Pyrenees cross country skiing holiday in France

“Five days guided cross country skiing in the Pyrenees based in one hotel, for improvers and intermediates, with an introductory day to refresh skills.”


Barcelona | Bolquère and the forest area of Les Estanyols | ski La Tête Circuit | Col de la Llose | circuits around La Calme | forest area, La Quillane

Description of Pyrenees cross country skiing holiday in France

The Pyrenees offer a wonderful combination of high altitude skiing and sunshine, with a backdrop of fantastic scenery. On this small group guided trip we focus on two of the best known ski areas in this part of the mountains: the Cerdagne plateau and the Capcir region. In total there is over 100km of tracks to explore across five days, and each night we return to our traditional Logis de France hotel in the mountain village of Bolquère.

Cross country skiing has long been a part of the culture in this part of France, and after a week here it’s not hard to see why. It’s a chance to explore the winter landscapes on varied routes with wonderful views, away from the confines of the Alpine pistes. Most cross country skiing is on prepared tracks (loipe) covering both easy forest trails with some challenging ascents and descents, at over 2,000m in the Eastern Pyrenees. This trip is not suitable for beginners, but would perfectly suit anyone who has grasped the basics or is already of intermediate ability and is looking to tackle some slightly steeper terrain. It is designed for cross country skiing grade 2 and 3, Improvers or Intermediates. All breakfasts and dinners are included and cross country skis, boots and poles are provided.
Responsible Travel, Travel Team

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18 Jan 2020
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25 Jan 2020
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01 Feb 2020
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Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Pyrenees cross country skiing holiday in France

Accommodation and meals:
We stay in small hotel in the village of Bolquere, that has been run by the same local family for several generations. The hotel has been awarded several certifications such as ‘Qualité Tourisme’ which requires establishments to not only provide a high level of service but also possess a high level of knowledge of the local area and traditions. Cuisine must also reflect the style and traditions of the area, and the onsite restaurant does indeed specialise in Catalan Pyrenean cuisine, from locally sourced product, particularly the Capcir and Cerdagne regions, which produce numerous cheeses.

As we spend the week cross-country skiing, we have a relatively low impact on the environment compared to the nearby downhill ski resorts, which require much more infrastructure. Our trip takes place in the Pyrenean Natural Park, which is a protected area. As such we stick to the designated trails and take care to dispose of any and all waste responsibly.

As mentioned local produce is on the menu each night and we have the opportunity to visit different cafés and mountain huts for lunch as well as the artisanal shops and local street markets selling the local product.
The region also depends heavily on tourism for employment opportunities, and by bringing groups here we are contributing to this.
On the free day, most clients visit one of the nearby tourist attractions using the “Yellow Train” thus supporting this scheduled tourist transport service. This train is considered part of local heritage and is a well known symbol of the area, having been in operation for over 100 years. Tourist journeys are a key part of keeping it in operation as local demand has dropped. One of the highlights is stopping off at some nearby thermal baths, again a key part of the region’s heritage.

Transfers/Local Transport
Our airport transfers are carried out by a local family owned bus company. Our local transport needs are met by the same company and we are usually able to make use of the scheduled “Navette” ( ski shuttle bus) service – removing the need for any extra transport usage.

UK office
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies in place, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Group size
We operate small group tours that have a low impact on the communities we visit and we always ensure our operations do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. This allows us to stay in unique and characterful accommodation that would not have benefitted from tourism due to their limited size.

1 Reviews of Pyrenees cross country skiing holiday in France

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 18 Feb 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Skiing through forests on almost empty groomed trails with views of snowy mountains through the trees.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bolquere is a rural village with no ATMs and only one shop! Wonderful!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Definitely yes. We stayed in a traditional hotel that has been run by the same family for several generations and ate local food. We used the local shop for extra things and travelled by public / local transport. Our skiing each day took us along tracks dependent on real snow (no snow machines) and without any mechanical uplift. The 2 mountain refuges we visited for lunch had no mains services, and composting loos.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

An excellent way to explore this part of the French Pyrenees, and to enjoy local hospitality.

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