CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING AT LLANOS DEL HOSPITAL
In the heart of the Posets-Maladeta Natural Park, at the foot the largest glaciers in the Pyrenees, you’ll find the cross-country skiing resort of Llanos del Hospital. Here cross-country skiing lovers can enjoy the best snow, the most spectacular landscapes and high quality services. It has three marked circuits for cross-country skiing, ranging from an altitude of 1750 to 1940 m ASL across 30 kilometres that are maintained daily in perfect state by the resort’s team. Pllan del Hospital (Green 2 / 5 / 7 km), Pllan de l'Estan (Blue 18 km) and Pllan de la Besurta (Red 5 km). The resort is located in an outstandingly beautiful setting and the snow quality is guaranteed regularly.
At the entrance to the resort, you’ll find the Hotel Spa Llanos del Hospital, a former hospital, a refuge for hikers, which now, eight centuries after its construction by Hospital Monks, has been reconstructed so that today’s tourists can enjoy the mountains and skiing with the comforts provided by a modern building. Reconstructed in stone, timber and chalk, with the utmost respect for typical Pyrenean architecture, today it boasts 55 comfortable rooms.More information
TO FORAU DE AIGUALLUTS ON SNOW SHOES
One of the hallmark routes along the Benasque Valley is the one leading to Forau d'Aigualluts from Llanos del Hospital. Forau d'Aigualluts is one of the most interesting spots in the Pyrenees: a whim of nature that makes water running from the Aneto and Maladeta glaciers ‘disappear’ into a kind of sinkhole, some 70 metres in diameter and 40 metres deep to then rise again to the surface 4 kilometres away, in the Arán Valley. The hike to Forau is an easy route — its most technical difficulty is walking on snow shoes, with a slope of only 200 metres. The route starts at Llano de la Besurta (1900 m ASL), 13 metres north of Benasque along the A-139, at an esplanade created for parking space. From there, follow the signals towards the Renclusa refuge and Forau d’Aigualluts and continue for 15 minutes until you reach the turn to the refuge and continue towards Forau, until you arrive at the Aigallut waterfall, at 2,074 metres ASL, and a little higher up to the meadow. You’ll be equally surprised when you see the waterfall and the unique phenomenon of the water disappearing.
From the Aigaulluts meadow you can enjoy excellent views of the glacier and Aneto peak (3414 m ASL). This route runs though a spectacular setting, with landscapes that leave no-one indifferent: snow-covered meadows and valleys aside the highest peaks of the Pyrenees reaching more than 3000 m ASL.
If you don’t know the area well, the best idea is to hire a mountain guide. And don’t forget to go well-equipped, with sun cream, glasses and a cap to protect you from the sun, as well as mountain boots and suitable clothing. You can hire show shoes at the Ampriu equipment hire shop at the Aramón Cerler resort, at Benasque mountain equipment shops or at the ski rental shop in Llanos del Hospital (the start of the route).
The snow in the Benasque Valley means all kinds of winter sports activities are possible, from an accessible route on snow shoes, such as the one above, to routes climbing 3000-metre peaks, as well as ice climbing or riding on snow buggies. But it is alpine skiing that year after year brings most people to these mountains. And the many routes and descents around the valley transform it, each winter, into the preferred destination for lovers of this sport.
The characteristics of the Benasque Valley, located in the highest part of the Pyrenees, make it ideal for skiing. The bottom of the valley is located at 1000 metres ASL and many of the peaks reaching more than three thousand metres and with skiable terrain through the forests, showing how this area is excellent domain, with large open spaces and spectacular descents —with great conditions— and up to 1500 metres of elevation.
There are many companies offering guide services with qualified and trained professionals who make it possible to climb the peaks and enjoy descending them safely.
SAHÚN: SKATEPARK AND EL BENASQUÉ CHEESE FACTORY
Sahún, a beautiful village just 7 kilometres from Benasque, offers two après ski options as different as they are attractive, and, of course, complementary.
First, the Sahún leisure centre has a fabulous new indoor skatepark. This is a new space that will delight skate fans and is a meeting point for skaters, bladers and other skate fans in the valley. The Sahún skatepark has a foampit and an elastic bed.
From the new to the traditional; in Sahún, not long ago, there used to be 50 livestock farms. Now there is only the El Benasqués Quesería (cheese factory), managed by Carmen de Mur and her husband Armando. Located in the cellar of Casa Falisia, this is where the family produces artisanal cheeses using the traditional method used in the Benasque Valley. Their cheeses are very high quality, something that is controlled in the Quesería itself, since the use milk from their own livestock: 40 Freisan cows. Year-round, this stock is kept semi-stabled, eating only the grass from the valley that was harvested in summer. Their milk is used to prepare a cheese with a texture that is butter-like, melts on the palate and has a fine graininess. Its aroma has nuances of animals, fungi and of damp timber typical of cellar-made cheese. The flavour is sweet, lactic, persistant and with an exquisite undertone of nuts. El Benasqués is a signature cheese of great fame and has been awarded numerous prizes and accolades by top experts.
For more information on the skatepark, contact Sahún Council on 0034 974 551 001.
IN CERLER, A VISIT AND TASTING SESSION AT LA CULLERA ARTISAN PRESERVES
To end a day’s skiing on a sweet note, there’s nothing better than discovering and tasting the marvellous artisan preserves made in Cerler.
Under the brand ‘La Cullera’, meaning spoon in the Benasque dialect, Mónica Calle and Lucía Portaspana use their exquisite skills to elaborate a whole repertoire of original products. They work with the highest quality of products, selecting them one by one and cultivating them on their own lands… all the dedication and care needed to create a delicacy in the most traditional way.
But there’s something the brand really stands out for, its innovation. La Cullera creates preserves with new flavours and textures that seek to surprise with delicacies hitherto undiscovered. One such example is its famous roast vegetables jam, or that of orange and pumpkin, plum and carrot, pineapple with ginger, lemon…
You’ll find La Cullera on Paseo Ardonés, Edificio Aster, Galería Comercial Unit E
For more information contact (0034) 615 53 72 05/(0034) 661 45 28 44.
PURO PIRINEO MOUNTAIN BIKING
In Benasque Valley, you’ll find one of the most enthralling mountain biking areas, not just in the entire Pyrenees area, but in the whole of Europe.
Thanks to the initiative of local riders, Puro Pirineo Mountain Biking was set up, an initiative that today encompasses many mountain biking routes: endurance, downhill and freeride. These are magical route that run through some of the most beautiful and mild landscapes in the Pyrenees and which can be discovered thanks to the Puro Pirineo Mountain Biking centre, which provides all the information on routes, tracks, services and other activities to do in the area.More information