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Maxima leads way as royals hit slopes

February 15, 2005
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Anyone lucky enough to have been enjoying a skiing break on the continent this week may have been surprised to see a prince or princess swooshing by. The Netherlands' Crown Prince Willem Alexander was spotted enjoying some snowy fun with his family in Austrian resort of Lech, while Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Princess Letizia were likewise on the piste at the Spanish resort of Baqueira Beret in the Pyrenees.

Widely recognised for its breathtaking scenery, Lech was named most beautiful village in Europe last year. It has an unequalled lift system, meaning there are virtually no queues, and seasoned skiers appreciate it for its six-kilometre runs and 1,000-metre vertical runs.

A team of experienced instructors are also on hand to make sure visitors avoid the same mishaps that befell a certain Bridget Jones when The Edge Of Reason was being filmed here. Lech is no stranger to royal visitors, having played host to Princess Diana back in 1994, when she brought sons William and Harry here for a family break.

Baqueira Beret, meanwhile, is found at the head of Val d'Aran on the northern side of the Pyrenees. Famed as one of the world's most fashionable destinations, its slopes abound with designer-clad winter sports enthusiasts. Needless to say, the ever-stylish Princess Letizia didn't disappoint onlookers when she took to the piste clad from head to toe in white.

Most of the runs are suited to intermediates and there are also plenty of beginner level slopes. "Where Goats Tumble" offers a real challenge for the more experienced.

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Photo: AFP
Princess Maxima gives baby daughter Amalia a hug and a kiss as dad Willem Alexander looks on
Photo: Rex
Meanwhile Felipe and Letizia were turning heads on the slopes at the Spanish resort of Baquiera Beret

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