Cross-country Skiing in the Pyrenees

8 days
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$2,155 NZD
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Trip code: 
CYP
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Winter
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–16

The Pyrenees offer a wonderful combination of high altitude skiing and sunshine, with a backdrop of some fantastic scenery. On this trip we focus on two of the best known ski areas in this part of the mountains, namely the Cerdagne plateau and the Capcir region. In total there is over 100km of tracks to explore, each night returning to our traditional Logis de France hotel in the mountain village of Bolquère. Cross-country skiing has long been a part of the culture in this part of France, and after a week here it’s not hard to see why.

Highlights

  • Varied skiing at over 2000m in the Pyrenees Orientales
  • Traditional high mountain hotel
  • Free day for downhill skiing, snowshoeing or sightseeing

Key information

  • 7 nights en suite hotel
  • 5 days guided cross-country skiing
  • Cross-country skis, boots and poles included
  • Group normally 5 to 14, with one local instructor and one tour leader
  • Cross-country skiing multi grade 2&3 (improvers or intermediates),  3&4 (intermediates or advanced) depending on the week

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 7 dinners included
  • All accommodation
  • Transfers for group flights
  • Cross-country skis boots & poles
  • Local cross-country ski pass

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Bolquère.

    Our trip begins in Bolquère, a small village perched high in the Pyrenees which boasts France's highest working railway station at 1593 metres. This part of the Pyrenees is close to the Spanish border and also has a proud Catalan heritage. Spanish and Catalan can be heard as much as French and even the road signs are in both Catalan and French.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 2

    An introductory day refreshing skills on easy tracks around Bolquère and the forested area of Les Estanyols. Lunch will normally be taken at a café in Pyrenées 2000.

    Our first task will be to pick up our ski passes. For this you will need a passport sized photo. This gives us access to the full range of skiing in the area. Les Estanyols is an area close to Bolquère offering some easy trails to get us up and running. Lunch is usually taken in a café in the nearby resort of Pyrenees 2000.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Days 3-4

    Skiing further afield

    The extensive tracks at Les Estanyols mean we are likely to pay it another visit and try the delightful La Tête circuit which follows the river of the same name.
    There is also plenty of excellent skiing to be had at the Col de la Llose at an altitude of 1861m, with several routes available. A particular highlight here is to ski along the broad ridge with views to the Mediterranean on a clear day. Lunch spots will depend on our routes but The Refuge du Col del Torn at 1860m is a great place to enjoy the mountainscape and some traditional local food.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Free day, with a range of activity options and excursions including snowshoeing, downhill skiing or cultural sightseeing.

    Today is free. Active options include downhill skiing, snowshoeing or self guided cross-country skiing. Alternatively the "Petit Train Jaune" or Little Yellow Train from Bolquère station offers a scenic way to visit the fortified town of Villefranche de Conflent or the thermal baths at St Thomas.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

    A day skiing at La Calme

    Starting at an altitude of 2050m, we will spend a day at La Calme, an open mountain area with a tremendous choice of circuits to suit all tastes. For those up to it, the highlight is reaching the summit of Roc de la Calme at 2213m. It should be possible to have lunch at the traditional Refuge de la Calme.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Another delightful forest area, La Quillane, with a range of interesting circuits. Lunch can be taken at the nearby Station de La Quillane

    Just over 10km away from Bolquere lies La Quillane, a small ski resort which is a great start point for some quiet forest trails and an interesting range of circuites. The resort itself provides a good location for a lunch stop.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    End Bolquere

    The trip ends in Boqluere.

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

France

No visa required for British passport holders.

Spain

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

France

There are no specific health risks.

Spain

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 7 dinners are included

All breakfasts and evening meals are taken in the hotel restaurant, which offers hearty local specialities.  In addition one 1/4 litre of house wine is included per person each evening.
Lunches are not included, giving you the opportunity to eat what you like while skiing. There will be the opportunity on some days to eat in a mountain hut for lunch. On other days we might get some things from the local bakery and supermarkets and enjoy a picnic.

