The entire point of Cerler is the skiing (or snowboarding). There really isn’t much else to do during the day – so it doesn’t attract the shoppers and poseurs that you might see elsewhere.
There are plans to dramatically extend the skiable area for the 2010-11 season to the east beyond Pico de Basibé.
For now we’ll concentrate on the existing 2009-10 area which is 65 pistes (_pistas_) totalling 76km between 2630m (Gallinero top) and 1500m (El Molino bottom).
Cerler is accessed from two points: the Cerler side with the El Molino lift taking you up from 1500m and the Ampriú side which starts at 1900m. The Cerler and Rincón del Cielo sectors are on the Cerler side.
The layout means that from most points you have a choice of which lift you ski down to or which piste you choose to get there.
Most of the lifts are fast and, snowpark aside, lifts are all chairlifts (rather than drag lifts or cabins).
For complete beginners
There’s a nursery slope "Remáscaro" next to the El Molino lift station on the Cerler side. This is a gentle slope that will let you learn the basics.
For beginners and nervous returners
Right in the heart of the resort (immediately below the Cota 2000 restaurant) is the start of the pretty and gentle "Fontanals" green-run which is a great environment to work on your technique and build your confidence.
Because it’s right in the middle of the resort, beginners don’t feel tucked away in an isolated corner – so it’s easy to meet up with friends and family skiing other areas.
For intermediate and beyond skiers
Cerler has a great choice of blues and reds to suit your mood, technique and snow conditions.
Our favourite areas include:
Rincón del Cielo starts high with some nicely contoured wide pistes.
It then offers a choice of woodland and open routes down to Cota 2000, the home-run to El Molino or to the bottom of the fast 6-person Rincón del Cielo chairlift.
Basibé is a glorious long winding blue piste that drops 470m over about 2km at the far side of the Ampriú sector. It also has the Snowspeed speed-measuring area to the side at the end of the run. Go as fast as you dare and read your speed on the big display to the left.
Barranco is a popular first step up from the green slopes.
Head up on the 2-person Sarrau lift from Cota 2000, ski down the gentle El Sarrau track and then enjoy the lower half of Barranco as it follows a gentle valley back down to Cota 2000.
There is a short steeper section at the end, but it is only short.
Gallinero is the highest point of the resort, with the lift taking you to 2630m.
It sits above the Ampriú sector, but you can ski down to either side from here.
In fact this is the start of several 1100m uninterrupted descent routes down to El Molino, including the Pista 9km.
From the top there are lots of choices starting with the blue Perdiz Blanca or the red Canal de Gallinero.
The lower half of the Ampriú sector is made up of interesting red and blue pistes with lots of contours and features.
The Cogulla piste would be appealing if the 4-person Cogulla chairlift weren’t so painfully slow. Avoid it if you can.
For advanced skiers
Most of the black runs and _Itinerarios_ are on the Ampriú side, starting at the top of Gallinero and heading into steeper terrain, where the most interesting off-piste areas are.
The layout of the resort means that you can test your strength and stamina with long uninterrupted routes down 700m on the Ampriú side and 1100m on the Cerler side, skiing black and red pistes virtually the whole way down.
Is what is says on the tin: a 9km route from top 2630m to bottom 1500m. It’s predominantly on reds and blues, with some beautiful sections winding through the trees.
If your legs are up to it, you can ski it in one go for added bragging rights.
There is a (slightly controversial) large snowpark alongside the Basibé piste with lots of large features. The controversy is that this (2009-10) season a lot of freeriders accuse the resort of overselling and under-delivering on the promise of the biggest park in the Pyrenees. Perhaps next season the reality will be up to expectations.
There is a smaller, and popular, snowpark at Rincón del Cielo with lots of fixed and snow-built features to develop your skills.
If there are special events coming up or just finished you may find improbably large ramps, jumps and other features around the resort. These are often nominally closed outside of competition time, but that doesn’t seem to deter some ambitious riders.