Ski resorts in the Catalan Pyrenees to begin opening their slopes next weekend
The first slopes ready for skiers and snow-boarders will be opened on December the 1st in the north-western corner of Catalonia. The rest of the resorts plan to kick off the season on the bank holiday of December the 6th. This season some new things will be on offer. Port del Comte will have the first snowpark in Catalonia to be open at night. Espot, Port Ainé and Tavascan will offer ‘gas cheques’ to fund part of the car trip up. Additionally, a single ticket will work for skiing in these 3 resorts as well as in Vallter 2000, La Molina and Vall de Núria. Baqueira Beret has invested €2.2 million in improving the venues. Overall, business owners are optimistic about the coming season.
Barcelona (ACN).- On Saturday, the first slopes for skiing, snow-boarding and practicing other snow sports will open in Catalonia. The rest of them will be open by the bank holiday of December the 6th. Baqueira Beret, located in the Val d\u2019Aran County (in the most north-western part of Catalonia), is the largest ski resort and will be among the first ones to open some of its slopes on December the 1st. Therefore, this year\u2019s ski season will be starting quite soon and fully profit from the early December holidays, as opposed to last season, which was the worst in the last 30 years. In fact, business-owners are quite optimistic about the coming season and they expect to recover from the 18% loss of ticket sales in the resorts located in the Lleida Province in the first months of last season. One of the main new things on offer this year is the opening of Catalonia\u2019s first night snowpark, which will be located in Port del Comte. Another way to attract visitors in times of crisis is to fund part of their trip up. Espot, Port Ainé and Tavascan will offer these \u2018gas cheques\u2019. Furthermore, a single ticket will work for skiing in these three resorts as well as in La Molina, Vall de Núria and Vallter 2000, as they are all managed by the same company.
The first Catalan Pyrenees ski slopes to start their activity are located in the Province of Lleida, in the north-western part of Catalonia. Lleida has 11 ski resorts and they represent Spain\u2019s largest offer to practice Alpine skiing, with more than 460 kilometres of slopes. In addition, it also gathers the largest array of cross-country skiing, with 68 kilometres of trails. In fact, 1 out of 4 skiers in Spain chooses a resort located in the Lleida Pyrenees, according to the Director of the Lleida Tourist Trust, Jordi Blanch. The most well-known resort to offer Alpine skiing is Baqueira Beret. Around 20% of its visitors are foreigners, mainly from France.
Baqueira Beret has invested \u20AC2.2 million in improving the resort for this season, far below last year\u2019s \u20AC6 million investment. However, as the company\u2019s Director General, Aureli Bisbe, explained, this season they have focused on guaranteeing the condition of the slopes to offer high quality skiing and a wide range of related services to the visitors. They expect to sell 760,000 tickets, 160,000 of which will be for the whole season, which should enable the company to keep 600 direct jobs. Baqueira Beret\u2019s forecast is to generate around \u20AC33 million revenue in the coming season, starting on Saturday.
Additionally, the snow that is falling on Monday and Tuesday on the Pyrenees will make other stations reschedule their season\u2019s kick off and start their activity sooner, as from next Saturday. The ski resorts of La Molina, Vall de Núria, Espot, Port Ainé and Vallter 2000 will open their slopes on December the 1st. The company managing these venues has also announced that they are selling 8% more season tickets in advance than last year. They are offering a season ticket called \u2018Atotaneu 6.0\u2019 that entitles the client to use it at the 6 different ski resorts managed by the company. \u2018Atotaneu 6.0\u2019 allows visitors to ski in La Molina, Vall de Núria, Espot, Port Ainé, Vallter 2000 and Tavascan. It costs \u20AC610 without a discount and provides unlimited access for the entire season. In addition, if it is bought before December the 9th it costs \u20AC530. Another season ticket available is \u2018Atotaneu 5.0\u2019 which allows skiing in the same resorts apart from La Molina, which is the largest one. However \u2018Atotaneu 5.0\u2019 offers a 50% discount on buying La Molina tickets and it costs \u20AC450 without a discount or \u20AC360 if bought before December the 9th.