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This is the perfect ski trip for families, providing you with space on the slopes, no queues at the lifts, and a relaxed après-ski atmosphere. Head out on to the slopes of the wonderfully peaceful Cerler and ride a husky sled before you make your way to Llanos del Hospital to try out snowshoeing and Nordic skiing.
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Fly to either Zaragoza or Barcelona where you pick up your car. The drive up to Cerler takes around 2.5 hours from Zaragoza, closer to 3.5 from Barcelona. Cerler is in what’s known as the ‘hidden valley’, access is by one road that cuts through a gorge. On arrival you will meet up with one of our people locally, who will help you get you set up and explain where everything is so that you can get started first thing the following morning.
Head out onto the slopes today and get your bearings with your own instructor. Lifts are open from 9am to around 5pm daily but we tend to recommend you start at around 10am for the best conditions. Each morning in Cerler you will have a couple of hours private tuition to help brush off rusty skills and learn new ones.
Start the day again with your instructor before setting off at your own pace this afternoon. For the more adventurous, in the Ampriu valley there is a snowpark, where you can practise jumps and tricks. Equally, if you wanted to get a head start on the snowshoeing, there's an area for that, as well as a sledging slope for younger members of the family.
With two hours’ private lessons each day with one of Pura’s expert local instructors, you’re likely to see some rapid improvement in your technique after a few days. Compared to the typical format of group lessons, you won’t be standing around waiting for the instructor to clarify the technique you’ve already mastered, and can focus on the areas to suit you.
Before you depart Cerler, it's time to try something rather different, as you join a local 'musher' for a ride across the slopes of Ampriu - feel the wind in your ears as your team of huskies pulls you over the snow. Have a spot of lunch in the town before setting off on the half hour the drive up the valley to Llanos del Hospital, to stay in a rustic lodge on the valley floor.
The open valley and gentle foothills at Llanos make it an ideal destination for exploring by snowshoe or Nordic skis, both of which you'll have a chance to try out here. Spend a couple of hours this morning with one of the lodge's guides, who will show you the best trails.
Rather more technical than yesterday's activity, your guide today will probably be giving you more in the way of instruction as you head out to go Nordic skiing. Although it takes a little while to master the movements, it makes for an interesting change from alpine/downhill skiing, especially for those who prefer a less adrenaline-fuelled time on the snow.
If you have an evening flight, you might be able to head out on the trail one last time. Return your equipment (if you didn’t already do so yesterday) and drive back to your chosen airport.
Perfect your turns on wide, empty slopes and learn the rather different skills of Nordic skiing. Snowshoe through soft powder and feel the wind in your ears as you mush your husky over the mountain. This action-packed week in the remote valley of Benasque is a fantastic introduction to the Spanish Pyrenees for snow-loving families.
As a ski and snow-based holiday, naturally enough the focus is on getting active each day up on the mountain. Cerler is a great environment for both skiers and snow boarders, while Llanos' geography makes it ideal for having a go at nordic skiing and snowshoeing. The trip is great for families (and couples/friends) of pretty much any ski/board skill level - in fact it is particularly good for mixed ability groups because of the physical layout of the slopes. Cerler has 71km of terrain, 60 pistes and 18 lifts. With 1,140m between the resort's highest point and its lowest, Cerler has the greatest vertical range of any Pyrenean resort.
In Llanos del Hospital, we assume that you will be beginners at the nordic skiing (and possibly snow shoeing), but in any case there's lots of room to take things at your own pace or be more adventurous. The husky trip requires a degree of effort, but equally you can choose to let the musher do the work and simply enjoy the ride.
This holiday takes you into some of the more remote corners of the Spanish Pyrenees; accordingly, there aren't endless choices of accommodation options. Indeed in Llanos del Hospital, there is only one, the Hospital del Benasque, which is a comfortable mountain lodge. Homely, with good food and ideally placed, though not fancy. That said, it does manage to have a small spa where you can soothe any muscles aching from your exertions.
In the village of Cerler, there are a couple of places we work with, one is a modern construction set on the edge of the village, the other a more traditional property. This trip, as presented, assumes you staying in the latter, which is set in the heart of the village, no more than a 10 minute walk. In both accommodations on this trip, we assume that a family of 4 will stay in duplex apartments, which are formed by a main bedroom and separate mezzanine level for the children. For your time in Cerler, we always keep ski equipment at the store by the bottom lift so you don't have to lug your gear back and forth to the hotel every day.
This is a ski/snow holiday so culture isn't the major deciding factor, however you will be heading into the remote Pyrenees, so culture can in fact play quite a significant part in your experience. In fact, it's the very 'Spanishness' of Cerler which makes it so special, makes it stand apart from your typical ski destination, and why we love it. Cerler is unique in the Spanish Pyrenees in that there is no pass into France. It makes it an effective dead end, only accessed from the south. This means that it is much quieter than other resorts in the mountains. It is also rare to come across anyone who isn't Spanish on the slopes. Which is what gives it the friendly, unpretentious and relaxed atmosphere.
While you are in Llanos del Hospital, try and find time to ask your hosts about the history of the place. The hotel is situated below one of the key passes over the Pyrenees into France, so there is a legacy of travellers staying here which dates back centuries. The 'Hospital' in the name actually refers to hospitality, rather than an improbably situated health clinic.
The holiday price is based a family of four travelling, sharing duplex apartments, and includes accommodation and meals as detailed in the summary above. It includes car hire for one driver, lift passes, ski equipment hire (ski or snowboard), other activities as described, 2 hours of private tuition daily for 3 days in Cerler, and local information. Naturally, on each and every one of our holidays, we include Pura’s expertise, local contacts, support and advice throughout, along with the reassurance of our financial protection and safety auditing.
International flights are quoted separately for this holiday. The most common flight routing is to fly into and out of Barcelona (airport code: BCN), though Zaragoza is also a possibility and actually nearer Cerler (airport code: ZAZ). This is a tailor made holiday, and can leave on a date to suit you, from mid-December to early April.
This is a tailor made holiday which can leave on a date to suit you, from late December to early April.
Contact us today to start planning your own personal adventure
The described itinerary is just a taster of what this trip could involve. We would work with you to tailor your personal trip.
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