Sangria And Skiing: Baqueira-Beret In The Spotlight
Look out Chamonix, Jackson Hole, Verbier and Whistler – there’s a new kid on the ski block and it goes by the name of Baqueira-Beret!
At this point you’ll either be nodding knowingly if you’ve heard of Baqueira or frantically googling because you have no idea where we’re talking about.
Having visited the resort for the first time last winter our MD Richard Edwards fell immediately in love with the town, the skiing, the mountains and the people of Baqueira-Beret. In this blog Richard explains just exactly what it is that makes Baqueira-Beret so special and gives us ten reasons why it’s right up there on his list of all-time favourite resorts.
1. The Snow
Baqueira-Beret has an unbelievable snow record. Located in the Aran Valley in the Pyrenees, Baqueira faces north towards the Atlantic so the moisture-laden air collides with cold mountain air, producing an average of 9 meters of snow per annum. That’s more than enough for a faceshot frenzy.
2. The Access
It might sound incredibly exotic but Baqueira-Beret is actually really easy to access. Simply jump on an EasyJet or British Airways flight to Toulouse then hop in a car and 2 hours later you’re in Spanish ski heaven. Simple.
3. The Terrain
There’s a great mixture of both on-piste and off-piste skiing to be found in Baqueira-Beret. The resort extends into 4 valleys, giving access to 120km of top-quality piste skiing guaranteed to put huge smiles on the faces of intermediate skiers whilst the off piste will more than hold the attentions of those looking for steep and deep action.
4. The Heli-Skiing
Heli-skiing in Europe? Yup, it’s possible in Baqueira-Beret. Spain is one of the few European countries where it’s legal to heli-ski and what’s better, it’s actually pretty affordable. Prices start at around 300 Euros per person for 2 heli-drops and include the services of a qualified guide, safety briefing and all the gear necessary to take you off piste safely including fat skis, avalanche transceivers and airbags etc.
5. The Food
Forget fromage, it’s all about the tapas in Baqueira-Beret. There’s something really special about finishing up on the hill and heading into a bar for a spot of après and a selection of fantastic local bites.
S&B Insider Tip – “It’s also worth taking a drive to Vielha and the Tauèrna Urtau for a some amazing tapas. You select as much as you desire and pay at the end when you present your tapas ‘sticks’ to the staff who charge according to the stick size and number!”
6. The Accommodation
There’s something for all motivations and budgets in Baqueira – from 3 star to 5 star hotels, luxury chalets, apartments and B&Bs. Let us know what kind of place you’d like to stay in and we’ll sort it for you.
7. The Service
The welcome you’ll receive in Baqueira-Beret will stay with you for a long time – open, friendly, helpful and fit for a King.
S&B Insider Tip – If you’re lucky you might even spot a King during your ski trip as Baqueira-Beret is a favourite destination for the Spanish Royal Family. Oh and ‘Queen Victoria’ Beckham also skied here when David was playing for Real Madrid!
8. The Adventure Potential
Baqueira-Beret is a real winter playground with dog sledding, ski touring, heli-skiing and snowmobiling all on the adventure menu. You can even take a night ride to the refuge at Montgarri for a fine steak and red wine cooked to perfection over an open fire! There’s also a British ski school in the resort which is a fantastic resource.
S&B Insider Tip – A particular favourite outing was a trip to the abandoned village of Montagarri and dinner at the Amics de Montgarri Mountain Lodge. Situated at the far northeast end of Aran Valley, this spectacular mountain lodge is an amazing place to visit for dinner where they cook huge steaks over an open fire. You can also stay overnight if you’re ski touring or taking part in any of the other activities on offer nearby.
9. The Crowd Pleaser
Baqueira-Beret is great for everyone from families and friends to adventure-seeking individuals or mixed ability groups. It may sound like a cliché but there really is something for everyone here. Whether you want to ski together or split up for the day to try out different activities, you’ll join up again at the end of the day to swap adventure stories over plates of delicious tapas and a few glasses of vino tinto!
10. The Spanish Pace Of Life
Forget frantic first lift chasing and holiday lift queues, the pace in Baqueira-Beret is far more laid back. Locals rarely start skiing before 11am and cruise around until lunch at about 2 or 3pm. That leaves time for one last run before it’s time to get stuck into the tapas and Rioja which lasts until about 7pm. After that it’s siesta time and everyone heads off for a snooze before waking again to head out for dinner at 10 or 11pm. If you’re looking for nightclub action then you’d best be in it for the long haul as dancefloor action doesn’t tend to start going until around 2am.
If you’d like to join the small but informed bunch of skiers who have made Baqueira-Beret their ski destination of choice then just let us know. It’s time to share the secret.
Highest point: 2510m /8235ft
Average annual snowfall: 9.6m
Pistes: 71 marked pistes, 120km of slopes, 14km of itineraries, 7km cross-country skiing
Piste Standard: Beginner: 52%, Intermediate: 35%, Expert: 13%
Best for: Beginners and Intermediates on the piste. Excellent off piste and great value heli-skiing.