Visits to Catalan ski resorts up one third on pre-pandemic levels over Christmas
175,000 users on six slopes managed by FGC railway company, including La Molina, Vall de Núria, and Boí-Taüll
Visits to Catalan ski resorts are skyrocketing this winter season, with a 32% increase in users compared to 2019 on the six slopes managed by the FGC railway company, including the famed La Molina, Vall de Núria, and Boí-Taüll.
"We matched the expectations we had set, which was reaching pre-pandemic levels," FGC's director, Marta Subirà, said. "The ski resorts were ready and the public was looking forward to setting foot on snow and enjoying open-air spaces. This combination has been key to success."
Just over 175,000 people visited some or all of the six different slopes, and managers are "very optimistic" for the rest of the season.
Amateur visitors will contribute to these figures as well as professionals competing in several regional alpine skiing and snowboarding championships, plus, the European Skimo Championships in Boí Taüll.
The 2021-2022 ski season in Catalonia has been up and running for well over a month, with an intense snowstorm in late November allowing many resorts to open 10 days ahead of schedule; the season usually kicks off around the bank holidays of December 6 and December 8.
La Molina, in the county of Cerdanya, welcomed 62,685 skiers over the Christmas holidays, a surge of 73% on 2019 figures, something that is thought to result from the wide range of slopes and open facilities which makes it suitable for all levels of snow sports enthusiasts.
Vallter, in Ripollès, also saw a significant increase of 66% compared to two years ago, reaching 20,194 passes sold – yet, in the same county, Vall de Núria dropped 5% the number of visitors. According to FGC, this is because a new system to control crowds in the funicular leading to the valley is in operation, as the venue prioritizes users' comfort.
In Pallars Sobirà, Espot received 48% more visitors, up to 14,649, while Port Ainé welcomed 27,481 skiers, 43% more than in 2019.
As for Alta Ribagorça's Boí Taüll, 26,770 people used the venue over Christmas, meaning an 11% drop on two years ago when the weather conditions and the amount of snow were much better than this December.
Yet, this ski station in the western Catalan Pyrenees received good news recently: it has been named one of Europe's best affordable ski resorts by Lonely Planet.
The travel guide praised the resort as "crowd-free, family-friendly and north-facing – crucial for long-lasting snow."
As well as providing good value for money – €175 for a six-day high-season lift pass – Boí Taüll was singled out as the 'best for après-ski culture', for its culinary and architectural offering.
The resort – the highest in the Pyrenees – is close to the Vall de Boí's nine UNESCO-listed Romanesque churches, dating from the 11th and 12th century, where the Lonely Planet says visitors can "spend lazy afternoons ogling world-famous frescoes."