The Val D´Aran (Cataluña) lays in the central Pyrenees and it has the characteristics of an Atlantic slope valley. Its main river, the Garona, makes its way through the Aquitaine lands and flows into Bordeaux (France). It is the only Atlantic Valley in the Catalan Pyrenees and its unique locations make it possible that they have high-quality snow.
This valley constitutes one of only two areas of contiguous Spain (and the only contiguous part of current Catalonia) that are located on the northern side of the Pyrenees. Hence, this valley holds the only Catalan rivers to flow into the Atlantic Ocean (for the same reason, the region is characterized by an Atlantic climate, instead of a Mediterranean one).
The price includes:
4 nights at Hotel Riu Nere /Half board
3 nights at a mountain huts- Full board
Mountain Guide's fees and expenses
Transfer from/to Airport
Transfer to/from Activities
Breakfast and dinner at a hotel
Breakfast, lunch pack, dinner at Mountain Hut.
The price does not include:
Mountain Guide during the 2 free ski days in the ski resort
Ski passes for Baqueira Beret Ski resort ( around 50 € per person per day)
Here at the Mountain Tracks, we give you our word that we will fully refund every part of your package holiday if it is not able to run due to COVID-19.
Our Mountain Tracks and holiday teams are monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak guidance and advice while communicating closely with our suppliers to make sure everything is in place to keep you safe.
Read more: Frequently Asked Questions.
We are proud to offer all of our returning customers a £50 discount.
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£2.50 per person of the cost of any air package is paid to the Civil Aviation Authority to provide ATOL Protection to you. This means the money paid for these arrangements is fully protected. Our ATOL number is ATOL 2911. For more information see our booking terms and conditions.
ABTOT provides protection for your booking as set out in Holiday Information.
Ski Club Winter Arrangements limited (trading as Mountain Tracks)
Registered in England No. 2099115. VAT No. GB 461 5692 34
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This is an extensive list of the recommended clothing and equipment you will need if you are coming to one of our Ski Tours.
During the tour you will be staying most nights in catered high mountain huts and will need to carry all the equipment and clothing you require for the duration of the tour. The huts are comfortable but basic with limited facilities.
Any clothing or other items not required on the tour can be left in a travel bag at your first hotel ready for your return on the final night.
We recommend keeping the weight of your pack as light as possible. If you are new to alpine multi-day ski touring, try taking your pack out on the slopes before the tour to see how it feels. You quickly realise the benefit of ‘skiing light’.
If you are uncertain or need further information, don't hesitate to contact us.
For all touring trips it is essential you ski with an all-mountain/freeride type skis, ski touring boots and ski touring bindings. If you have your own skis but they do not have ski touring bindings then you will need to rent skis. The same applies if you have downhill ski boots, you will need to rent ski touring boots.
This winter our lead guides are using Salomon Explore MTN and Salomon QST touring skis. The MTN 95 is an award-winning ski with great stability at high speeds whilst the MTN 88 is a best-selling lightweight touring ski. The QST’s are slightly heavier and therefore suited to charging; perfect for day-touring.
Lockwoods Ski and Outdoor are supporting our guides and we suggest that if you’re interested in any of the MTN or QST skis, you should make Lockwoods your first point of call.
For alpine ski touring we recommend an all-mountain/freeride touring ski that isn’t too heavy, a really lightweight ski comes at a cost to performance on the descents so are only recommended for really good off-piste skiers with a strong interest in ski touring.
There are plenty of great skis to choose from and we highly recommend skis from the following manufacturers:
Dynastar Skis: www.dynastar.com
Movement Skis: www.movementskis.com
Black Crows Skis: www.blackcrows-skis.com
Trab Skis: www.skitrab.com/en-us
Scott Skis: http://www.scott-sports.com
Volkl Skis: http://www.voelkl.com
There are plenty of other great skis to choose from so if you’re planning on buying skis for ski touring or general skiing and have any questions do not hesitate to call us, or Lockwoods, to discuss the options available.
If you are planning on buying skis for ski touring and general skiing and have any questions do not hesitate to call us to discuss the options available to you.
It is essential that you have ski touring boots for all touring trips as walking uphill is much more comfortable in these types of boots with a walk mode and great flex. A dedicated touring boot or a hybrid freeride boot is best.
Scarpa have lead the way in touring boots for many years but they have been joined by other manufactures like Dynafit, Salomon, Scott, Black Diamond, Dalbello and K2; all producing their own versions of a ski touring boot.
• Scarpa’s Freedom boots are their Hybrid offerings, great ski performance, a walk mode and vibram sole. Their Maestrale (men’s) and Gea (women’s) boots are also highly recommended.
• The Scott Celeste and Cosmo boots have stood the test of time and are good all-round choices.
• Salomon’s Quest Max series offer boots with a walk mode in various flex’s with good downhill performance.
• Dynafit offer the Mercury or Vulcan boots plus a range of lightweight options like the TLT6.
The best of the rest are:
Fischer - Transalp
Black Diamond – Quadrant and Factor
K2 – Pinnacle boot
Dalbello – Lupo or Sherpa
Langue – XT series offer a ski boot with a walk mode in various flex options
These days many manufacturers offer ‘thermo-fit¹ liners as standard equipment. You may also want to consider a custom liner as these are heated and molded to your foot and boot for a perfect fit. They can make all the difference especially if you have trouble finding really comfortable ‘off-the-shelf’ boots. Zipfit liners are a great option for anyone seeking total customisation in fit and comfort. They will replace the original liner.
Essential kit – to provide additional comfort and ski control. If you want to get footbeds made or a pair of new boots fitted then we suggest you visit somewhere like Profeet for a professional fitting. Don’t forget if you have footbeds in your downhill boots but need to rent touring boots then you can bring the footbeds with you and put them in the hire boots.