Weather

This part of the Pyrenees generally has more snow for a longer season than further west. The high altitude of the ski areas ensures that we can be skiing on excellent snow from the end of November to the end of April. In addition the proximity to the Mediterranean gives us longer sunnier days than Scandinavia and the Alps, making for the perfect skiing conditions. On the slopes we can expect anything from -10ºC to +20ºC, however it will generally be about 15ºC and sunny. When snowing the temperature can drop rapidly and the route choice / length of day will be altered accordingly. There is no 'perfect' time to do this trip and statistically warm sunny days are just as likely in December and January as March.

Is this trip for you?

Cross-country skiing is an increasingly popular winter pastime. Compared to those used for downhill, the skis are longer, thinner and lighter with bindings that allow you to lift up your heel. Most cross-country skiing is undertaken on prepared tracks (loipe) covering flat and hillier terrain enabling you explore the winter landscapes away from the confines of the alpine pistes.

Exodus offers cross-country skiing holidays to suit a wide range of technical and physical levels. Our cross-country skiing grades reflect both the level of physical fitness required and the level of skiing experience required.  They are comparable to the activity levels we use on our snowshoeing, cycling, activity and trekking holidays, however we believe a slightly different system is required, due to the tuition we provide on our holidays. This sets our cross-country skiing holidays apart, as we tend not to need to teach people how to ride a bike or walk.
The aim remains to create groups of similar ability and fitness.
On this trip the grades we focus on are below. There are two grades each week, with one ski instructor and one tour leader. We offer grades 2 and 3 together, and a week of grades 3 and 4.

Our descriptions are below, however feel free to call and speak to an expert if you are unsure which grade or type of holiday will suit you best.
Please note our grade 2 and 3 weeks are not suitable for beginners.

Grade 2 - Improvers
These weeks are ideal for those who have enjoyed at least one grade 1 holiday and grasped the basics. They offer tuition to refresh and improve technique and typically will ski a little further than Grade 1 weeks, and over more varied terrain, i.e more ups and downs and therefore requiring a slightly higher level of fitness.
In some cases these weeks are acceptable for newcomers to cross-country skiing however this is not the case here.

Grade 3 - Intermediates
A grade 3 week is ideal for those looking to push on, tackle some slightly steeper terrain and cover more ground each day. Typical groups will have a few weeks skiing behind them, be very comfortable with the basics and happy on longer day tours. There will still be tuition on these weeks,  at the required level.

Grade 4 Advanced

Choose this level if you can tackle ‘ups and downs’ competently, manage a controlled snowplough descent, and if you want to ski at a lively pace. You should also be able to get up swiftly and easily by yourself after a fall. 

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotel L'Ancienne Auberge - 2 Star

Run by the same family for several generations, this hotel welcomes us with a friendly atmosphere and comfortable rooms to rest after the day’s exertions. This delightful hotel is located in the heart of the little town of Bolquère in the Eastern Pyrenees, where we can access an extensive network of loipe using public and private transport. The friendly atmosphere of this small hotel complements the comfortable en suite rooms and local food that awaits us each evening.

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed February 2016
    Howard Parvin

