Love skiing? Love Spanish food? Then take a break from strudel and tartiflette to discover La Molina in the Spanish Pyrenees, next in our series of articles about the best ski resorts you’ve (probably) never heard of. La Molina is Spain’s first ski resort and has a large snowpark and the biggest superpipe in the Pyrenees (who knew?). There’s also a good range of non-skiing activities including snow-grooming, snow-shoeing and Segway’s on snow.
The resort also has a long experience in hosting international events such as the Alpine Skiing World Cup (2008), the Snowboard World Championship (2011) or the Disabled Alpine Skiing World Championships (2013). Zenith Holidays have been offering ski holidays here since 2015. We found out more from Katie Waddington, one of Zenith’s founders.
MDS: How did you discover la Molina?
Katie: I love Spain – it’s family friendly and also reasonably priced. I first heard of La Molina in 2015 from a friend in Barcelona who told me this was where he and many locals skied at weekends.
La Molina was actually Spain’s very first ski resort and its first commercial ski lift was installed in 1943. I was intrigued and decided to find out more for myself. I loved it immediately and we added the resort to our programme for winter 2015/16. Although the snow wasn’t great at the start of that season the resort’s snow making meant there was a number of slopes open with good skiing. In fact, it was hard to tell which snow was made in resort and which was natural. It snowed on my second day and the rest of the season was problem-free.
MDS: What makes La Molina different to other resorts?
Katie: It’s not as well-known as other Pyrenean resorts and yet it has great skiing. You can fly to Barcelona from most UK airports and the short transfer is an added bonus. And because it’s not well known outside the local Spanish market, an added bonus is that you won’t find crowds of tourists on the slopes and you will be made welcome by all of the locals.
MDS: What about the skiing…what are the pistes like?
Katie: The ski area is actually two resorts known as Alp2500 linked by a gondola. Combined, La Molina and La Masella make up a ski area of 141km. It is a good resort for beginners and intermediates rather than expert skiers looking to cover miles and miles of slopes (although there are 16 black runs). Basically, it’s great for anyone looking for a decent sized area with a variety of pistes.
It also has great night skiing – most resorts open 1 run for night skiing but in La Masella they open 13km and you can ski on green, blue and red runs. It was the best night skiing I have experienced in 30 plus years! I was having such a good time that I didn’t want to come off the slopes for my cheese fondue. It’s no surprise it is known as the ‘Night skiing capital of the Pyrenees’.
MDS: Tell us about a) one of your favourite bars and b) restaurants
Katie: El Bosq restaurant at the bottom of the gondola lift is lovely. They have a great selection of grilled meats and home-made desserts. If you have kids (or you are a big kid like me!) they will adore the bowling alley under the Guitart hotel and apartments – not only is there a bowling alley with disco lights, but they also have other games including have table football, and of course a bar. If you decide to hire a car I can also recommend a trip down to the town of Puycerda/Puigcerda, which is the capital of the Catalan area of Cerdanya – the hot chocolate in the main square is my favourite. It is just melted chocolate and is so thick your spoon stands up in it. For a real gourmet experience, we recommend a restaurant in Llivia called the Amabassade de Llivia – possibly one of the best restaurants I have ever been to. (Llivia is a Spanish enclave within the French Pyrenees just 30 minutes from La Molina.)
La Molina at a glance
- Altitude: 1700- 2445m
- La Molina/Masella ski area: 141km
- Lift pass price (6 day): £207. Zenith holidays offer a 20% discount on pre-booked lift passes on all bookings. This offer closes 31 October but if you mention MadDogSki you can benefit from this discount up to 15 December.
- Resort open and close: 2 December 2017 to 2 April 2018
- Nearest airport: Barcelona (only 166km away). You can book a taxi transfer or take the train into Barcelona and then on to La Molina. There is a regular shuttle from the station to the centre of resort.
- Slopes: 119 (22 green, 41 blue, 40 red, 16 black)
- No of lifts: 32
- Snow park: Two freestyle and terrain parks, a superpipe and two toboggan slopes
Find out more about La Molina on their website.
Established in 2009, Zenith Holidays offer holidays to 10 countries and 86 resorts. For more information contact Zenith Holidays on 0203 137 7678 or visit www.ZenithHolidays.co.uk
Zenith Holidays offer a seven night stay in a standard bedroom (bed & breakfast), based on two sharing in the lovely 3* Hotel Solineu – a charming 3 star hotel conveniently located close to the base of the ski slopes in La Molina offering easy access to the skiing – from £550pp, departing 17 March 2018. Price includes flights to Barcelona and return transfers – regional flights available.