Ski mountaineering and backcountry skiing are skiing disciplines that are becoming more and more popular. In essence they consist of off-piste skiing in the mountains. Skiers climb up the mountainside by attaching adhesive strips, called ski skins, to the skis to prevent sliding. On the descent skiers use Alpine skiing techniques.
This kind of skiing is very technical and has a higher risk factor. On the other hand, it is also a style of skiing that is more primal, where skiers are most in touch with nature. No skiing facilities are required.
The valleys in the Region are very open and so they are ideal for ski mountaineering, as there is less likelihood of avalanches, which is the greatest risk associated with this activity. Moreover, because it is possible here to ski in open and flat spaces, Alto Gállego is a great place to start ski mountaineering.
Obviously at the start you will need to go out with guides or other people with experience and it is crucial to keep up with the weather forecast and avalanche warnings at all times.
Pico Cuylaret (2,286 m). Start at the border at El Portalet. The change of elevation is 500 metres up a gentle incline. Perfect for beginners. It is not unusual to see people in snowshoes on the summit.
Pico de la Canal Roya (2,350 m). Also starting at El Portalet, in the carpark below the border, five minutes away. Please note, this is a National Park which has limits as to what is allowed or not, for example in relation to dogs off the leash. The change of elevation is 600 metres. Beginners’ level. With views over the Cirque d’Aneu, Canal Roya, Anayet and Midi d’Ossau.
Pico de Baciás (2,760 m). The approach to this peak is from a different area, the Resort Balneario in Panticosa. Be careful, if there is very heavy snowfall the road may be closed. There are no shops. The difficulty is low, but there is a change in elevation of 1,200 metres.