    Cross Country Skiiing in the Pyrenees

    Despite lack of snow (all the locals said they had not seen a season like it in 30years!) I got 4 days excellent skiing. It was limited to an area next to the downhill slopes where lying snow could be supplemented by artificial, but there was a good variety of terrain with plenty of opportunity to practice existing and new skills and both our leaders were excellent instructors. The Auberge was a bit basic but comfortable, the food was excellent and plentiful, and the Catalan wine and beer excellent value. Marcel and Ghislane were excellent hosts and very accommodating about my wife's allergy to mushrooms.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On the 5th day I decided not to ski and went on a walk in the Ceranca Gorge lead by Claude. It was magnificent with spectacular scenery, rope bridges over rushing torrents, and vertical ladders leading to narrow ledges along the cliff face where we walked with a dizzy drop on one side, and a vertical wall with a rope to hang on to on the other. Even if the snow had been perfect for skiing I would not have wanted to miss what was one of the most memorable walks of my life. Not one for anyone who does not have a head for heights though!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had 2 leaders, Anne Ford and local leader and driver Claude Huert; both were excellent. They had a difficult task because lack of snow meant the area available for cross-country skiing was very limited. They responded magnificently making the very best of the pistes available . I had 4 excellent days skiing over varied and stimulating terrain and snow conditions and improved my skills considerably under Anne's and Claude's excellent tuition. They also had several excellent options for us to do on our 'rest' day and as an alternative to skiing if we wanted it.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check the snow conditions before you go and take good walking boots. Also take layered clothing since it can get very warm in the sun, but be freezing cold in the shade and especially on the ski lift! On your day off the trip in Le Train Jaune to Villafranche is well worth doing, but don't expect much to be open when you get there. If you have a chance to walk the Ceranca Gorge take it, but not if you don't like heights!
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Anonymous

    Cross country skiing in the Pyrenees

    A great week which I really enjoyed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Working on improving my skiing in a lovely landscape.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Anne was great - very organised and efficient, whilst friendly and chilled out! Having two guides (one with very detailed local knowledge) was a real bonus, and I felt the instructions and coaching were really helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The hotel is fairly straightforward but very nice and the food was good; Bolquere is quiet but also nice.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As it was unseasonably warm everywhere, the snow conditions meant we couldn't ski by the fourth day. We did a couple of good walks to round the week off, and Anne & Claud did everything to make sure we got as much out of the week as possible, with and without snow. It was a great bunch of people too.
  • Reviewed February 2015
    Catherine Colam

    Cross Country skiing at Bolqueres, Pyrenees

    An excellent holiday with superb snow conditions and lots of variety of skiing terrain. I'd highly recommend this holiday to anyone who has mastered the basics of cross country skiing and wants to experience both beautifully maintained loipe and more demanding untracked paths through extensive woodland.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Skiing across trackless grassland as spindrift blasted past us filling our tracks and the sun shone down from a cloudless blue sky. Final days skiing under wonderful blue sky - after a steady climb to Pic de Calm we enjoyed a sweeping descent down a series of steep bends followed by a more challenging and technical liaison path back to Pyrenees 2000 - a wonderful climax to the week. Lunch in the Refuge du Col del Tom - home made soup, sausage, baked potatoes, wine and cheese plus wonderful tomato and garlic relish all for 12 euro!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent leadership. It was particularly useful to have an additional local leader (with minibus!) who knew the area like the back of his hand so that we could be flexible as to which area we chose for skiing each day.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The Pyrenees may not be a place you automatically think of for cross country skiing but here you will find well over 100km of well cut loipe as well as other tracks at high elevation - we went up to 2200m. Come and enjoy it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Accommodation was a welcoming auberge - relatively basic ensuite accommodation - bring your kettle and hairdryer! Food was good and varied but no choice other than a vegetarian option.
  • Reviewed February 2014
    Anonymous

    CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING IN THE PYRENEES

    A very enjoyable week with good skiing in lovely scenery, based in an excellent hotel.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being able to ski at a high level. Arriving at Roc de la Calme on skis whilst the downhillers arrived by lift! Skiing down the downhill nursery slope in control.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Anne is an excellent leader, efficient and good fun. She offers advice and encouragement without pressurising you for perfection! I very much appreciated that she gave up her day off to give us a full 6 days of skiing. If you can only go for a week a year, you want to cram in as much as possible!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The ski area is a little limited and you will cover some of the same ground most days. Transport is also limited. Bolquere village is a lovely old traditional village, but if you want nightlife, it's not for you! However, if you're happy to spend your evenings relaxing in a comfortable hotel enjoying good food, wine and company, it's the place to be.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Wonderful hotel; friendly, welcoming people, excellent food.

Dates & Prices

Call us on 0800 643 997