When you think of Catalonia, many people immediately think of the delicious crema catalana, that creamy dessert, golden beneath its fine veil of caramelised sugar. But the region has another, less sweet but just as seductive jewel in its crown: the Neiges Catalanes. Nestling in the majestic mountains of the Pyrenees, these ski resorts offer an incomparable skiing experience, while being steeped in the rich Catalan culture. And if crème Catalane has conquered taste buds the world over, let Neiges Catalanes melt your mountain and skiing heart.
The Catalan mountains have always been a popular destination for skiers and winter sports enthusiasts. Nestling between the Haut Conflent, Capcir and majestic Cerdagne, Neiges Catalanes offers an unrivalled skiing experience, combining Catalan tradition with modern facilities. Since its creation over 50 years ago, Neiges Catalanes has always emphasised the importance of solidarity between resorts. Despite their competitive nature at the outset, these resorts have been able to join forces to offer a varied and attractive range of activities.
When you think of the Neiges Catalanes, the word “Catalan” is not just a geographical reference: it conjures up a whole world of culture, history and landscape, like a recipe handed down from generation to generation, with a language, Catalan, and cultural ingredients drawn from a medieval past.
The Catalan snows are not just synonymous with snow-capped peaks and ski slopes; they also evoke centuries-old traditions, popular festivals, typical dances and songs, and delicious cuisine. When we talk about the ‘Neiges Catalanes’, we’re also talking about skiing with character, skiing that can be enjoyed both on the slopes and by the fire, to the sound of a sardana or over a plate of ‘trinxat’. It’s this richness and diversity that makes the Neiges Catalanes a destination in a class of its own, where skiing meets culture, and sport meets tradition.
A choice buffet for ski lovers
Each resort offers panoramas to feast your eyes on and slopes to savour. Although distinct in terms of topography and atmosphere, they share a number of common features that make this popular destination so strong and unique.
All these resorts are nestled in the majestic Catalan Pyrenees, just 1? hours from Perpignan or 2 hours from Barcelona. Those who have the privilege of owning a second home among the 45,000 beds in Puigcerdà are particularly spoilt for choice. “On average today, Spaniards represent around 20-40% of customers, depending on the resorts in the Neiges Catalanes”, explains Jérôme Meunier, Director of Les Angles.
It has to be said that the Neiges Catalanes resorts offer breathtaking panoramas, quality snow and exceptional light. Whether you’re on the Gallinera plateau at an altitude of over 2000 metres in Font Romeu, with an uninterrupted view over the entire Cerdan plateau, the Cambre d’Aze and the Canigó massif, or at the top of the Roc d’Aude in Les Angles, at an altitude of 2400 metres, with its area alternating between forests of hooked pine and wide open spaces, you can’t help but be moved by the scenery before you.
At Cambre d’Aze, skiers can explore a ski area reaching an altitude of 2,400 metres at the foot of an imposing glacial cirque. The panorama is a spectacle in itself, revealing the vast expanses of the Cerdagne, Capcir and Conflent plateaux, not forgetting the proud peaks of the Catalan Pyrenees. On a clear day, the Mediterranean can even be glimpsed on the horizon, adding an exotic touch to the winter picture.
Further east, Porte Puymorens offers a vertiginous experience. At the top of the Mine slopes, a terrace boldly designed in translucent glass and steel suspends visitors above the void. The view from here is exceptional, taking in the whole ski area set against a backdrop of mountains.
Formiguères, with its breathtaking views from the arrival point of the Serre de Maury chairlift at 2320 metres, reveals the Galbe valley and the Capcir plateau in all their splendour.
Finally, the resort of La Quillane invites you to contemplate from the top of the Mouscadou ski lift at 1,900 metres. The snow-capped peaks stand out against the blue sky, offering a natural spectacle of the utmost beauty.
These resorts share a strong cultural identity, that of the Catalan Pyrenees. Whether it’s through their gastronomy, where charcuterie (if you haven’t yet heard of botifarra, a black pudding made with ham, it’s high time you introduced your palate to it!), cheese, honey, cinnamon, almonds, pine nuts and dried fruit all feature regularly, traditions or architecture, visitors can feel and experience Catalan culture in every one of these resorts. Visitors are often seduced by this warm welcome, this Pyrenean art of living, which makes their stay a unique experience.
Skiing for all
When it comes to skiing, these resorts have retained the authentic flavour of the past while incorporating the latest innovations, such as a traditional dessert revisited by a Michelin-starred chef, with modern facilities, in terms of ski lifts, snowmaking and the services offered to skiers.
Les Neiges Catalanes is like an assortment of macaroons. Each resort is a different flavour, but they all share that Catalan essence, that marzipan that binds it all together. With 210 km of pistes, it’s like a big meringue just waiting for you. Add to that almost 100 ski lifts, guaranteeing unrivalled access comfort, and 1000 snow cannons, ensuring optimum snow quality all season long.
Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or expert, you’ll find pistes to suit you. What’s more, they also offer fun zones, snowparks and areas reserved for younger skiers.
But that’s not all! Lovers of Nordic skiing will also find plenty to do here, with 160km of dedicated pistes. This offer is further enhanced by the Capcir Nordic resort, which brings together three breathtaking areas: La Calme, La Llose and Les Estanyols. Walking enthusiasts have not been forgotten: over 250km of dedicated snowshoe trails and white trails await adventurers in search of untouched landscapes.
Neiges Catalanes: offers to savour… without moderation
Les Neiges Catalanes is like an assortment of petits fours: you can try everything without having to travel too far. The proximity of the resorts makes it extremely easy to discover several of them in a short space of time. For example, it takes just 20 minutes by car from Les Angles to Font Romeu, or 45 minutes from Porte Puymorens to Cambre d’Aze. By road, it’s just 7 minutes from Les Angles to Fomiguères, and 14 minutes from La Quillane to Font Romeu.
The Season ski pass and the Week ski pass are shared by all the Neiges Catalanes resorts. They give access to the seven downhill ski areas and the Nordic ski area. So, instead of limiting yourself to a single resort, you can vary the pleasures and discover the different slopes, panoramas and special features of each resort.
Take advantage of an exclusive offer until 03 December 2023: the season ski pass is discounted to €609. And for families, there’s an unmissable offer: buy four season passes and the cheapest one is on offer.
And for those who want to enjoy Les Neiges Catalanes by the week, there’s a 6-day ski pass from €228 (reduced rate) or a 7-day ski pass from €251 (reduced rate).
Les Neiges Catalanes: a tool for local development
Over and above these tempting offers, the Neiges Catalanes have become a real tool for regional development. These resorts are not just places for winter fun, they are also powerful levers for local development.
The “1000 children on snow” initiative is the icing on the cake of their efforts. Every January, the Neiges Catalanes resorts bring together 1,000 children from schools in the department for a 3-day stay in the mountains, the fruit of a 6-month educational project. From autumn onwards, like a pastry chef explaining his secrets, the Neiges Catalanes teams visit the schools to talk about the wonders of the mountains and snow. After these preliminary lessons, the children are ready to ‘roll in the flour’ on the slopes, learning to ski in close collaboration with the ESF. And because generosity is the key to any success, the resorts offer the ski pass, making this day an affordable treat at 15 euros per child.
In March, these thousand little stars sparkle on the slopes, all gathered in the same resort for a new introduction to skiing. It’s a great way for Neiges Catalanes to shape the future, by ensuring generational renewal and promoting mountain culture. With 12 years under their belts and 12,000 children taught, they can proudly say that they have added their grain of salt to the next generation.