Snowshoeing in the snowy mountains has become one of the star outdoor sports activities in the heart of nature. The Catalan and Andorran Pyrenees are two of the most popular destinations.
If you are a lover of outdoor adventure sports in nature and you want to get to know first-hand the most hidden places in our mountains while enjoying the richness of their surroundings, snowshoeing is the ideal activity. Beyond the adrenaline and excitement of traditional snow activities such as skiing or snowboarding, snowshoeing is the ideal pastime for groups of families and couples who come to the Pyrenees to enjoy an experience in the snow. You don’t need to know how to ski to enjoy a valley or a snowy mountain. We tell you how and give you ideas for gifts for outdoor sports lovers this Christmas.
Immerse yourself in the lush black pine forests in front of the immensity of the mountains and listen to the sound of the snow falling through the leaves of the fir trees while you discover the most hidden and beautiful routes in the area. This is the plan you’ve been looking for. But what do you need to know to enjoy hiking in the snow?
First of all, you need to be aware of the difficulties of walking in the snow. It is easy for your feet to sink in as it is a really complicated surface to follow the marked routes due to the ease with which footprints or signs disappear. For this reason, snowshoes and the presence of professional guides with great knowledge of the area are essential for you to enjoy a fun and safe experience.
Tips and materials: be prepared for snowshoeing
When it comes to snowshoes, it is recommended that you use 60 to 80 centimetre snowshoes for mountain traverses, while on the plains you can use walking snowshoes. Thus, whether in mid-mountain or high mountains, for long hikes lasting several hours, the hikers should use technical snowshoes, which, although they sink deeper due to their weight, allow them to traction better in the snow and move more easily in the most adverse terrain.
In addition to this, the use of snow poles will provide greater safety for new skiers. This tool is very useful for ensuring balance during the routes, making turns and facilitating movement in the snow, as the weight of the body is distributed between the poles. The rest of the equipment should be the same as for any outdoor sports activity in the snow: gloves, sunglasses, sun cream and comfortable sports clothing. For footwear, we recommend waterproof trekking shoes or snow boots, which are waterproof.
The best snowshoeing routes in Andorra
“The groups are of around 20 people. This is a very family-oriented activity with routes in the Moretó Forest, the Pessons Lakes or the Tristaina Viewpoint”, explains Albert Panicello, director of the RocRoi snow vertical. Do you want to give this experience as a gift and don’t know where to start? We will guide you.
One of the most popular excursions in the Catalan and Andorran Pyrenees is the one that follows the Els Pessons path in the direction of the lakes, which are at an altitude of 2,400 metres. This is a medium-difficulty route that can be completed in around three hours. The usual departure is from the Grau-Roig sector of the Grandvalira ski resort, where at RocRoi we offer the possibility of hiring this service for all kinds of walks and excursions in the snow for groups of friends, couples or individuals.
Although it is most common to do a circular route that allows you to return to where you have been, the most experienced skiers can do excursions of up to five hours and visit peaks such as the Pic del Montmalús or the Pic del Cubil, among others.
Also in Andorra, there are more accessible routes for beginners, consisting of walks of around two hours in the area of La Coma, which allow access to the Tristaina solar viewpoint or up to Port del Rat, in Ordino Arcalís, in Grandvalira.
The best snowshoe routes in the Catalan Pyrenees
In the Catalan Pyrenees there are other renowned routes for practising your love of hiking and snowshoeing, such as the one that goes from Estanes to Prat de Cadí, in La Seu d’Urgell, the one that goes up to Gallina Pelada, also in the Cadí mountain range, or one of the longest in the territory, the one that goes to Pic de l’Orri via Comes de Rubió.
In addition to the possibility of reaching the great peaks of the Pyrenees on snowshoes, there is also the possibility of going on nocturnal excursions to enjoy the natural landscape in the middle of the night. In this case, these are short walks of around two hours, without great difficulty and aimed more at enjoying the beauty of the natural surroundings than at making great expeditions to the peaks of the Pyrenees.