access, lodging, family friendly, access to Alp2500
bus fare, slow lifts, lack of challenge, lean snow at base, reckless skiers
La Molina is a Spanish resort steeped in history; home of the first lift and ski school in Spain. It's wide-open snowfields were a draw when it was founded in the 1940s, and continue to be today.
Arguably the favored resort of Barcelonans(and the most accessible), the mountain can become crowded and chaotic on popular weekends. Groups of teens pile out of the RENFE commuter rail in the village and push up against each other in a mad dash for the shuttle bus that takes them up to the main lodge.
When one arrives at the base area, however, they are often disappointed by the lack of snow - and this is an issue with the lower elevations. However, high above at Torrent Negre, the open slopes are often well-buried in the white stuff, particularly in early spring. The terrain, here, lacks in the "challenge" department, but gives skiers a wide-array of forgiving off-piste opportunities that make La Molina a perfect spot to learn the art of powder skiing and expand your capabilities on varied terrain.
Just below the summit is the sheltered "Alabaus" sector, which hides some of La Molina's more interesting, steeper, above treeline skiing.
And, if La Molina is dry, hop the telecabina to neighboring Masella. Masella's higher elevation insures stronger snow cover, and the Alp2500 ticket(€3 more) will allow you to access that massive mountain's pistes on one ticket.
FGC(General Railroads of Cataluña) owns La Molina and has spared no expense in upgrades as of late. The investment drew HG to build a four star slopeside hotel(my best hotel experience in Europe, as of yet), and there is no shortage of development on the mountain. All positive, but La Molina would be better off to invest in more high-speed lifts, and begin comping the bus trip from the village(€4 r/t trip for a bus that brings you and your wallet to the resort does not fly with me).
When there is snow, Alp2500 cannot be beat. Buy the combo ticket and enjoy. Then, say a little prayer that global warming can be reversed and we can enjoy La Molina for another seventy years, to come.