Friday, 27 January 2023, 11:04
Skiing and snowboarding are not the only activities to be enjoyed in the mountains during the coldest months of the year. Spending time in the snow is becoming more popular nowadays and when the first flakes begin to fall many people's thoughts turn to the idea of planning a trip to the Pyrenees or the Sierra Nevada.
While some may dream of gliding down the slopes on a snowboard or on skis between December and March, others have different ideas of how to have fun at this cold and snowy time of year.
Quite a few winter resorts now offer a variety of alternative activities in the snow, including snowshoeing routes, sledging and snowmobile rides, but these are only a few of the many ways there are to enjoy the wintry white mountains when the weather permits.
This country in the Pyrenees is one of the best places for snowshoeing routes and this is a favourite option for nature lovers who want to enjoy the mountains in a different way during the winter months.
It is one of the most accessible activities because you don't have to be very fit to enjoy it nor are previous lessons necessary. The hiker chooses a route according to the level of difficulty, and the advantage of Andorra is that it has routes for all ages within the Grandvalira Resorts complex, which encompasses the ski resorts of Grandvalira, Ordino Arcalís and Pal Arinsal.
These routes can be done alone, in a group or even with a guide for those who do not know the area well. The important thing is that snowshoeing enables you to enjoy the beautiful snowy landscapes, which would otherwise not be possible.
The Trineo Ruso, or Russian Sleigh, is a star attraction of the Sierra Nevada ski resort. Getting its name from the Spanish for rollercoaster - montaña rusa, or Russian mountain - the attraction is located in the Mirlo Blanco winter amusement park. Other activities there include ice skating and tobogganing.
Seeming endless bends, steep drops and straight stretches make up this circuit, which is as entertaining for adults as it is children. It is the perfect activity to get the adrenalin surging and at the time thoroughly enjoy the snow without having to put skis on to do it.
Another fun thing to do in Andorra is to take a snowmobile trip. This is a great adventure for anyone who likes new experiences when the mountains are covered in snow.
It is a unique way of discovering the infinity of high mountain woodlands and tracks and to explore the Moretó forest in the Grau Roig area of this famous Andorran ski resort.
When the Formigal ski station closes for the day, the Sallent chairlift is opened for just a few privileged visitors. This famous lift takes you up to a restaurant in the heart of Formigal where, after a delicious meal with spectacular views of the mountain, the fun begins: descending on a classic wooden toboggan down an illuminated 2.5-kilometre-long run with slopes to suit all tastes.
This unique experience under the stars is perfect for those who are looking for a different and exciting way of enjoying the snow.
The Cerler ski resort also offers the chance to dine at an altitude of over 2,000 metres but this time there is no need for a chairlift or a snowmobile. The ski-ratrack machine, the type used to pull skiers up the slopes, is used to transport customers to the restaurant.
This is an opportunity to enjoy the best of local traditional cuisine and delicious desserts, and is the perfect finishing touch to one of the most attractive experiences on this side of the Pyrenees.
Enjoying the snow does not mean forfeiting good food, although some people have the idea that winter sports and haute cuisine are strangers to each other. More and more ski resorts are now offering authentic foodie experiences and Baqueira Beret is a pioneer in this respect.
In addition to the beautiful scenery of the Val d'Aran there are a number of premium restaurants where you can enjoy some of the country's best Iberian cured meats, delicious snacks and excellent grilled meats. And to whet your appetite you could try some tapas at the foot of the slopes or a glass of champagne in the chill-out areas while admiring the views over the mountains.
The perfect end to a winter getaway is to explore the beautiful villages which are scattered through the valleys of the Pyrenees and Sierra Nevada.
The smell of wood smoke from the chimneys, hot chocolate, snowy landscapes, strolls through cobbled streets and even a spa session while the snow falls are just some of the evocative experiences associated with a trip to the mountains in the winter, a chance to create happy memories which will never be forgotten.