. Check the resort’s website for local accommodation suggestions.
Port del Compte
This is the closest resort to Barcelona and ideal for beginners and families. There are lots of easy runs through woodlands and it’s often less busy than some of its more popular neighbours. The two-star Hotel Serhs is perfectly positioned at the foot of the beginners’ slopes, making a family weekend easy to navigate. Non-skiing children (and adults) can have some fun in the snow with the tubbys.
Thanks to its location just below the Pic de l’Orri peak and with 95 percent of its slopes north-facing, Port Ainé enjoys excellent snow quality when other resorts are getting out the snow canons. There are 32 kilometres of pistes and a snowboarding zone which offers plenty of challenges even for the most advanced snowboarder. If you can afford to splash out, the Port Ainé hotel (the highest hotel in the Pyrenees) is conveniently located right at the foot of the slopes.
At 2,750 metres, and set in stunning surroundings, Boí Taüll is the highest ski resort in the Pyrenees. It offers a wide range of winter sports, including snowshoe trails and ice climbing. Located in the Vall de Boí, 270 kilometres from Barcelona, the resort is relatively quiet.
La Molina and Masella
With 53 skiable kilometres, La Molina is a popular destination for Barcelona residents as it’s one of the easiest to reach without a car (the train takes about two-and-a-half hours from Sants station). Non-skiers can also enjoy the Parc de les Arbres, a treetop adventure park which is open all year round.
From La Molina you can reach neighbouring Masella by a telecabina which links the two. This larger resort has 68 kilometres of slopes, many of which glide through thick pine forest. There’s also a great snowpark, La Pleta, for snowboarders of all levels.
Thanks to its patronage by the Spanish royal family, Baqueira Beret is Catalunya’s most upmarket ski resort and frequently pops up in the winter editions of Hola. Its three separate ski bases, Baqueira, Beret and Bonaigua, make up the largest ski area in Spain, offering a total of 146 kilometres of long, wide runs. Located in the Vall d’Aran, 200 kilometres north of Barcelona, its westernly aspect ensures good quality snow and the longest skiing season in Catalunya. For those looking to relax a little after a hard day’s skiing, this resort also offers the most aprés ski options, with lots of good restaurants, bars and spas.
Located in Pallars Sobirà, Espot Esqui enjoys an enviable position beside the lush pine forests of the Aiguëstortes and Sant Maurici National Park. The resort offers 30 kilometres of skiing including some steep black runs. Non-skiers can go sledging with dogs and take snowshoe trails.
The small resort of Tavascán, nestled in the lush Mascarida valley, is the only Catalan resort that offers both alpine and cross-country skiing. Friendly and popular with skiers of all levels, Tavascán offers seven downhill runs, two of which are black. The eight-kilometre cross-country track allows you to take things a little slower and enjoy the area’s incredible natural beauty.