A magic you can't find in the Alps: Les Angles
Les Angles is a village in the French Pyrenees mountains, and is part of the Neiges Catalanes ski area (an area which also includes Font Romeu). Its beautiful stone buildings and church, which tell the story of a settlement that dates back to the middle ages (late 900s), are today home to a permanent population of about 600 people. It's a community whose Catalan roots are evident in daily life, and your ski or snowboard holiday in Les Angles comes not only with everything you'd expect from a modern ski resort, but a distinctive cultural character too.
Skiing in Les Angles is fantastic, and while the area is perhaps best suited to beginners and intermediates there is something for everyone, making it a great option for a family ski holiday. In the area immediately surrounding the resort there are 50km of piste, served by 19 lifts; much of this area is classified as red although there are blues and blacks. Those looking to learn to ski have nursery slopes to learn on, as well as a choice of schools (ESF and Ski'n'Co as well as private instructors). More experienced skiers will no doubt look to ski the wider Neiges Catalanes area, which has over 200 pistes for skiers to go at, with a good mix of difficulty including some challenging blacks. Snowboarders will take the opportunity to spend time in the dedicated snowpark with a well maintained half-pipe and to tackle the border-cross course. Reaching altitudes of 2375m, the resort's slopes are not particularly low altitude, but despite this they have one of the best snow-making systems in the world: Les Angles has over seven guns for every 1km of piste giving you a snow-sure guarantee!
If you're looking for something other than the usual downhill skiing and snowboarding then Les Angles has plenty to offer. Cross-country skiing (known locally as 'ski de fond') is a favourite of many locals, and there are 42km of beautiful trails through amazing scenery including waterfalls. Alternatively, you can explore the surrounding area by snowshoeing, with plenty of guides on hand to take you away from the piste and toward some beautiful places. For a more unconventional holiday then why not try one of the following: dog-sledding through the forest; ice-diving in the resort's frozen lake(!); winter canyonning in the hot waterfalls fed by the natural hot springs.
Accessing all that Les Angles has to offer can be done in a number of ways, and it's been made easier since airline companies have started regular services to nearby airports. Perpignan airport is just 1hr30mins away from the resort, and there's a bus from Perpignan to Les Angles that costs only 1 euro! (Airlines that fly to Perpignan from the UK include Ryanair and Flybe). Other options with reasonable transfer times include Toulouse (2hr30m) and Barcelona (2hr45m).
Find out more about skiing in Les Angles in the French Pyrenees on ChaletFinder's Les Angles page. Alternatively, head to www.pyrenean-trails.com, the website of the couple that run Maison Agnes and Maison Betty in Les Angles.