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Baqueira Beret


Hiding in plain sight is Europe's best ski resort - 120 km's of quiet & uncrowded slopes, medieval hillside villages & the affordable heli-skiing. What's not to love?!

This may be largely undiscovered by the British ski community, but it is - without any doubt from us - our favourite ski resort within a two-hour flight of the UK. Baqueira simply has so much going for it, let us try quantify exactly what...

First there is the terrain, it's sheer scale and character invites favourable comparison against the well known big-hitters in The Alps. But with nonexistent lift queues and an reasonable price tag - an outstanding meal in a decent restaurant with a delicious local red wine for less £15 per person - anyone? Add in the best snow cover in Europe in recent years, but with the optimal amount if sunshine  - its southerly latitude serves up bluebird perfection. And then there is the 400 square kilometers (plus) of heli-accessed backcountry, again at a pleasing cost, and a laid-back, tapas-tastic Spanish (sorry, Catalan!) ambiance. Actually, in this Pyrenean backwater they firstly speak Aranese (a vernacular exclusive to the surrounding Aran Valley), followed by Catalan, Spanish, and reluctantly a smidgen of French....but only for those of us with a GCSE to polish.

Skiing in Baqueira Beret

There are three main areas - Baqueira, Beret & Argulls, stretching across six main peaks. Actually, there is also a fourth area at La Bonaigua, so the total skiable area is immense, with a vertical drop of over 1,000 metres, beautifully manicured pistes (153 kilometers in total, largely long blue and red runs) and super-enticing off-piste side-country imploring exploration. The safe-ish terrain without boundaries makes it perfect for exploring on your own, but even better with a guide - there are many secret powders stashes to be discovered. This is then further bolstered by the immense heli-skiing possibilities.

Now, let's take the fact that we are in Spain in to consideration. No self-respecting local is on the mountain before late-(late)-morning - first tracks are all yours, and when they down-skis for a wine-fuelled late lunch at 2.30pm, once again empty slopes beckon. That is, of course, unless you join them.

Off Piste

The Pyrenees is your bounty. Stay with the resort boundaries for some forgiving first forays, head out with our guides for some serious terrain and epic lines and then skip the lift queues altogether and take a helicopter up the mountain to drop you off for your own private paradise. This is exactly why love the Val d'Aran.

Advanced

When in resort most of the skiing is intermediate, but interesting intermediate. And when you want to take it to the next level, then the Tubo Nere and Louis Arias runs are essentially steep mogul fields and the Orri de Tredos black run (a popular off-piste area before a new drag went up recently) follows a secluded route down a hidden valley between the Baciver and Baqueira peaks. There are alsoroutes left and right from the Cap, home to challenging blacks like the Luis Arias and Muguet.

But the piste-de-resistance is the formidable 'Escornacrabes' - variously translated as "where mountain goats go to tumble and die". It says it all, really - a steep couloir with an underpants-worrying entrance, though with epic and 'not-quite-as-scary-as-it-looked' rewards on the exit. And I should know...this was my first ever black-run as a 14-year-old boy, negotiated together with an equally worried but ultimately relieved father (retuning me to a rather angry mother, from what I remember).

Intermediate

Wonderful...simply wonderful. It's vast, its well-looked after, the runs are long, the snow is almost-always in great condition and nasty surprises are well-signposted away from the main pistes.

Beginners

Beginners will love the dedicated space just for them at the beginner park, which is reached via the Baqueira gondola. Here the easy-peasy Rabada and Pastores green runs give you the confidence required to graduate to the pleasant blues run from Beret through Baqueira and on to Bonaigua. Even the most nervous can ski the length of the resort.

Snowboarders

Because it is so ideally-suited for boarders, the International Snowboard Federation have held both slalom and half pipe events here. And its  easy to get around with far more chairs than the dreaded draglifts. They have installed a fun park and permanent half pipe over in Beret and the endless off-piste in Argulls is equally enticing for skiers & boarders alike. For the best extreme riding with large rocks forming jumps and natural gullies then head to the Chozas chairlift and keep left. 

