Ruben, David, Me and Xavi
Posing on the slopes at Tuixent - La Vansa.
Last Saturday Ruben, his brother David, gorkabear and I went skiing not too far from the French border at the Nordic ski center Tuixent - La Vansa. It is situated in the Pyrenees on the north face of the massif of Port del Comte at around the altitude of 2000 meters or 6500 feet.
The Pyrenees are older than the Alps. Between 100 and 150 million years ago, during the Lower Cretaceous period, the Bay of Biscay fanned out, pushing present-day Spain against France and putting large layers of sediment in a vise grip. The intense pressure and uplifting of the Earth's crust first affected the eastern part and stretched progressively to the entire chain of mountains, culminating in the Eocene epoch.
The eastern part of the Pyrenees, where we were, consists largely of granite and gneissose rocks, while in the western part the granite peaks are flanked by layers of limestone. The massive and unworn character of the chain comes from its abundance of granite, which is particularly resistant to erosion, as well as weak glacial development. All in all, the Pyrenees look far different from the Sierra Nevada around Lake Tahoe, with which I am more familiar. As most of you should know, the Sierra Nevada in California is named for the range of the same name south of Granada.
Me and Xavi
Ready for more.
The ski center has about 30 km of trails at different levels. Being beginners, we took easy trails. Neither Ruben nor his brother David had ever skied before, Xavi just started this winter, and I hadn’t skied for ten years.
We decided to forego the "ski school". Xavi was very helpful in providing instruction. I tried to demonstrate a few concepts. Both Ruben and David fell quite a few times. I was being very careful and only fell 3 or 4 times when going downhill. My trouble was losing control once the ski tracks disappeared.
Me and Xavi
Getting ready to ski
We rented equipment at the ski center. Although I have a full complement of equipment, I only brought my boots along as we had a small car, a Peugeot 207, for the four of us. So I left my skis and poles at home. The total cost for equipment rental and track fee was 22 €, which I felt was reasonable.
Me, David and Xavi
Contemplating the trail.
Xavi commented on the “eye candy” around us. I didn’t notice since I was trying my best just staying upright. Both Ruben and David had to take some aspirin for their “bumps”, but I didn’t feel the need.