Personal log of a novice backcountry skier in his backyard
After a not so quiet night in the van with Buffy, fighting for the quilt with the bitch, we get up at 7h30. Have breakfast, tide up the van, and then drive up to the Arcalís area of Vallnord. The weather seems to be holding up before this South front hits later in the day. It snowed last night and we drive up the resort almost to the end of the road. Arcalís faces North and gets good snow compared to other nearby resorts. We are the first to arrive. I skin up (first time in almost 20 years), put the boots on and start going uphill. I follow a groomed green run for a little while, until i arrive to the big O sculpture. There’s not a sound and I don’t see anyone. The resort is just opening now and many lifts are slowly coming to life, but none in this area. I see an ungroomed run going up the hill in between some trees and I can’t help myself. Up I go in some 10 inches of deep snow getting heavier by the minute. On top of the run the little devil beats the angel in my head, and in spite of the fact that I promised myself that I’d climb as much as iI could to get used to it, I point the skis down and draw some turns all the way to the van. The snow feels heavy but the Hardsides float way more than the GS I normally ski.
Back at the van, the weather is getting worse and worse, so we head down to Ordino. After a good menu at one of the local restaurants, Buffy and I decide to go and see somewhere else. The South front is hitting with low clouds and lots of rain. Once out of Andorra and in La Seu d’Urgell, we drive full West towards Sort, across El Cantó and its beautiful views. We stop in Sort and watch some action on the river, buy some bread and then drive on to Esterri d’Àneu. Esterri is the last village before Port de la Bonaigua, the mountain pass to the Val d’Aran and Baqueira Beret. It’s raining hard so Buffy and I decide to settle down in Esterri for the day.