Après Ski

Okay....it's Spain. No worries about finding a suitable place for a boozy lunch or a late evening drink around here. In the Val d'Aran the après-ski is every bit as important as the mountain, though in the purpose-built resort village of Baqueira it can be a little low-key for some, mainly centred around the hotel bars. The resort does have a disco - Pacha, usually the busiest , and Tuc Nere - as well as a few pubs and bars, but we'd suggest heading somewhere a little more authentic in the evenings - the villages of Arties, Salardu and Tredòs are just down the valley and have wonderful tapas bars and fine restaurants tucked away down cobbled alleyways. A government-subsidised bus service links it all together.

As one would expect, nothing really gets going until after 9pm. A respectable time for dinner is 10pm - get yourselves on the Iberian body-clock. If you insist on your Britishness, you can dine in an otherwise empty restaurant at 8pm, but no earlier.

Family Suitability

Each of the three areas has its own snowpark where children from 3 up to 6 years can sign up for kindergarten. Modern and well equipped with safety in mind all the snowparks have baby sized beginner lifts and staff especially trained in childcare. There is also a crèche for younger children from 3 months to 3 years at La Borda Lobato next to Hotel Montmarto in Baqueira 1500. Older children from 6 to 12 years can join childrens' ski school. For indoor activities there is a huge sports centre in nearby Vielha with heated pool, ice rink, gym, sauna and solarium.

RESORT SCORECARD

Snowsure:  

Beginners:  

Intermediate:  

Advanced:  

Snowboarders:  

Après Ski:  

Families:  

Season:  December - April

Base elevation:  1,500 metres

Top elevation:  2,516 metres

Vertical drop:  1,016 metres

Number of lifts:  35

Number of runs:  99

Longest run:  6km

Access:  You fly to either Toulouse in France or, a little further, Barcalona in Spain. It's then two-hours (a bit more, from Barcalona) to the remote Val d'Aran. We can arrange flights, and then private transfers or car hire - your call.

Suggested Itineraries featuring Baqueira Beret

These suggested itineraries will give you a starting point for what your ski holiday to the Spanish Pyrenees could entail. We hope these itineraries will inspire, excite and inform you as we begin the planning process. They’re not set departures or tours, as every holiday we plan is completely tailor-made for you - treat them as inspiration only.

The Baqueira Ski Week

Baqueira / Beret

Duration: one week

A European ski holiday...but improved with a Pyrenean twist. 

from £1,130 per person, including flights

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Pyrenean Heliski Weekend

Baqueira / Beret & Val d'Aran

Duration: 5 days

Two days heliskiing and one day exploring Baqueira / Beret. The perfect long weekend.

from £1,350 per person, including flights

Read More

Baqueira, Barça & Heliski

Baqueira, Val d'Aran & Barcelona

Duration: 1 week

Our dream holiday - Europe's best ski resort, Europe's best city & a day (or two) heliskiing.

from £1,420 per person, including flights

Read More

Prices are indicative only and include accommodation (low season), lift passes, transfers and – because we are ATOL-bonded – your flights from the UK. Different Snow can also include ski hire, backcountry and off-piste tours, rail passes, private transfers, English-speaking guides, cultural excursions and activities.

Accommodation

Baqueira village is purpose-built...but in an ever-so-tasteful wood and stone way, as opposed to a French built concrete monstrosity. However, you don’t have to base yourself in the resort itself if you don't want, as there are some wonderful small villages (such as Arties, Salardu and Tredòs) on the way up the valley, each with tapas loads of character and easy transport links. 

Val de Neu

Grand luxury at its most refined, a sumptuous hotel in the resort village, next to the lifts.

Perfectly situated in the centre of Baqueira, just 50 metres from the new gondola, the Hotel Val de Neu is the ski hotel in Spain. There's a proud boast, but this is a hotel that can back it up all th way. Built in local wood and slate, the Val de Neu combines traditional Spanish style with state-of-the-art facilities. There are three restaurants - El Bosque specializes in traditional local cuisine, while El Fondue offers typical mountain fayre, such as fondue or raclette. El Bistro caters for those after something a little lighter. You'll also find an outstanding spa, wonderfully cosy lounge bar with open fire, sauna and a really inviting swimming pool. All told, class....pure class.

