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Monday March 25, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

It's the final stage of our chief reporter's road trip to three little known resorts in the Pyrenees in Catalonia. She appears to have found her own private ski area. NEW

My first stop was a resort popular with families and beginners:

My second was a wild and remote place with only one lift but a lot to recommend it:

Now I've come to Boí Taüll on the western edge of Catalonia, close to the border with Aragon.

It holds the title of Spain's best ski resort, as bestowed at the World Ski Awards in Austria in November 2018.

I am sceptical by nature and before I arrive I find myself wondering how a medium-sized ski area with less than 50km of pistes and 11 lifts can live up to the title.

I meet up with Director of the mountain and piste patrol, Ignacio Jimenez, who offers to show me around.

Jane Peel & Ignacio JimenezMe with Ignacio Jimenez

















As we head up on a chairlift for our first run, I begin to appreciate that the title of best in Spain could be something to do with this....


But, if it's so good, why is there no-one here?

Firstly, it's a weekday when I'm told it's always very quiet.

Secondly, you have to make a real effort to get to Boí Taüll.

Boí TaüllBoí Taüll














It is a very long way from any significant areas of population.

Only 4,000 people live within 100km.

It's around four hours' drive from the Catalan capital, Barcelona.

And there's no accommodation at the base station.

Boí TaüllLooking down to the base station of Boí Taüll
















Visitors have to stay in one of the hotels in the village of Taüll 5 miles (8km) down the valley and either drive up or get the free ski bus.

So most skiers and snowboarders choose to go to Baqueira Beret, which is Spain's largest ski area with all the facilities of a major resort.

But the more I see of the smaller and less commercial resorts, the more I like them, especially if the snow is as good as it is here in late March:

Boí Taüll is the highest resort in the Pyrenees with skiing from its base at 2,020 metres altitude up to 2,751 metres.

It's best suited to strong intermediates and advanced skiers with a good selection of red and black runs.

Boí TaüllBoí Taüll
















Its location means it usually has a lot of dry, cold snow and offers vast off-piste opportunities.

This season, by any standards, has been a poor one for snow.

On my visit, the mountainsides outside the marked runs are very bare.

Boí TaüllBoí Taüll
















Boí TaüllBoí Taüll
















Although the runs that are open are skiing well, a few pistes are closed because of limited snow cover.

But the benefit of skiing with the boss is that we can ignore the signs.

Boí TaüllPiste closed
















"It's only closed so people who aren't good enough skiers don't go there," Ignacio tells me as he takes me onto one of his favourite runs.

Boí TaüllPiste closed
















It's a wide bowl where you can ski on the piste or off the sides.

Ignacio JimenezIgnacio finds some snow
















It's fabulous spring snow - firm underneath with a bit of give on top.

I can only imagine what it must be like with fresh powder.

Spring snow in Boí TaüllYours truly enjoying the spring snow
















A few minutes later.....

Ignacio JimenezIgnacio looking for the best route down
















Ah, now I see why it's closed.

There's a stream to cross and I really don't want to get my feet wet.

In Boí TaüllThat's definitely a stream down there
















Carefully does itCarefully does it
















Carefully does itCarefully does it
















I manage to keep my feet dry and carry on skiing until the snow gets heavy and wet in the mid-afternoon.

Enjoying the views and the lack of people.

Boí TaüllBoí Taüll
















There are plans for more investment here - more lifts, more runs.

The Catalan regional government has taken over ownership of what was a private resort until last winter and has the spending power to make improvements.

They will probably help attract more visitors.

There's no doubt in my mind as I head away from the snow and down the mountain that more skiers and snowboarders should come here.

Just not too many... please.

And now for something completely different.

A bit of culture.

Sant Climent de TaüllSant Climent de Taüll
















The church of Sant Climent is on the outskirts of the village of Taüll.

In my view, it would be criminal not to stop and take a closer look.

Sant Climent de TaüllSant Climent de Taüll
















It's one of 9 Romanesque churches in the Vall de Boí declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000.

It was built in the 11th and 12th centuries.

You can climb the bell tower to look at the views (or take a selfie).

Sant Climent de TaüllSant Climent de Taüll
















In the bell tower Sant Climent de TaüllBell tower selfie
















Best of all is the 9-minute video projection onto the interior stonework that shows how it was decorated.

You'll have to take my word for it as photos do not do it justice.

Or if you want to see the original frescoes, they are in the National Art Museum of Catalonia in Barcelona.

And it's Barcelona I'm heading to next on my way home.

My ski road trip to the Catalan Pyrenees has come to an end.

As they say in these parts: Adéu i espero tornar-te a veure.

Leaving the Catalan PyreneesTime to say Adéu


















Skiing in Boí Taüll

All three areas Jane visited are in Catalonia in the province of Lleida Pyrenees.

Lleida has 11 ski resorts. For more information on them and what else to do in Lleida, visit the Lleida Tourism website.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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