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A dutch woman in the Ardennes
Discoveries and hikes
I skied down the Ardennes slopes
Snow, sledges, slopes: winter sports in the Ardennes!
4 mins of winter pleasure
It was a Saturday at the end of February, and it was sunny in Belgium but very cold. I really fancied going ski-ing, and yes, you can ski in the Ardennes!
As soon as we reached the open countryside, everything was covered in snow. The cold wind stung our nostrils and the sky was pale blue, in short ideal weather for an afternoon’s ski-ing. So off we went!
There are several small ski resorts in the Ardennes, ideal for a winter sports day trip
Ski-ing at La Baraque de Fraiture
We didn’t have to travel far, there were several options in the Ardennes. My partner Cédric and I decided to try out the slopes at La Baraque de Fraiture in the province of Belgian Luxembourg, near the town of Viesalm at one of the highest points in Belgium at 652m above sea level (the highest point in Belgium, at Signal de Botrange in the Hautes-Fagnes is a little higher at 694m above sea level).
La Baraque de Fraiture has three ski runs, one 350m long, one 700m long and one 1,000m long. For children (and big kids) there is also a sledge run, and for cross-country skiers there are trails through the beautiful pine forest.
Wandering through the enchanted forest
We arrived and parked our car in the large car park, then decided to go on a short wander through the forest before putting on our skis. The snow-covered landscape was really stunning. There’s a wide choice of walks to do here and we weren’t the only ones to have had the idea of letting off a little steam in the snow. Sledges shot past us on both sides as well as the odd snowball, and we couldn’t resist joining in.
First a wander in the snow!
Following the path through the woods we arrived at the ski resort of La Baraque de Fraiture. As a native lowlander, I already knew that the nearest mountains for me and my Dutch compatriots are the Ardennes, but I wasn’t expecting to find such a complete ski resort so close! Of course, it couldn’t be compared to the ski resorts in the Alps, but it was perfect for me as a beginner.
Sledges shoot past us, making us want to join in!
Skis on our feet and we’re off!
We went to the ski-hire shop, located in a small building. Although plenty of others had had the same idea, there were enough skis to go round. I think I remember paying about 20 euros to hire the skis and other equipment.
We noted that they also rent sledges! (Great, next time I’ll do that!). The resort also offers ski lessons to learn the basics or to refine your ski technique.
Once our skis were well fastened to our feet we moved forward to the first slope. Ouf! I was suddenly forced to remember how to ski, and how fast you move! My relative lack of experience meant I struggled a bit, but Cédric was already having fun on the bumps while he waited for me, playing the ski ace! Finally, after a few descents (and trips on the ski-lift without falling over - hooray!) I’d got the hang of it again. People of all ages were having fun on the slopes. We were really lucky with the weather and could enjoy magnificent views over the Ardennes forest.
After about two hours’ ski-ing we did our last descent, our last trip on the ski-lift, and I promptly fell over and slid down on my backside.. ah yes, I had really “slipped” in the Ardennes!
I slipped in the Ardennes
Rounding off the day with a hot chocolate
After sliding on my backside all the way back to the ski-hire shop (it was really slippery and I didn’t fancy falling over again) we decided to round off our day at the café. There’s no better way to end the day that with a hot chocolate with whipped cream for Cédric and a tea for me, accompanied of course with hot dogs with sauerkraut (if you’re in the snow you might as well go the whole hog).
It was a very enjoyable escapade and we now know that we don’t have to travel far to go ski-ing, a perfect situation for winter sports fans like me.
Have this experience
There are several ski resorts in the Ardennes in Belgium, France and Luxembourg. Make sure you check before setting out that the resort is open. Schuss!
We visited La Baraque de Fraiture:
La Baraque Fraiture ski resort
Autoroute E25, exit 50 "Baraque de Fraiture"
6, Baraque de Fraiture, 6690 Baraque de Fraiture, Belgium
Tel: +32 80 41 88 78
I skied in the Ardennes...