La Pleta

One of the 'Small Luxury Hotels of the World', La Pleta has the views, the style & the exclusivity.

Wow - just 'wow'. With a distinctly mountain lodge feel, this 68-room is pure elegance - think guest rooms with every every modern comfort and oversized beds piled high with  throw cushions, exquisite spas, heated flooring and large, plush slate bathrooms. The principal restaurant, Del Gel al Foc, serves a creative international cuisine with a Catalonian twist , whilst La Petita Borda serves lighter lunches and the hotel also has its own a sushi restaurant  for something a little lighter at lunch, try the sun-drenched restaurant.

The complimentary hotel shuttle bus runs to the ski lift station and the hotel also has an in-house ski shop, boot butler service and mountain picnic service.

Val de Ruda Apartments

A selection of luxury two, three & four bedroom apartments.

Stylish is the word in this pleasant 'village-within-a-village' of apartments, located right by the slopes at Baqueira Beret's 1500 m elevation mark. Each is ever-so-tasteful and attention to detail is a hallmark throughout, each featuring cosy nice living rooms (with fireplace), integrated kitchens, and divine sumptuous beds (some bedrooms have bunk-beds, most bedrooms are en-suite). Many, though not all, of the apartments have a terrace and all, and I mean all, are a treat to return home to after a day on the mountains.

Hotel Himàlaia

A Nepalise inspired hotel, in the heart of the main resort village. Facilities, style & comfort.

A large, modern hotel in the very heart of the village, next to the new Valle de la Ruda lift, with direct access to the ski area. There are 117 double rooms , 21 duplex and three junior suites - all well-equipped, contemporary and wonderfully comfortable with underfloor heating and air conditioning. Within the hotel you'll also find a wonderful spa with hydro massage showers, sauna, steam baths, ex foliating snow bank, ice fountain, hydro massage pool with bubble fountain, foot bath, and relaxation zone with wooden recliners. The restaurant is outstanding and the location can't be beaten. It also happens to be the best smelling hotel we've ever stayed in.

Casa Irene, Artiers

Down in the valley, nestled in a pleasant village, you'll find our favourite hotel in Val d'Aran.

It's only a short drive in one direction up the valley to Baqueira, the other way down the valley to the heli-ski base. And in the middle is Casa Irene, located in the impossibly atmospheric, characterful little village of Artiers, which in turn is made up of fine restaurants, tapas-serving bars and friendly locals. The hotel itself is undoubtedly luxurious, rather stylish, though has wonderfully homely Alpine guest rooms and a spa to die for (with swimming pool). But the main feature they would want to shout about is the restaurant - regarded across the valley as one the best exponents of Spanish, Catalan, indeed Aranese cuisine.

You won't find this on anyone else's website - this is one of Different Snows 'little secrets',of which we are justifiably proud.

Val de Ruda Hotel

A charming, rustic & homely hotel close to the slopes. Great food and character a-plenty.

Not only is the Val de Ruda one of the most charming hotels in the Aran valley, it is also one of the best located - right in Baqueira itself, just a stone’s throw from the lifts. And there is more to this rabbit-warren of a hotel than it's home-from-home rooms - the spa is most unexpected and the dinners exceptional. This is a place in which to find a quiet corner, ideally next to the open fire and simply relax in to.

Activities

A private guide in the Baqueira / Beret area is money very well spent. And we know the best of the best - the company we exclusively use are local, passionate, professional, experienced, friendly and, quite simply, lovely people. Justly proud of the region, they will deliver one of the best ski (or boarding) days of your life, be it resort-guided, ski-touring or heliski. And speaking of whirlybirds - this is without equivocation, some of the best heliskiing in Europe (covering a massive area) at prices a mere fraction of what you'd pay in Switzerland or Italy

Alternatively, snow shoes, snow mobiles and even huskies can help you further explore the remotest corners of this snowbound valley.

Mountain Guiding in Baqueira

A full day with a local guide, unlocking the secrets of Baqueira, Beret, Argulls & La Bonaigua.

A professional mountain guide will show you the slopes of Baqueira Beret, orientating you, revealing t he powder stashes, explaining the three valleys and tenabling y ou to make the most of your remaining time in the resort. All they need is five hours and the max group size for one guide is six persons.

