La Molina is a ski resort in the Pyrenees near the French border. You can buy a "skitren" pass through the Catalunya train authority, which includes the roundtrip train ticket (2.5 hours each way), bus transfer to the resort, and a lift ticket for the day - all for 42.50€! To put this into perspective, the lift ticket alone is 39.50€. We also knocked off a little more by taking advantage of a 2-for-1 rental deal Rich found. Toma!
The conditions for skiing have been pretty miserable this season, across much of Europe and even in parts of the U.S. We knew going into it that any snow would be man-made, and riding the train up through a green and muddy brown landscape seemed to confirm everyone's dire predictions. The resort itself is not huge, but for a day or weekend trip, it's not a bad option. There were a few greens, some blues, and more reds and blacks (European for black diamond and double black diamond, respectively). The slopes were pretty empty because of the conditions, but this was fine for me. Ever since nursing a pair of injured knees back to health (one from a skiing injury), I've been pretty shaky on skis. Short, leisurely trips are just what the doctor ordered for building my confidence back up... and to not get re-injured. In the meantime, Rich channeled his inner Shaun White to practice some tricks and even took his board down some of the rails and jumps of the snowboard park. Apparently, La Molina even hosted the World Snowboarding Championships last year.
During our surprisingly reasonably priced lunch at the lodge (unheard of in the States), the unthinkable happened. It started snowing! The snow was coming down so thick and fast that even one of the cafeteria workers was warning some people who had driven up from the city to leave early due to the road conditions. Finally, the entire slope was covered with a nice blanket rather than just the sad little strips confined to the runs in the morning. Visibility was even becoming an issue even though the fresh powder was thoroughly agreeable. Eventually, we called it quits as Rich's rental board started to ice up, and we needed to catch the train to get home at a reasonable hour. We'll just have to go back!