For all ski touring trips ski touring bindings are essential. Fritschi and Marker both make excellent ski touring bindings and you have a few different options to choose from. Many more people are seeing the advantage of the “pin” binding system now offered by a number of manufacturers as these are light and offer ever improving security despite their minimalist looks!
It’s essential you have ski touring bindings on your skis. Although Pin bindings have been around since the Dynafit Low Tech bindings over 30 years ago, since their patent expired the technology has advanced substantially. Salomon, with their Shift Binding, are at the forefront; they’re ‘multi norm compatible’ so fit a selection of boots and are lighter than most freeride bindings. Our lead guides are using the Shift binding this winter, so if you’d like to know more about them give Lockwoods a ring.
We recommend telescopic poles. They must have wide powder baskets (4-5 inches/100-120mm diameter) otherwise you’ll be up to your armpits on the ascents. Go for an alloy rather than carbon poles which are lighter but have a nasty habit of snapping near the basket due to ski edge nicks.
For most ski tours especially multi-day hut-to-hut tours you will need a 35 - 40 litre rucksack. You might get away with a big 30 liter pack if you are an experienced ski tourer and know what to pack. Most people will find a 35-40 liter pack is a good size for touring.
Key features of a good ski touring pack:
Ortovox Haute Route 40 rucksack will be a good choice for ski touring trips.
Avalanche airbag rucksacks can be used for touring but they are heavy, adding somewhere between 5-8kg just for an empty pack plus canister. So unless you are sure you can carry it and fit all you need in, we do not recommend you use one.
Over a long multiday tour, every gram of weight is important as you have to carry and move it yourself. Carrying a heavy pack will hinder and tire all but the most experienced and fit ski tourer.
The “Safety Trilogy” - required on all our ski tours and off-piste courses.
We recommend Simple and intuitive ORTOVOX AVALANCHE RESCUE KIT 3+
Remember it is not enough just to carry this equipment; you have to know how to use it.
How about joining one of our specialist avalanche courses – check out www.mountaintracks.co.uk/activity/avalanche-training
Food and Water
We suggest you bring with you or buy in resort snack food that you can take out on the hill with you each day. Things like cereal bars, dried fruit and nuts, chocolate, sugary sweets or your favorite hill snacks. When you’re staying overnight in huts its best to take supplies for the days you are away. Huts do sell food but it’s expensive and sometimes stocks run low.
If you have any food allergies or dietary requirements especially if you are a Coeliac (Gluten free) or have a dairy allergy we strongly recommend you bring some food with you that you can supplement your dinners with. The huts are fairly good at providing for vegetarians but less so for other dietary needs.
You have to buy bottled water in the huts as usually any running water is non-potable. Bottled water is expensive in French and Swiss huts; you can be paying upto 12-16CHF per 1.5L bottle of water. So please ensure you budget for this cost.
The Val D´Aran is in the central Pyrenees belonging to Cataluña and it has the characteristics of an Atlantic slope valley; due to this, its main river, the Garona, makes its way through the Aquitaine lands and flows into Bordeaux (France). It is the only Atlantic Valley in the Catalan Pyrenees and its unique locations make it possible that they have high-quality snow.
The Val d’Aran is a region located in the Central Pyrenees, in the province of Lerida. To the north, it borders France and to the South, it borders the Catalan region of Alta Ribagorza.
The closest airports are located in Toulouse, Pau, Barcelona, Huesca, Girona & Biarritz.
The Pyrenees mountain range separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of Europe, stretching more than 430km between Spain and France and rising up to more than 3,400m in elevation. There are ski resorts on both the French and Spanish sides plus in the small independent state of Andorra. Between the resorts the mountains are rugged and wild.
For our Pyrenean Haute Route Ski Tour we start and finish in the French town of Argelès-Gazost.
The nearest airport is in Lourdes which is just 13 kms from Argelès-Gazost. The only direct flights from the UK to Lourdes are with Ryanair from Stansted.
The airport in Toulouse is served by Easyjet, Flybe and Jet2 and the transfer time to Argelès-Gazost is about 3 hours - shuttle bus from the airport to the train station (20 mins), followed by train to Lourdes (2 hours 20 minutes) and from Lourdes by bus to Argelès-Gazost (20 minutes)
Arrival at Toulouse Airport, a private set transfer will be waiting for you to take you to the beautiful Val d’Aran at 12.30 PM.
The closest airports are located in Toulouse, Pau, Barcelona, Huesca, Girona & Biarritz.
You should arrive in Toulouse no later than 11:30 AM.
Departure flights can be arranged after 1 PM.
*Shared set transfer will be possible only from/to Toulouse airport.
Accommodation in Sainte Foy is provided by The Auberge sur la montagne. Please check the holiday description to confirm which accommodation the course will be housed in. For 2019/2020 season we are using;
Auberge sur la Montagne is our spacious boutique catered chalet with hot-tub, featuring contemporary design and fine dining in a rustic setting.
Fegguese is situated just a short walk above the centre of Sainte Foy resort, and about 200m from the green piste which leads down to the first chairlift and ski school. It is a bright, airy, detached wood and stone built Savoyard-style chalet with large sun terrace, BBQ and private parking. It has spectacular views across the Tarentaise valley to the Aiguille Rouge and Mont Pourri mountains. The chalet has recently been extensively refurbished, including new fitted kitchen, bathrooms and new soft furnishings.
IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV
The IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV symbol is the logo of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association.
Nick, Olly and Matt are all fully-qualified UIAGM Mountain Guides and members of the British Mountain Guides Association.
The International Ski Instructors Association is the world body for professional ski instructors.
The ISIA was formed in 1971 and there are currently 39 member nations representing the very best in ski instruction around the world.