Heliski - Classic or Premium

Two affordable day packages, with a ratio of four (plus guide) to the 'copter.

The 'Classic' day offers a great introduction to heliskiing over carefully selected terrain, at a pace suited to your experience. You can pay for either three, four or five runs.

The 'Premium' package is designed for skiers looking for the perfect powder snow and the untouched slopes. A vast territory of 400 square kilometers, with between 3,000 meters and 1,500 meters of altitude for you and your friends.There will be a minimum of 5 runs over the day, perhaps more.

Private Heliski

It's simple - the heli is yours and it comes with a locally knowledgeable, professional guide.

The “private” formula allows you to enjoy the privilege of being provided with a helicopter exclusively for your group. You will be skiing among friends, on your own rhythm, not depending on other groups. You design your own heliski experience with our guides! Your group will be lead by two guides at least.

The Helirando Experience

Take a helicopter ride to a remote spot...then spend the rest of the day creating fresh tracks.

First thing in the morning a short helicopter flight will take you - along with your private guide - to the heart of the mountains, avoiding the valley approaches that are often long and arduous. By these means you take full advantage of the full day skiing, in the remotest of mountain areas. Once the helicopter has dropped you off, you are straight in to your first descent and from that moment on, together with the guide, you will select where the next run will be - the helicopter having now left you to your own devices.

Off-Piste Experience

Want to discover a white world away from the corduroy pistes?

An ideal day for snow lovers that want to improve their technique in powder snow. High Mountain Guide and safety equipment included. Max of six persons.

Ski Touring

Our local partners have the knowledge, passion and equipment - they invite you to join them.

A full day to disconnect from civilization and re-connected with nature, in the beautiful area of Val d’Aran. Just you and your own guide and the wilderness to explore.

Snowshoeing

More than a stroll in the snow, this half or full day gets you really out and in amongst it.

Head off with a guide to discover your own enclave of powdery solitude. We can organise full (eight hours) or half day (four hours) excursions, either on a private basis.

Dogsledding & Dinner

Sled to the remote Montgarri Hut for a traditional dinner, accompanied by these magnificent dogs.

An utterly bespoke and unique experience - get pulled by the huskies to remote Montgarri Hut, where dinner is served. You are accompanied by a musher / guide and each sled seats three adults (or two adults and two children). A truly magical experience.

Snowmobiles to the Montgarri Hut

Daytime or evening excursion to an abandoned remote village, for lunch or dinner.

You can't have more fun on the snow then when on an snow mobile - fact. A remote path takes you across a coll, towards the next valley and eventually you reach the Montgarri Hut. Lunch or dinner is served, depending on what time of day you booked for. The cost includes your guide, your lunch or dinner, a Polaris 550 two-seater snowmobile (extra cost for per person snow mobiles), helmet, accident and civil liability insurance.

Ski Concierge

Baqueira is a compact resort village, everything you need within very easy walking distance. We'll take care of ski hire, lift passes, local transport, ski lessons, powder guiding, heliskiing, excursions...even restaurant reservations if you'd like us to.

Lift Passes

Affordable, notably cheaper than elsewhere in Europe. Depending on your itinerary you may not need a multi-day pass covering Baqueira Beret, if you are heading off in the helicopter for a day or two - we'll tailor the arrangements to get maximum value.

Senior discounts kick in for those over 70, as they do for kids up to the age of 11.

Equipment Hire

If you book your equipment through us, our guys in the valley sort you out. If it's backcountry gear you are after, then they have their own stock. If it's simply decent all-mountain ski's or boards, then we know the best retailers in the village and we'll take you there to pick up your hire kit.

Lessons

There is a  very well-regarded English-speaking local ski school and we can happily get you booked in. However, for private lessons we use our local partners - because they are the best (and very friendly). We can book lessons by the hour or by the day.

Travel Insurance

Winter sports travel insurance is an important part of your holiday booking and we strongly recommend that you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy to cover all your winter sports holiday requirements. We're happy to be able to offer our customers a 10% discount on all policies from Ski Club Travel Insurance.

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