Spain Guide


Masella, Ski Resort

The ski resort of Masella is located in the Spanish region of Catalonia in the Pyrenean Mountains. It's the second biggest resort in the Spanish Pyrenees, after Baqueira Beret, with its own microclimate which gives it the distinct advantage of receiving more sunshine hours than any of the other Pyrenean ski centres (its name means "more sun" in Catalan). It's an ideal family resort and is popular among Catalonians who make day and weekend trips here from Barcelona and the other towns and villages in this north east corner of Spain.

The resort is immediately to the south east of the independent state of Andorra, 175 kilometres from Barcelona's international airport. It lies between the towns of Alp, Das and Urus in an area known as the Oriental Pyrenees.

You don't come here to mingle with the rich and famous but there's a good range of ski ing to suit all abilities and you'll find the resort incredibly good value compared with the more exclusive winter playgrounds of the Swiss and French Alps. Catalonia has much to offer the international visitor so you could combine a tour of this beautiful region with a few days ski ing at Masella and the 20 or more ski stations within a 30 kilometre radius of it.

The 37 pistes of Masella cover 57 kilometres and consist of six green runs, 15 blues, 10 reds and six blacks. About 80% of the pistes run through the forest of this spectacular area which is often compared with the Rocky Mountains in the USA. Queues are kept to a minimum thanks to a lift system capable of transporting 7,360 skiers per hour. Five chair lifts (four and six seaters) and eight drag lifts serve the pistes which are kept open even in periods of little snowfall thanks to the resort's 290 snow cannons. There are also specially adapted areas and a half pipe for snowboarders.

The resort's two ski schools have 65 instructors who provide individual and group lessons for skiers of all levels. The schools also organise mountain excursions.

For harassed parents there's the "guarderia" nursery which caters for youngsters from the age of 18 months. The "Jardin de Nieve" snow garden takes children from three to six years. So you can enjoy a few hours ski ing knowing the kids are being entertained, fed and hopefully worn out in your absence. What joy!

There are bars and cafes in the resort but no nightlife to speak of although the only hotel here, the three star Alp Hotel, has a disco, billiards and games room. It tends to get over run with parties of Spanish school children so it's not the place for singles or couples seeking a sophisticated evening of dining and dancing. There's a good choice of hotel accommodation in the nearby villages of La Molina, Alp and Puigcerda and you'll also find many self catering apartments in the area.

One of the most sumptuous places to bed down for the night is the elegant Hotel Torre del Remei at Bolvir, near Puigcerda a short drive north of the resort. This former summer palace is set in an eight acre forest and provides 11 luxurious guest rooms, including seven suites, with magnificent views of the Pyrenees.